Yellow squash is less popular than zucchini, yet just as nutritious. Because it’s a summer squash, it’s a versatile addition to many recipes. Its skin is thin enough for you to include in your meals, and it tastes mild enough to give room for rich flavors. If you’ve been wondering why and how you should add this colorful squash to your meals, read on.
Is Yellow Squash Good For You?
Yes, it is. It has various nutrients that make it an ideal addition to a healthy diet.
Here are some of yellow squash’s winning qualities that you should consider:
Eating yellow squash is good for your waistline because one cup of this vegetable contains only 21.8 calories (13). If you’re trying to lose weight, yellow squash can help keep your calorie intake low without sacrificing nutrition. It’s also naturally low in fat, so you won’t have to worry about adding too much of this veggie into your diet plan.
Full Of Fiber
Squash is a vegetable that can help you fight constipation, thanks to its fiber content. One cup of this squash contains 80% of your daily requirement for fiber, which helps improve digestion and bowel movement while preventing other gastrointestinal problems such as diverticulitis and hemorrhoids (8). Fiber-rich foods also manage blood sugar levels and keep them steady all day long, so you won’t experience sudden energy dips that lead to overeating or unhealthy cravings later in the day (5).
Good Source Of Vitamins
Vitamin A is important for good vision, especially when you’re indoors most of the time, such as when you work at the office. It also keeps your skin smooth and your mucus membranes strong, which protects your mouth and throat from infections (18).
One serving of yellow squash has nearly 11 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A. In fact, just one cup provides you with 19 percent of vitamin C as well as 22% of vitamin K. These nutrients are all essential for keeping your body strong and healthy, so take advantage of them by including this veggie in your diet plan whenever possible.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Qualities
Just like ginger, yellow squash is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds called cucurbitacin (4). One of these compounds is cucurbitacin E, which can actually reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals naturally found in your body. Research suggests that cucurbitacin E may also be effective for managing arthritis pain and other inflammatory disorders (11).
Good Source Of Folate
Folate is an essential B vitamin that can help protect children from birth defects, such as spina bifida and brain malformations. It’s also responsible for keeping homocysteine levels low, which protects you from heart disease by preventing plaque buildup inside your arteries (7). One cup of yellow squash has 17% of the recommended daily intake for folate.
Good Source Of Minerals
These minerals are essential for many bodily functions, such as muscle contractions and blood pressure regulation.
One cup of yellow squash contains about 7% of the recommended daily intake for potassium, which is higher than in most other vegetables out there. Magnesium is another key mineral found in yellow squash that’s responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, which helps improve insulin sensitivity (9). If you have diabetes, you should definitely add more yellow squash to your meals to help control your condition properly!
Health Benefits Of Yellow Squash
Consuming yellow squash regularly is good for you as it offers the following health benefits:
Improved Eye Health
Yellow squash contains beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body can turn into vitamin A (19). Vitamin A is important for healthy vision because it regulates light receptors in the retina of your eye called melanin cells. It also keeps the mucus membranes around your eyes strong, so they’re better capable of fighting infections caused by bacteria and other pathogens (15).
Improved Gut Health
One cup of yellow squash contains about half the recommended daily intake for fiber. Fiber helps improve digestion, prevents constipation, and keeps cholesterol levels down at the same time (8). Thanks to its high water content, this veggie is also filling without causing any bloating or stomach discomfort.
Vitamin B6 is essential for creating red blood cells, which enhances oxygen transport throughout your body. This, in turn, improves brain function and reduces fatigue because it prevents anemia symptoms such as weakness and shortness of breath (16).
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Yellow squash is rich in vitamin C, a key nutrient for keeping your immune system healthy. This vitamin is essential for synthesizing collagen, which is necessary for the proper function of your muscles and blood vessels. Vitamin C also boosts iron absorption in your stomach, allowing you to fight off anemia more effectively (17).
Better Heart Health
Thanks to its high fiber content, this veggie can help reduce LDL lipid levels and prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing (3).
Foods rich in vitamin K are proven to protect your heart against atherosclerosis by preventing calcium buildup inside the walls of your blood vessels. This prevents them from rupturing and causing life-threatening complications such as stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure (10).
Research also shows that judiciously increasing your intake of vitamin K can help lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis, and heart disease (14). One cup of yellow squash has about 30% of the recommended daily intake for this critical nutrient.
How To Choose Yellow Squash While Grocery Shopping?
When buying yellow squash, you should look for ones that are as fresh as possible. Make sure to choose those with soft skin and vibrant color that haven’t been exposed to cold temperatures for too long.
In addition, select small, firm vegetables because larger ones tend to have tough flesh that contains fewer nutrients. You should also avoid pre-chopped or pre-cut yellow squash unless you plan on using them right away. They lose their nutritional value much more quickly than whole veggies once cut open.
Finally, be mindful of the fact that most grocery stores place fruits and vegetables in separate sections. If you want your squash to retain its optimal flavor and texture, don’t leave it anywhere near perishable foods like meat or seafood because these items release enzymes that speed up the natural decay of vegetables.
How To Store Yellow Squash After Grocery Shopping?
If you’re not going to use yellow squash immediately, make sure to store it properly to prevent waste and maximize nutrition. Unwashed yellow squash can last for about a week if stored in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, but there are certain steps you should take to extend its shelf life even further:
- Keep this veggie away from other products that emit ethylene gas because they cause fruits and veggies to rot more quickly.
- Make sure that the stem end is dry before storing it in a plastic bag or airtight container because wet surfaces encourage bacterial growth.
- Wrap cut pieces tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place them in the fridge to prevent oxidation.
If you’re purchasing yellow squash just for home use, consider buying an extra bag or two because it can be frozen for future use. Just spread the pieces out on a baking sheet and place them in your freezer until they become firm before storing them in airtight bags or containers. You can keep prepped veggies like this for up to six months without having to worry about freezer burn.
How To Cook Yellow Squash?
While it’s true that you don’t need to cook yellow squash if you’re planning on eating it raw, prepping this veggie is a good way to increase its flavor and texture. Plus, cooking squash first makes it easier for your body to absorb certain nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin B6 (6).
If you want to steam or boil yellow squash, simply cut the vegetable into discs or slices before dipping them in boiling water. This process only takes between 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces, so be mindful of their consistency as they cook.
You can also roast yellow squash whole at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Just make sure not to overcook these veggies because high heat can destroy many of their nutrients and eliminate some important compounds such as zeaxanthin and lutein.
Another good way to cook yellow squash is on a grill because it makes them taste even better. Simply cut the veggies in half lengthwise before brushing them with olive oil, sprinkling them with salt and pepper, and cooking them for five minutes per side over medium heat. Keep in mind that too much salt increases the risk of hypertension (12).
To sauté yellow squash, thinly slice or julienne your pieces before heating up olive oil in a pan set over medium heat. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the color starts to intensify, then add in garlic or shallots if you want to increase flavor further. You could also add chopped tomato, pesto, balsamic vinegar, or chopped basil leaves at this point to create a delicious sauce.
Last but not least, you can bake yellow squash with olive oil and salt until it becomes tender and caramelized. Just cut your veggies into bite-sized pieces before coating them with the suggested seasonings and placing them on a baking sheet. Then place the tray inside an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes or until they turn brown. Serve hot as a side dish or include these tasty treats in healthy casseroles that will keep you full for hours.
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Yellow Squash Recipes
Sautéed Yellow Squash With Garlic
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp minced garlic
- 2 yellow squash, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and sauté until lightly browned.
- Add the yellow squash, salt, and pepper; continue cooking for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- Serve hot.
Baked Yellow Squash With Parmesan Cheese (2)
- 3 yellow squash (about 2 pounds), each cut into 12 pieces
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large bowl, toss the squash with Parmesan, salt and pepper, and oil.
- Cook on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot.
Recipe courtesy of Five Hear Home.
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 4 yellow squash, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 5 cups fat-free low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat the canola in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; add the squash and onion and sauté for ten (10) minutes or until tender.
- Add the broth and parsley; simmer for 20 minutes.
- Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving hot.
Squash Pancakes (1)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups yellow squash, grated (about 3 small squash)
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- Sift together the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Stir in the squash, butter or margarine, egg, milk, and salt to form a thick batter.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-low heat; spoon on a batter by 1/4 cupfuls to form pancakes.
- Cook until golden on both sides.
- Serve hot with your choice of topping, including but not limited to sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt.
Recipe courtesy of The Cook’s Treat.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re grilling, sauteing, baking, or cooking your yellow squash in a delicious soup this summer, getting these veggies into your diet will improve your health. Not only are they low-calorie, but they’re full of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals that are known to protect the body from disease. So put down those french fries and pick up some fresh yellow squash instead!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A stack of Yellow Squash Pancakes (2021, thecookstreat.com)
- BAKED PARMESAN YELLOW SQUASH RECIPE (2020, fivehearthome.com)
- Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis (1999, academic.oup.com)
- Cucurbita Plants: From Farm to Industry (2019, mdpi.com)
- Dietary fibre and satiety (2007, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Folate – Health Professional Fact Sheet (2021, ods.od.nih.gov)
- Health benefits of dietary fiber (2009, academic.oup.com)
- Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions (2017, hindawi.com)
- Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Search for a novel antioxidant, anti- inflammatory/analgesic or anti-proliferative drug: Cucurbitacins hold the ace (2010, researchgate.net)
- Sodium Intake and Hypertension (2019, mdpi.com)
- Summer squash, yellow, raw (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- The Role of Vitamin K in Chronic Aging Diseases: Inflammation, Cardiovascular Disease, and Osteoarthritis (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vitamin A and Vision (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vitamin B6: A Molecule for Human Health? (2010, mdpi.com)
- Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An Overview (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What is vitamin A and why do we need it? (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- β-Carotene Is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)