The Latest News About Summer Squash

Summer squashes belong to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants and are relatives of winter squashes (including pumpkins), melons (including watermelon), and even cucumbers. But summer squashes are typically much more delicate than their fellow Cucurbitaceae, and are more often eaten fresh and shortly after harvest. In the United States, you'll generally find three types of summer squash: zucchini; crookneck and straightneck squashes; and scallop squashes, which are also called pattypan squashes.

What's New and Beneficial About Summer Squash

WHFoods Recommendations

Of all of the cooking methods we tried when cooking summer squash, our favorite is Healthy Sauté. We think that it provides the greatest flavor and is also a method that allows for concentrated nutrient retention. To Healthy Sauté summer squash, heat 3 TBS of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add sliced squash, cover, and Healthy Sauté for 3 minutes (1-1/2 minutes on one side, and then 1-1/2 minutes on the other side) on medium heat. Transfer to a bowl and toss with our Mediterranean Dressing. (See our 3-Minute Healthy Sautéed Summer Squash recipe for details on how to prepare this dish.)

Health Benefits

Summer squash provide numerous health benefits including:

For more details on summer squash's health benefits, see this section of our summer squash write-up.

Nutritional Profile

While not often considered as a premiere food source of antioxidants, summer squash can provide you with unique amounts of antioxidant nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. While summer squash contains very little overall fat (only 1/2 gram per cup), the fat in summer squash (mostly stored in its edible seeds) is unique in composition and includes omega-3s (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid), monounsaturates (in the form of oleic acid), and also medium chain fats (in the form of lauric and myristic acids). Summer squash is an excellent source of copper and manganese. It is a very good source of vitamin C, magnesium, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B1, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, choline, and protein.

For more on this nutrient-rich food, including references related to this Latest News, see our write-up on summer squash.

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