Health Benefits of Squash
Yellow squash is a type of summer squash that grows all over the United States and is easily found at local farmers markets, roadside vegetable stands and grocery stores. Yellow squash is rich in nutritional benefits and can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Add it to stews, salads and soups to avail yourself of this nutritious vegetable.
Here are eight health benefits of this versatile vegetable.
Low in Calories
A cup of yellow squash contains only about 36 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of fat, and a gram of protein. It is also cholesterol-free. The few calories it contains come mostly from its carbohydrate content, which is also particularly low. If you are trying to lose weight, yellow squash is a great choice to replace higher calorie vegetables like potatoes and corn.
Yellow squash is a brilliant source of vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A (particularly in its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene), fiber, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus.
It is also abundant in potassium, providing 345.60 milligrams per serving. Potassium is a key electrolyte in the balance of fluids and also provides muscle energy.
In addition, it is high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose.
Yellow squash is abundant in antioxidants that keep free radicals at bay. With its high beta-carotene content, yellow squash is a great source of protection from pollutants and chemicals that lead to cancer. It is also high in vitamin C, which helps prevent premature aging and cancer as well as inhibiting cell division.
Yellow squash contains negligable fat and no measurable cholesterol. One cup of squash contains about 0.2 g of fat. Cutting down on your fat and cholesterol intake is a giant step towards helping reduce your risk of heart disease.
The magnesium found in yellow squash has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Along with its potassium content, magnesium is good for reducing high blood pressure. The vitamin C and beta-carotene levels in yellow squash may also aid in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol. As cholesterol in its oxidized form builds up in the walls of blood vessels, such nutrients may reduce the development of atherosclerosis. The presence of the vitamin folate in yellow squash is required by our bodies to remove an unhealthy metabolic byproduct called homocysteine, which may contribute to heart attack and stroke risk.
While the nutrients in squash combine to make a heart healthy, disease-preventing food, yellow squash is also particularly rich in fiber, the perfect ingredient for lowering high cholesterol levels and reducing the potential for atherosclerosis and heart disease.
At 2.52 grams per serving, the abundant fiber content of yellow squash is indispensable for the excretion of toxins from the body and is an extremely important nutrient for the colon's health since it promotes regularity and adds bulk to the stool.
Yellow squash has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of a condition named benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH. A man with BPH suffers from a problematically enlarged prostate gland, leading to difficulties with both urinary and sexual function.
Yellow squash is particularly high in concentrations of beta carotene and lutein. Dietary lutein helps to prevent the onset of cataracts and macular degeneration, which often leads to blindness. A cup of yellow squash provides about 135 micrograms of beta carotene and 2,400 micrograms of lutein.
Yellow Squash contains high levels of manganese and vitamin C. Manganese aids in maintaining healthy bone structure, calcium absorption, enzyme creation, and bone building. It also contributes to the mineral density of the spinal column.
Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, which is essential for the building of bone mass, and magnesium is indispensible to the health of joints and bones. Iron, folate, zinc and phosphorous found in yellow squash all contribute to the mineral health of bones, and help fortify against osteoporosis.