Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a summer squash that is full of nutrition and offers multiple health benefits. While zucchinis are commonly referred to as vegetables and cooked in mostly savory dishes they are, in fact, a type of fruit that is native to the Americas.
They contain Vitamins A, B and C as well as minerals Calcium, Magnesium and Iron and are loaded with antioxidants. The fresh green flesh and dark green skin is also full of dietary fiber and water, which helps to improve digestion, eliminate toxins and increase metabolism. Zucchinis are exceptionally healthy for you and have a positive impact on every system in your body, being linked to a healthier brain, heart, liver and skin.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of zucchini:
1. Helps You to Lose Weight
One large zucchini contains as little as 53 calories, but yet it is so full of fiber and water that it will leave you feeling full and satisfied for hours. It’s also completely fat-free and has only trace amounts of sugar, which makes it perfect to indulge in on any diet plan.
The dietary fiber helps to prevent constipation and toxin buildup while hydrating purified water helps to flush out any toxins that may be weighing you down. Zucchini additionally contains potassium, which acts as a natural diuretic and can lead to weight loss from eliminating unwanted water weight.
2. Keeps Blood Sugar Stable
The low sugar and high fiber combination that zucchini offers helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevents the development of Type 2 Diabetes. It’s also the perfect food to eat when managing the symptoms of Diabetes, as it leads to an absence of blood sugar spikes and dips.
3. Helps to Lower Cholesterol
Containing no fat and zero cholesterol already makes zucchini the top health food for those who want to reduce their cholesterol levels, but it’s the high level of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber that really make the difference.
The incredible dose of fiber and antioxidants helps to scrape excess plaque buildup from clogged arteries and eliminates excess LDL (bad) cholesterol from the body while at the same time reducing free radical damage.
4. Reduces Blood Pressure
As much as 29% of adult Americans suffer from hypertension and zucchinis are the perfect way to combat it. It contains an excellent dose of potassium, which helps to maintain fluid balance in the body and eliminates excess toxins and waste that lead to increased blood pressure. It also acts as a natural diuretic, releasing stored water and sodium that has resulted from a salty diet, thereby bringing blood pressure back to a healthy level.
Zucchini has more potassium than a banana, meeting 7% of the daily recommended value per 100 grams. It also contains only trace amounts of sodium, making it a healthy yet naturally savory treat. By eating it more frequently, you will reduce your chances of developing hypertension and will also help to eliminate its prevalence if you already suffer from it.
5. Improves Immunity
Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s a fruit that zucchini contains such a high level of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is known to boost the strength of the immune system.
A strong immune system has an abundance of white blood cells which are ready at a moment’s notice to fight off colds, flu and any harmful bacteria that you are exposed to. Just 100 grams meets 29% of your daily required value of Vitamin C.
6. Keeps the Heart Healthy
The incredible dose of manganese and Vitamin C that zucchinis offer are key to maintaining a strong and healthy heart. They help to reduce oxidative stress to arteries and helps to strengthen the connective tissue of the entire cardiovascular system.
As much as 37% of Americans do not get the required amount of manganese per day, and a deficiency has been linked to heart disease and heart failure. Just 1 cup contains as much as 19% of the required daily amount, making zucchinis an excellent choice in maintaining a healthy heart.
7. Reduces Stress and Muscle Tension
Stress can deplete the level of magnesium in the body, which can lead to an increase in muscle tension, depression and fatigue. Zucchinis contain a rich dose of magnesium, which helps to calm nerves and restore balance in the body. One large zucchini meets as much as 14% of the daily required amount, which leads to fewer spasms, better circulation and a better functioning brain.
8. Keeps Your Brain Happy and Healthy
Each zucchini is full of a complex B-Vitamin which is known as B-6 (pyridoxine) and stimulates serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, leading to a feeling of happiness.
Zucchinis also contain iron, which stimulates oxygen flow throughout the body and helps to keep the brain alert and at full strength for longer. One zucchini meets 25% of the daily recommended amount for Vitamin B-6, helping to keep your brain fit, healthy and full of memories.
9. Plenty of Antioxidants
Our bodies are exposed to free radical damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays, pollution and chemicals in processed food, which leads to increased cellular aging and disease. Zucchinis are full of powerful antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin, lutein and carotene, which help to reduce oxidative stress in the body and rejuvenates cells back to a state of health and vitality.
Antioxidants are also excellent for the health of the skin, helping to reduce wrinkles and sagging. By eating zucchinis more often you’ll feel and look younger, inside and out.
10. Gives Eyes a Healthy Boost
Zucchinis contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two incredible phytonutrients that help to keep your eyes in their top condition. The American Optometric Association has suggested that we get at least 6 milligrams of these antioxidants per day to help to prevent macular degeneration which leads to blindness, and zucchinis meet this requirement in just 2.5 cups.
They also contain Vitamin A, which has been proven to reduce the risk of developing night blindness or poor vision in dim light. One large zucchini meets 12% of the daily requirement of Vitamin A.
How to Include Zucchini in Your Daily Routine:
Zucchini can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled or baked and is delicious with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic.
It can be chopped, blended or diced and easily added to soups, pasta and salads. In fact, the latest trend is to make zucchini pasta by using a spiralizer to create long, green strands of delicious veggie-based “pasta”. This can be topped with marinara sauce or added to salads for a healthy, crunchy treat.