Have you been at your farmer’s market in spring and early summer and seen bundles of green stalks with tiny bulbs at their tips that appear to be green onions,…
By Pat Wetzel
I love summer squash. The crooked neck yellow squash is one of my favorites. It’s incredibly sweet and it produces beautiful yellow flowers that can be stuffed with cheese and other fillings. My grandmother used to stuff the flowers with a Greek meat and rice mixture that was amazing.
I use summer squash in grilled vegetable quesadillas, sautéed with a bit of onion and curry, and baked with a bit of organic butter and parmesan. It’s great just rubbed with a bit of olive oil and grilled. Add herbs for a bit of extra flavor and anti-cancer nutrition. The possibilities are endless. This is an easy vegetable to add to your diet, any time of the year.
What is Summer Squash?
Summer squashes come in many different sizes and varieties. All of the plant is edible, including the flower which can be stuffed with cheeses and other mixtures. Unlike winter squashes which have thick outer shells and can be stored for long periods of time, summer squash is best eaten fresh, although many of its nutrients do freeze well.
Why eat summer squash?
It’s sweet and delicious! Summer squash is a very strong source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. The skin is especially antioxidant-rich, so it’s worth purchasing organic squash to avoid any unwanted pesticide contamination. To preserve nutrients while cooking, steaming is the best cooking method.
Animal studies have found specific anti-cancer qualities in squash, including special chains of D-galacturonic acid called homogalacturonan. This polysaccharide composition in summer squash is being linked to better insulin regulation.
In addition, squash seeds possess omega-3 fats . carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, make this vegetable a natural choice for protection against unwanted inflammation.
This combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients in summer squash suggest that it would be a wonderful addition to an anti-cancer diet. It’s also low in calories and high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose.
Here are some recipes for enjoying this fabulous vegetable:
Many recipes for Stuffed Squash Blossoms include stuffing and frying the delicate flowers. I personally stay away from fried recipes and recipes that use white flour. This one uses goat cheese as a stuffing and a gentle saute in butter. Organic butter is easily available–Costco, among others, has bulk organic butter reasonably priced.
Curry is a fantastic flavor with strong anti-inflammatory properties. This marriage of summer squash and curry is superb. Remember to add some ground black pepper. Pepper enhances the absorption of turmeric (the yellow ingredient in curry) which is responsible for its anti-inflammatory characteristics.
My garden is currently producing more yellow squash than I can eat. So the other day, I sliced the squash very thin on a mandolin (a food processor would work too), topped each slice with a sprinkle of coarse salt, and put them in the dehydrator for about 6-8 hours (a very low, slow oven also works). These squash chips rival any potato chip and are healthy! Give them a try!
Pat Wetzel is the Founder of the Anti-Cancer Club. In 2009, she was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma. After three rounds of chemo, surgery and radiation, she is in remission.
How does one take control of one’s health, even in the face of cancer? What are the factors of health in the context of cancer?
Research by Dean Ornish, MD, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, Jeanne WallacePhD, CNC, and others point to 4 key factors over which each of us has total control: Nutrition, Exercise, Mind/Body Modalities (such as stress management) and Social Connection.
The lifestyle choices that create anti-cancer health are not the day to day reality that most of us live. Our lives are fast and stressful. We don’t always eat well and exercise may or may not be part of our equation. And even with family and friends, cancer can be very isolating. People simply don’t know what to say or do.
Ultimately each of us must find our own path, but we don’t have to re-create the wheel. Learn from all of us on this site as we share personal experiences, expertise and insights into creating an anti-cancer life.
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