Yellow squash is a type of summer squash belonging to the same family as zucchini. It’s rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals like potassium. It’s also 95 percent water making it a low-calorie, low-carb vegetable suitable for various low-carb weight-loss diets. Find out more about yellow squash nutrition!
In appearance, yellow squash looks similar to zucchini except that it has yellow and lighter skin, big seeds, and doesn’t usually grow as big as a zucchini can.
This is probably because summer squash is picked earlier when less mature than winter squashes, which are harvested later after full maturity.
Yellow squash recipes:
Yellow squash nutrition:
Here’s what a medium, raw, yellow squash offers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Calories: 38
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 0.5 gram
- Vitamin C: 39 milligrams, or 56 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 444 milligrams, or 15 percent of the daily requirement
- Folate: 38 micrograms, or 14 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin K: 6.4 micrograms, or 11 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 milligrams, or 10 percent of the daily requirement
- Iron: 0.8 milligrams, or 9 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin A: 16 milligrams, or 8 percent of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 40 milligrams, or 8 percent of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 64 milligrams, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
- Riboflavin: 0.1 milligrams, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
Health benefits of yellow squash:
Here are the benefits you stand to gain by consuming yellow squash
1. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and prevents oxidative stress that may cause cell damage.
Increased vitamin C intake may also strengthen your immune system, promote a healthy mucous membrane, protect against cognitive decline, and promote collagen production, which boosts joint, skin, and hair health.
In addition, vitamin C is essential for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues, wound healing, and proper iron absorption.
2. It’s rich in antioxidants
Apart from vitamin C, yellow squash is rich in other antioxidants, including phenolic compounds and carotenoids, including beta carotene, Zeaxanthin, dehydroascorbic acid, and lutein. These are similar compounds that give carrots their orange color. They have been shown to protect against various chronic conditions, including cancer.
Beta-carotene, for instance, gets converted into an active form of vitamin A which helps promote skin health, boost immunity, improve eye health and maintain arterial health.
On the other hand, Zeaxanthin and lutein protect your eyes against vision loss and age-related conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.
3. It’s a great addition to weight loss diets
If looking to lose weight, your body must operate at a caloric deficit to burn the stored energy.
Being low in sugar and calories but high in water content and fiber, consuming yellow squash can help you eat less by promoting fullness with minimal food intake while promoting fat loss for the provision of energy needed in the body.
4. It’s rich in iron and folate
Unlike animal sources of iron and folate, yellow squash is one of the healthy alternatives for these nutrients.
A cup of sliced yellow squash offers 9 percent of your daily iron requirement and 14 percent of your daily folate requirement.
These two nutrients are essential for maintaining normal red blood cell production and preventing anemia. Folate is also beneficial in pregnant women in the early months of pregnancy to support the nervous system and fetal brain development.
5. It may boost immunity
Like other orange and yellow colored vegetables, yellow squash is rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Besides promoting eye health, growth, and development, vitamin A plays an essential role in fighting inflammation which helps promote immunity. It also boosts the mucous barrier in the lungs, gut, and genitals which helps trap bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens.
6. It can lower cholesterol
Yellow squash is cholesterol-free, and it can help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
High cholesterol levels can cause fat to deposit in your arteries. This can grow and harden, forming plaque. Plaque causes narrowing of blood vessels, making it difficult for blood to flow, leading to complications such as high blood pressure stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease, and peripheral vascular disease.
How to cook yellow squash?
While you can eat it raw, cooking improves its texture and taste. Cooking also makes it easier for the body to absorb certain nutrients such as vitamin B6 and beta-carotene.
Yellow squash can be cooked in various ways, including steaming, roasting, grilling, sautéing, and baking.
How to shop for the best yellow squash?
Yellow squash is easy to find at the farmer’s market or grocery store; however, picking the best is key to experiencing its benefits.
When shopping for squashes, go for those with bright yellow, smooth skin without nicks or bruises. They should also be firm without wrinkles, soft or wet spots to ensure freshness.
Squash is known to absorb a good amount of compounds in the soil it grows in, so getting organic would be the best option to avoid contaminants and acquire plenty of nutrients.
Squash can stay fresh for a few days when kept at room temperature. However, you can cover it with a loose plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator to keep it longer. You can also clean and chop it into small pieces for freezing. Frozen squash can be great for soups and puree.
Final thoughts on yellow squash nutrition:
Yellow squash is a type of summer squash low in calories but rich in water content, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants such as beta and alpha-carotene.
Their high water and low-calorie content make them suitable for diabetes and weight loss diets.
Regular consumption of yellow squash may promote weight loss, lower cholesterol, boost immunity, aid weight loss, and increase iron and folate intake, thus reducing the risk of anemia.
More vegetables to try:
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