Health Benefits of Yellow Summer Squash

Lindsay and I are both currently getting local food from farms near us as we take part in a CSA or community supported agriculture.  If you aren’t familiar with the concept, a CSA allows you to buy a share of the food a farmer produces during a season and pay up front for it, helping the farmer cover the costs ahead of time for the following season.  This concept allows you to share in the bounty and/or risks of the season.  

Luckily for us, these crop shares mean we have fridges full of healthy, local, delicious, and nutritious fruits and vegetables all season long.  And luckily for you, it means that we are going to start writing about the food we get.  Since Lindsay is the chef here, we’ll be picking one item from her CSA during the week and she will be making some delicious recipes from it, while I tell you about the benefits of eating this food.  Today we picked squash, and if you live in a place warmer than Colorado, and you have a garden or get local produce from anywhere, you are probably awash in it.  

I don’t know about you, but summer squash, both the yellow type and zucchini, are one of those vegetables I look forward to getting in the beginning of the summer, only to be looking for any idea to use them up later in the summer.  Hopefully learning a little about the nutrition of these squashes will help that excitement continue all summer, and Lindsey can give you her recipes for using these little guys.

Let’s look at some of the nutrients in one cup of yellow summer squash:

  • One cup has only 25 calories, but still has 10% of dietary fiber helping to make us feel full.  Dietary fiber also helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, and normalize bowel movements 
  • Summer squash has 80.6 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids, which comes mostly from the seeds, so make sure you eat them!  Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, are important to brain health, and higher levels lower triglycerides 
  • I bet you don’t think of summer squash when you think of Vitamin C, but 1 cup has 18% of our RDA for vitamin C!
  • It contains 7% of Vitamin B6 (important in metabolism, brain health, and detoxifying the liver)
  • Summer squash has 7% of our daily recommended folate (helps prevent birth defects, inadequate amounts can cause anemia, involved in healthy cell production)
  • One cup provides 7% of the mineral magnesium, which you can read about in depth here.  It promotes heart health, needed for healthy muscles, lower risk of diabetes, associated with healthy bones
  • Summer squash is a good source of potassium, with 1 cup containing 8% of our RDA.  Potassium helps control our blood pressure and is important in maintaining the health of our kidneys.

To get the most nutrients out of your summer squash, eat it steamed, or sautee it, and leave the skin on.  

 Now, go check out Lindsay’s recipes – including Easy Sauteed Squash, Grilled Yellow Squash, Squash Pasta, and Gluten-Free Squash Bread.



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