Cool and Hydrate with Summer Squash
Eating seasonally is a simple, sustainable and enjoyable way to balance your health. And it is especially easy when you shop at your local Farmers’ Market or farm stand. From an Ayurvedic perspective, if you are a fiery pitta like me (hence the nickname Red Jen), you tend to run hot and need more than ever to choose cooling foods during the heat of summer. Fortunately, nature is here to provide with cooling foods such as summer squash. Whether you’re craving a sweet treat or a savory meal, these foods can help balance your internal heat or quench your thirst for cool hydration after a hot Yoga practice.
You’ll find summer squash at farmers markets in shades of yellow, pale green and the more traditional emerald hue of zucchini. With names like pattypan, crookneck, and straightneck, look for squash in various shapes and sizes from round and cylindrical to pear-shaped. High in nutrients such as manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin A (including beta-carotene), folate (Vitamin B9), copper, riboflavin and phosphorus, studies suggest summer squash may help to fight cancer and prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.
Their high concentrations of magnesium and potassium may also help reduce high blood pressure. High in fiber and with only thirty-six calories per one cup serving, this delicious low-calorie and high-nutrient food provides tremendous bang for your bite.
Simple Summer Squash Techniques
Using a simple box grater, I love to grate yellow crookneck squash and green zucchini and toss them raw into salads; when you do this, it looks like confetti on a salad plate! For a summer barbecue, trim the ends, and then slice the squash lengthwise into one-quarter to one-half inch thick pieces. Season with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and olive oil, and then grill them for a few minutes on each side. Grilling imparts a smoky flavor, but also brings out their natural sweetness. The peak of the season runs through July, so grab a bunch and start grating or grilling!
Red Jen Ford is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Yoga Instructor and Seasonal Eating Expert. Jen teaches her clients the benefits and simplicity of eating local, sustainably grown food. Enjoy more of her dishes in her seasonal recipe booklets or her online course, Simply in Season: Recipes to Celebrate Healthy, Easy Seasonal Food.