About Zucchini – A Nutritional Superstar !
Zucchini are a type of a summer squash. They grow on a flowering plant which has edible flowers. The beauty of this vegetable lies in the fact that it’s a wholesome meal! The fresh looking glossy green skin, the seeds and the flesh are all edible.
Zucchini are natives to Central America and Mexico, and are at their best in the months between May and July; however, they are readily available throughout the year. Some of the popular zucchini varieties include the golden zucchini, which is a beautiful vibrant golden colored variety that retains its color even after being cooked! Other popular varieties include the Round zucchini, Tatume, Costata romanesco, Middle-Eastern types and the Yellow crooknecks.
Zucchinis are a storehouse of a number of minerals and vitamins and prove to be extremely beneficial for health.
Nutritional Information of Zucchini:
A cup of boiled and sliced zucchini weighs about 180 grams and is mostly constituent of water content, going as high as 171 grams! A 180 grams serving approximately consists of 29 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. Zucchini also consists of a considerable amount of Vitamins, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C (which accounts for 14% of the daily required intake of the particular vitamin) and Vitamin B6.
Health Benefits of Zucchini:
Zucchini ranks amongst the top most vegetables that work like a miracle in weight reduction and cholesterol control programs! The vegetable consists of a miniscule amount of 17 calories per 100 grams and zero saturated fat and cholesterol. The high level of water content also gives a filling effect preventing overeating from taking place! Steamed zucchini works the best in this regard, as when in its steamed form, the vegetable retains most of its nutrient and works wonders with a weight loss/ fitness regime!
The glossy green skin is not just for the aesthetic beauty of the vegetable but is also very efficient with the digestive system! The peel consists of dietary fiber, which helps prevent constipation and ensures a healthy bowel movement alignment. Not only that, dietary fiber also has the property of being a good measure against colon cancer!
Rich In Folates!
Zucchini is a rich source of folate. Folate is a form of Vitamin b9 which is essential for women during and after pregnancy alike. It helps in the building of healthy blood cells in the mother’s womb and otherwise and also prevents anemia. 100 grams worth of zucchini can provide up to 6% of the daily required amount of folates! Folates also help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Read The Importance of Folic Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy to better understand the importance of this vitamin during pregnancy.
Rich In Potassium!
Zucchini consists of a substantial amount of potassium which has proven to be extremely loyal to heart health! Potassium is highly efficient in regularizing blood pressure and keeps the heart rates stable by countering the effects of sodium.
Stronger, Better Immunity System!
The high content of Vitamin C garnered in zucchini, helps in boosting up the immunity system. Vitamin C works its wonders the best when it comes to fighting against infectious and viral diseases. Vitamin C has been shown to be useful in reducing the rigorousness of conditions like arthritis, asthma, and for preventing conditions such as colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Zucchinis, (golden zucchini in particular) consist of flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin, (benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin for the eyes) which essentially serve as antioxidants. These basic compounds help strike against oxygen derived free radicals that contribute to ageing and various other diseases!
All That Vitamin B!
Zucchinis house a variety of Vitamin B compounds. To name a few, zucchini’s consist of thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin etc. These various components are what keep that toxic waste and unwanted pollutants infecting our bodies, away! They are important for energy production, glossy nails and glowing skin, prevention of muscle cramps and spasms, elasticity of body tissues, maintenance of blood sugar levels and healthy hair.
The flavonoids carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene are anti-inflammatory in nature and can cater to our health in a number of ways! Internal inflammation in the body can cause or blood vessels to clog, giving rise to cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems and cancers too.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of zucchini make it a contender in fighting against cancers! Poor intake of antioxidant nutrients can lead to an upsurge in the unwanted, toxic, oxidative pollutants in our body which can potentially lead to cancer. The same repeats with a lack of anti-inflammatory nutrients as well. Zucchini is your one stop shop to curb both deficiencies!
Zucchini consists of phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which contribute to eye health, working towards a better sharper vision and prevent macular degeneration, which is eventual loss in eyesight due to aging, and cataracts.
Possible Ways to Enjoy Zucchini:
Sprinkling thinly cut slices of zucchini over salad is the most nutritious way to enjoy this interesting vegetable!
Make a dip of your choice, we recommend the sour cream and onion dip or a light cheese dip and enjoy it with a side of sliced zucchinis!
Here’s a zucchini recipe that will definitely please all the guests sitting on that brunch table - Zucchini squares! These delicious tasting quiche style squares are made with eggs, bacon, zucchini, seasonings, and other ingredients. Bake for a few minutes! Serve with a warm marinara sauce or salsa and you’re guaranteed to lick those fingers!
Possible Health Concerns:
People susceptible to gall bladder and issues pertaining to the kidneys should refrain from consuming zucchinis. Zucchinis like all other summer squashes consist of oxalates which can lead to kidney stone formation and raise concerns with the gall bladder. Oxalates also interfere with calcium absorption, however there impact is minimal and can usually be offset by the calcium content present in the vegetable.