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What’s the real story on the health benefits of zucchini? This member of the Cucurbitapepo family of vegetables, Zucchini plants are wonderful squash vegetables of the summer season (different from yellow squash). Rich in water content, these summer squashes are juicy and bright green.
It is believed to have originated in Central America and Mexico, but the cucumber looking vegetable is now extremely popular across different parts of the world for its delicious taste and amazing health benefits. So are zucchinis good for you? Read on to find out.
Nutrition Content of Zucchini
Zucchini or Courgette is extremely rich in water content. Hence this vegetable is very low in calories and extremely beneficial for those looking to reduce or control weight.
It helps in cutting down the calorie intake and yet satisfies hunger making one feeling full for long. One medium sized raw zucchini along with its skin contains only 31 calories making it an ideal partner for weight loss.
Due to lower caloric value, even the carbohydrates provided by Zucchini is quite less. A medium sized zucchini delivers 7 grams of carbohydrates in total to the body.
Of these, 2 grams are delivered in the form of dietary fibre and 3 grams are delivered in the form of sugar. There is also 2 grams of plant protein found in this vegetable.
Zucchini is also a rich source of Vitamin C and a single raw medium sized piece of this vegetable can provide for 56% of daily requirement of Vitamin C.
It is also rich in Vitamin K and B-6 and provide for 11% and 21% of daily requirement of both respectively.
Zucchini also contains good quantities of riboflavin and folate. In smaller quantities, it also contains Vitamin A, E, thiamine and nicin.
How Does Eating Zucchini Impact Our Health?
Due to its easy availability, especially during summers, Zucchini is a very commonly consumed vegetable in most of the households. Most of the time, the health benefits it offers go unnoticed and unrecognized.
With better awareness of its health benefits, motivation can be derived to enjoy eating this simple looking vegetable.
Helps In Controlling And Reducing Weight
Zucchini is a good source of water and dietary fiber. Hence it is the perfect food when it comes to weight control.
Especially for those who are unable to lose weight through exercising, reducing the calorie intake by substituting high calorie food with sizeable portion of Zucchini can work wonders.
The fiber satisfies hunger and helps in burning away excess fat in the body.
The water content of Zucchini also provides hydration to the body reducing the cravings to eat often.
It is believed that inadequate hydration can make one crave for food, especially sweets. Eating zucchini reduces such cravings and hence control weight.
Lowers The Cholesterol Levels In Body
The fiber in zucchini helps to reduce the cholesterol levels in body. The Vitamin A and C found in Zucchini prevents the cholesterol from oxidising the blood vessels. This in turn delays the beginning of atherosclerosis which can harm the health of the heart.
Zucchini is also very rich in potassium that is essential for maintain good heart health. The potassium obtained from zucchini maintains the fluid levels of body and improves the heart rate.
The lowering of cholesterol combined with the benefits of potassium keep the heart healthy for long.
Aids The Development Of Unborn Babies
Zucchini is a rich source of folates that breaks down the amino acids. Consuming 100 grams of Zucchini provides 6% of daily requirement of folates.
Folates help in division of cells and synthesis of DNA. They play a vital role in the development of foetus and development of the baby.
Eating Zucchini regularly before pregnancy can help avoid neural tube defects in developing fetus.
The Vitamin C in Zucchini is a very good anti-oxidant and helps keep the mother and baby healthy during pregnancy.
The flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein etc. present in zucchini help eliminate the free radicals in the body that promote aging and also the development of diseases.
Helps In Maintaining Overall Good Health
Zucchini is one vegetable that has an array of nutrients that are essential for maintaining overall good health.
It is a rich source of manganese and vitamin C which regulate the health of internal organs such as liver and stomach.
The summer squash is rich in minerals such as potassium, copper and phosphorous that act as electrolytes for the body and eliminate free radicals.
The sugar, carbohydrates and fiber make zucchini the perfect food that provides good energy to the body.
It also helps to clear the body and eliminate the wastes which is key to good health. It also washes away the cancer causing toxins from the colon.
Helps In Treating Diseases
Due to the various nutrients that are combined together in zucchini, it plays an important role in keeping away diseases.
The folate, Beta-carotene and Vitamin C present in zucchini keep the body clear and flushed of impurities and disease causing foreign bodies.
The beta-carotene and vitamin C found in zucchini also have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the impact of certain diseases such as osteoarthritis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Consuming zucchini regularly helps reduce the swelling caused due to arthritis. Even the aching pain caused due to rheumatoid arthritis is reduced by eating zucchini due to its high copper content.
How To Buy A Good Zucchini?
While zucchini has a lot to offer to general health and well-being, the benefits of this vegetable can be derived only when it is eaten fresh.
It is best to purchase zucchini that is tender and juicy. The one that has zucchini flowers attached to it is the best to purchase as they are very fresh.
While buying zucchini, check if it is sleek and firm. The skin of zucchini squash should be bright and smooth. The weight of it should be slightly on the heavier end due to the juiciness.
Zucchini is a commonly available vegetable but most of the times the health benefits it offers are ignored.
Relish this tender delight either in a salad or cook it like a pasta recipe. To make a zucchini pasta, make use of shredded zucchini and treat it as a zucchini noodle. It is usually drizzled with olive oil, topped with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
You can also create a zucchini juice the same way as you make a green smoothie. The nutrients from this vegetable can prove to be of immense help in keeping body fit and disease-free.