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15 Amazing Health Benefits Of Zucchini

Zucchini, also known as Courgette is a type of summer squash that grows mainly during the summer months and belongs to the gourd family (like bottle gourd and ridge gourd). It is botanically termed as a fruit but considered a vegetable with smooth skin, small edible seeds and crunchy flesh.

This summer squash is available in varieties of shades. Some of the popular varieties of the fruit are golden zucchini which has bright orange-yellow skin, cocozelle which has a slight bulge bottom, fordhook which is curved, cylindrical and smooth, gadzukes with light green ridges, magda with pale green skin and others which are often round, heavy, smooth and seedless.

Researchers conclude that the best way to eat zucchini is without peeling as most of the nutrients are present in its skin. It is an excellent source of water, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and beta-carotene, to name a few.

Nutritional Value Of Zucchini

100 g of zucchini contains 94.79 g water and 17 kcal energy. It also contains 1.21 g protein, 1 g dietary fibre, 16 mg calcium, 0.37 mg iron, 18 mg magnesium, 38 mg phosphorus, 261 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 0.2 mcg selenium, 17.9 mg vitamin C, 0.045 vitamin B1, 0.094 vitamin B2, 0.451 vitamin B3, 24 mcg folate, 0.163 mg vitamin B6, 120 mcg beta-carotene, 4.3 mcg vitamin K and 200 IU vitamin A.

Health Benefits Of Zucchini

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1. Promotes healthy digestion

Zucchini is a seasonal vegetable with high medicinal value. It is rich in dietary fibre which helps to ease all digestive problems like bloating, constipation and stomach gas. It also helps to maintain good intestinal health.

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2. Reduces glucose levels

A good amount of insoluble fibre in zucchini is very effective to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Consuming a good amount of this vegetable helps to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and improve glucose tolerance thus, preventing diabetes.

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3. Contributes to heart health

Zucchini is low in calories and high in folate, potassium and magnesium - all important nutrients for the heart health. The fibre in zucchini also helps to lower the risk of heart diseases like stroke. [1]

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4. Aids vision problems

The rich amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene in zucchini helps to maintain ocular health and aid vision and related problems. Also, antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthins in zucchini help to reduce age-related vision problems. [2]

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5. Helps in weight management

Zucchini is a fruit vegetable which is consumed worldwide. It is low in starch, low in carbohydrates but high in fibre and water content. This makes zucchini a low-fat food which is very helpful for managing weight in a short time.

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6. May possess anticancer effects

The high amount of beta-carotene and vitamin C in this vegetable helps to reduce the damage against the oxidative stress in the body, a high amount of which is often responsible to cause cancer such as prostate cancer in men. [3]

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7. Balances thyroid hormone levels

The presence of polyphenols and vitamin C in the peels of zucchini is effective in regulating the hormonal levels of thyroid and adrenal glands. Also, manganese in this fruit promotes the proper functioning of these glands.

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8. Strengthens bones and teeth

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the two carotenoids found in zucchini that help to strengthen the bones and teeth and prevent diseases related to them. Zucchini is also rich in vitamin k, magnesium and folate that contributes to the bone growth. [4]

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9. Reduces oxidative stress

The antioxidant property of zucchini helps to scavenge harmful free radicals out of our body and prevent the risk of oxidative damage to the body. Lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin are a few antioxidants present in zucchini. [5]

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10. Slows down ageing

Antioxidants have a powerful anti-ageing property that protects the skin from oxidative stress and slows down premature ageing. Zucchini is packed with antioxidants such as beta-carotene that strengthen the cell membranes and fight off any damage to the skin due to UV rays.

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11. Improve mental health

In a study, it was found that lutein, a powerful antioxidant found in zucchini is related to improved memory and cognitive functions in older adults. Consuming zucchini helps to lift up the mood and prevent mental illnesses like stress and depression. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 in this fruit also helps prevent Alzheimer's in older adults. [6]

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12. Lowers cholesterol levels

Zucchini is a fibre rich and low-calorie food. The high fibre in this vegetable lowers the buildup of bad cholesterol in the arteries and prevent the risk of diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. [7]

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13. May treat asthma

Asthma is caused mainly due to inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Zucchini has anti-inflammation properties that help reduce the inflammation of the airways to the lungs and prevent breathing difficulties. Also, vitamin C in the fruit prevent asthma attacks. [8]

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14. Lowers blood pressure

Sodium and potassium are the two vital electrolytes in the body and should be in 2:1 ratio. When people eat too many junk foods, sodium levels get high leading to hypertension. As zucchini is rich in potassium, it helps balance the negative effect of sodium and lower blood pressure.

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15. Promotes hair growth

Vitamin B2, zinc and vitamin C in zucchini helps promote hair growth and make the hair stronger. These vital compounds also help prevent hair conditions like dry hair, splitting hair and dandruff.

Common FAQs

1. What can I do with too many zucchinis?

Zucchini can be used in several ways such as salads, mixed vegetables, soups, sandwiches, noodles and also in cakes and muffins. Remember to store it in a fridge as it is the best way to preserve its antioxidants and other nutrients.

2. Are large zucchinis good to eat?

A large zucchini is overfilled with seeds, have a bitter taste and tough outer layer. Yes, a large zucchini is still good to eat, it just takes a few more minutes to prepare.

3. Can too much zucchini make you sick?

Zucchini produces a small amount of natural toxin called cucurbitacin to repel insects. Therefore, consuming a large amount of this vegetable may cause side effects like diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness and abdominal pain.