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Why Should Yellow Squash Be in Your Diet?

22 Feb 2024
Why Should Yellow Squash Be in Your Diet?

Why Should Yellow Squash Be in Your Diet?

Yellow squash, a vibrant and versatile summer vegetable, is a staple in many kitchens due to its mild flavor and tender texture. But beyond its culinary appeal, yellow squash offers a plethora of health benefits that make it a must-have in your diet. Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, this low-calorie vegetable supports a healthy lifestyle in numerous ways. Here's a closer look at why yellow squash deserves a place on your plate.

Nutritional Profile of Yellow Squash

Yellow squash is remarkably low in calories, making it an excellent choice for those looking to manage their weight without sacrificing flavor. A cup of sliced yellow squash contains just 18 calories, yet it packs a nutritional punch. It's a great source of vitamin C, which is essential for immune function, skin health, and wound healing. Yellow squash also provides significant amounts of vitamin A, important for vision health, and manganese, a mineral that plays a role in bone health and glucose metabolism.

Additionally, yellow squash is rich in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known for promoting eye health and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration. The presence of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, further bolsters its profile as a health-promoting vegetable.

Health Benefits of Including Yellow Squash in Your Diet

Weight Management

Due to its high water content and low calorie count, yellow squash is filling and can help control hunger, making it an ideal food for weight loss or maintenance. Incorporating yellow squash into meals adds volume and nutrients without adding a significant number of calories.

Improved Digestion

Yellow squash is a good source of dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Fiber helps to regulate the digestive system, prevent constipation, and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disorders. A diet high in fiber can also contribute to better overall gut health.

Heart Health

The potassium content in yellow squash plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Potassium helps to counteract the effects of sodium in the diet, which is important for people looking to manage or prevent hypertension. Additionally, the fiber in yellow squash can help lower cholesterol levels, further supporting heart health.

Antioxidant Protection

Antioxidants in yellow squash, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and protect against various chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Supports Vision Health

The specific antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are highly beneficial for eye health. They accumulate in the retina, providing protective pigment that shields the eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light. Regular consumption of yellow squash can contribute to reduced risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

How to Incorporate Yellow Squash into Your Diet

Yellow squash is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in numerous ways. It can be grilled, roasted, sautéed, or even eaten raw in salads. Spiralizing yellow squash into "noodles" offers a low-carb alternative to pasta, while adding it to soups, stews, and casseroles boosts their nutrient content. Yellow squash can also be blended into smoothies for a nutrient-packed drink or used in baking to add moisture to breads and muffins.

Conclusion

Yellow squash is not only a delicious and versatile vegetable but also a nutritional powerhouse that offers a range of health benefits. From supporting weight management and digestive health to protecting the heart and eyes, the reasons to include yellow squash in your diet are compelling. With its mild flavor and ease of preparation, yellow squash can seamlessly integrate into your meals, making it easier than ever to enjoy its health-promoting properties.

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