I have always liked summer squash and have been adding more of the vegetable to my diet this past week. I became curious to what was the main nutrition/health improvements of eating summer squash. After doing some research I found a lot of interesting nutrition facts.
Antioxidants has been the main compound researched from summer squash.* Especially in the skin of summer squash where the carotenoids or organic pigments lutein and zeaxanthin are found and are known to be a strong antioxidant source.* Note to self, always eat my summer squash with the skin. Side Note: The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are related to eye health by helping with protection and basic eye functions.
The great thing about summer squash is that research has shown that it's retention of these antioxidant properties is strong.* Therefore, we don't have to worry about losing antioxidant nutrition from squash if we want to steam it or if we need to keep it frozen.
More recent studies have shown that the starch-like carbohydrate polysaccharide they call pectin found in summer squash may protect against diabetes and help to improve the regulation of insulin in our blood.*
B vitamins are very important to our diet and help with a lot of body health issues. Summer squash is a good source of B-complex vitamins. It contains B-vitamins folate, B6, B1, B2, B3 and choline.* The valuable minerals found in summer squash are zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.*
Lastly, which I found very important since I box and am prone to inflammation injuries, some research shows that summer squash can be considered an anti-inflammatory. "The presence of omega-3 fats in the seeds of summer squash, the presence of anti-inflammatory carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, and the presence of anti-inflammatory polysaccharides like homogalacturonan make this vegetable a natural choice for protection against unwanted inflammation."* Some preliminary studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory protection from summer squash potentially benefits the cardovascular system and the GI tract.*
*Squash, Summer. "the world's healthiest foods." George Mateijan Foundation. 2001-2014.