Benefits of Zucchini
If you are trying to go healthy, it’s time to turn towards a nourishing vegetable – zucchini. Alco called Courgette, it originated in America and belongs to species Cucurbita pepo. Available in yellow, light green and dark green colour it resembles cucumber a lot. The most interesting part is zucchini is a fruit, but in culinary terms it is used as a vegetable. Another fact is that all parts of zucchini are edible – right from the seeds to the flesh and even the skin. You can in reality just wash the Zucchini well and use it.
Learn more about the size and shape of zucchini and within how many days is it harvested…. Also learn the art of chopping and slicing it along with cutting into cubes and slices and long strips as well.
Once mastered this, learn the art of cooking with zucchini.
Here we will discuss how much zucchini can benefit us…. Want to know about its calories, fat and carb values along with some nutrients it is rich in?
7 Amazing Health Benefits of Zucchini, Healthy Indian Zucchini recipes
1. Weight Loss : Don’t be surprised. Zucchini, as a matter of fact, is a water-filled low calorie vegetable which is sure to keep you full for long time. Looking at its calorie count, a cup of chopped zucchini (around 120 g) gives only 19 calories. The amount of fat it contains is very negligible. It does have a good dose of fiber too.
It can be considered as a low carb, non-starchy vegetable which can be a healthy addition to weight loss diets and low carb diets. Combine zucchini with sprouts and red and yellow pepper to make a healthy salad like Zucchini Bell Pepper and Sprouted Moong Salad. This can be enjoyed as a healthy snack in evening time. It is sure to satiate you and avoid reaching out for those unhealthy deep-fried snacks.
Want to try an appetizer using zucchini. Give a try to Zucchini and Carrot Clear Soup.
2. Enhances Heart Health : Zucchini, like apple and pear, are rich in fiber pectin. This is a polysaccharide responsible for lowering cholesterol and keeping your arteries free of plaque. This further reduces the chances of stroke.
Zucchini itself is also low in cholesterol and sodium along with being a good source of potassium (314.4 mg / cup), which promotes nerve and cardiac health. Learn about other potassium rich foods. Moreover, zucchini also abounds in folate – a key nutrient which helps to reduce homocysteine levels and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. You can learn the art of pairing it with other veggies to make a healthy creation like Broccoli and Zucchini in Red Capsicum Gravy.
3. Improves Digestion : Zucchini’s water content plays the major role here. The high water content is necessary to bind stools and enhance its easy movement through the digestive tract. This is the same reason why zucchini is suggested for digestive ailments like constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and leaky gut syndrome.
Thus it would be more sensible to avoid those high amounts of carbs by way of sugar and maida based products, especially after a party, and opt for healthy ingredients like zucchini. Try a healthy high fiber lunch salad like Masoor, Beets Zucchini Pepper Lunch Salad. Masoor is good to make up for your protein needs, zucchini to add water without calories and fats and also carbs, while Pepper and Beet are need to add on antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
4. Builds Immunity & Disease Fighting Ability : Zucchini is a fruit which is high in vitamin C similar to citrus fruits like orange, lemon, sweet lime, amla etc. This high vitamin C helps fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage to cells. It builds white blood cells (WBC), our immune cells, and protects us against common diseases like cold and cough along with providing protection against different types of cancer.
To benefit the most from its vitamin C, toss it with your favourite ingredient as soon as you chop or slice it. This is because vitamin C is a highly volatile nutrient which is lost on exposure to air. Try the Rocket Leaves Zucchini Red Pumpkin Salad – it’s a storehouse of many nutrients including antioxidants.
5. Controls Diabetes : Managing blood sugar well needs high fiber and less carbs. Zucchini fulfils both these criteria. Additionally it has a glycemic index of 15, which qualifies it as a low glycemic index food. These type of foods raise the blood sugar levels gradually and thus should be included in a diabetic diet.
Try and avoid peeling its skin to benefit the most from its fiber content, as most of the fiber often lies just beneath the skin and of course in seeds too. Broccoli Spinach and Zucchini Stir-fry is a nourishing treat, truly worth trying.
6. Improve Skin Health : Anti-ageing creams, lotions and medicine are a big market these days. Everyone wants to look at least 10 years younger than their age. But if you want your skin to glow healthily as you age, what do you need from diet? The answer is water and antioxidants…. These are found the maximum in fruits and veggies. Zucchini is also one amongst them.
Zucchini is rich in water (which hydrates the skin) and antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin (which exhibit powerful anti-ageing property). They help ward off the free radicals from the body, which otherwise cause damage at cellular level. These antioxidants will protect the skin cells from free radical attack and give that glowing skin you really yearn for. So turn to nature for a naturally radiant skin.
You also get good amounts of vitamin C from zucchini as mentioned earlier. This nutrient is a must to make collagen which gives the skin its elasticity. So go wrinkle-free with zucchini by including it in the form of recipes like Mushroom Broccoli Baby Corn and Zucchini Salad with Honey Orange Dressing. This salad is a storehouse of various antioxidants which are sure to boost your health.
7. A Pregnant Women’s Wise Choice : Zucchini has so much to offer for the to-be-mum and growing fetus. Water (to avoid constipation), folate (for brain development), potassium (to balance the excess sodium if any) and vitamin C (for healthy skin).
A mother-to-be who needs to eat nutrient dense meals, can include Zucchini in form of salads (as shared above) and also try a simple nutrient dense fare like Zucchini Theplas. While some amount of vitamin C will be lost in cooking, they can benefit from the other nutrients it abounds in.
Try these tested recipes and you will overcome the notion that zucchini can be used only in continental and baked dishes with loads of cheese. You just need to put in some efforts to modify the ingredients you buy and stock, along with your daily cooking style to go healthy. It’s so simple… Try it!
Nutritive Information for Zucchini :
1 Cup of chopped zucchini is about 120 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy – 19 calories
Protein – 1.4 g
Carbohydrate – 4 g
Fat – 0.2 g
Fiber – 1.1 g
See full nutritional details of zucchini in Zucchini glossary click here.