Zucchini, yellow crook neck, spaghetti, acorn, kabocha, and over a hundred other types of squash are grown worldwide for their nutrients, health benefits, and yumminess! Yet, by late fall many gardens are sprinkled with half-melted squashes and most of us have said “no thanks” to at least one zucchini.
Turns out, we’re losing out by not eating more squash. Here are five reasons why.
Health Benefits of Summer & Winter Squash
1. It’s fabulous for your health. Squashes are teeming with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water, and fiber that are good for your eyes, heart, hair, skin, and digestive system. The co-author of “The Everyday Squash Cookbook” claims the orange-fleshed winter squashes like butternut are the most underrated superfood! He says you get 750% the daily value of vitamin A in a cup or less! They’re also high in magnesium, which you need to absorb calcium.
2. It has cancer-fighting compounds. Of the numerous health benefits of squash, one of the most profound is that they contain bioactive compounds that may help prevent and fight cancer. One study found that four components in green and yellow zucchini fruits – lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and dehydroascorbic acid – combat genotoxins. Genotoxins are chemical agents that can damage genetic information in your cells, causing cell mutations that may turn cancerous.
3. It may help control diabetes. Banana squash is commonly used for hypoglycemic treatments in some countries. Researchers in Iran gave critically ill diabetics powdered banana squash twice a day and it dropped their blood glucose level significantly in 72 hours! Plus, it lowered their insulin requirement 20% after three days of squash powder supplementation.
4. It’s great for weigh loss. Summer squashes like zucchini and yellow squash are so amazingly low in calories and carbs, while high in fiber and water, they’re perfect for weight loss. You can snack on them raw, air fry them, or make zoodles! Zoodles are easy to make, gluten free, and ideal for healthy diets including keto, Whole30, and the Mediterranean Diet for heart health.
5. It may help you live longer! Squash alone isn’t proven to increase longevity, but it’s a staple in blue zone areas where people live longer. Diet is a major factor linked to longer lives in blue zones, so eating squash as often as possible isn’t a bad idea. Enjoy these blue zone squash recipes to incorporate squashes into breakfast, lunch, and dinner.With all this positive data about squash, it’s worth trying to eat more. When your garden or neighbors offer too much squash this summer and fall, no worries; it freezes well so you can enjoy this seasonal goodness all year!