Totally Edible Summer Squash

With the summer season approaching it’s time for us to take a look at the totally edible summer squash. Unlike winter squashes summer squash has a soft skin and creamy white flesh and can be eaten whole, seeds and all. Summer squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C, B6 and the mineral manganese. Containing powerful antioxidants and beta-carotene summer squash is a great way to support your immune system and combat inflammation. And the most exciting part about summer squash is recent research indicating it can help regulate insulin and even protect against diabetes!

Summer Squash: The Diabetes Protector

From The George Mateljan Foundation at The World’s Healthiest Foods:

Photo: zigzagmtart/Fotolia. Fresh summer squash.

Photo: zigzagmtart/Fotolia. Fresh summer squash.

We tend to think about squashes, both summer and winter, as starchy vegetables. This thinking is correct, since about 85-90% of the total calories in squashes (as a group) come from carbohydrate, and about half of this carbohydrate is starch-like in composition and composed of polysaccharides. But we also tend to think about polysaccharides as stagnant storage forms for starch that cannot do much for us in terms of unique health benefits. Here our thinking is way off target! Recent research has shown that the polysaccharides in summer squash include an unusual amount of pectin—a specially structured polysaccharide that often include special chains of D-galacturonic acid called homogalacturonan. It’s this unique polysaccharide composition in summer squash that is being linked in repeated animal studies to protection against diabetes and better regulation of insulin. We expect to see future studies on humans confirming these same types of benefits from consumption of summer squash.

Read more about summer squash, including what’s new, how to cook them, recipes and their many health benefits at The World’s Healthiest Foods.

If you’re looking for a really cool way to eat your zucchini, check out this spiralizer by Paderno. You can use it to create “spaghetti”-style noodles and get more of this great summer vegetable and its benefits into your diet.

About Laura

Laura is passionate about food from real farmers and artisans. She lives with her husband in Grand Rapids on the river. Sometimes it flows over, but mostly she is greeted by the ducks, geese and her neighbor's chickens. They like to hop up on her windowsill and eat the spiders. Yay! She's the co-founder of Two Sister Organics, a natural and organic skin care company.

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