Zucchini is a mild-flavored food that is versatile and well-liked. Many people think of it as a vegetable, but surprisingly, it is a fruit. This fruit is in the squash family and is harvested before it is mature.
From adding it to recipes you already make to making noodles from it, you’ll find many uses for this food. Even better, the health benefits of zucchini are extreme, as it is full of essential nutrients and vitamins.
While the inside is full of nutrients, too, the skin is what holds the most benefits. With this being the case, you should always choose to leave the skin on when you are serving this squash.
Read these benefits and ways you can implement zucchini in your diet, and you’ll be all set. Adding it to your diet is easier than it sounds, and the health benefits are well worth it.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
1. Full of Nutrients
This squash is full of many essential nutrients and minerals. In just one cup, you will consume
-1 gram of protein
-1 gram of fiber
-40% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A
-16% of the daily recommended amount of Manganese
-14% of recommended Vitamin C
-13% of recommended Potassium
-10% of recommended Magnesium
-9% of recommended Vitamin K
-8% of recommended Folate
-7% of recommended Vitamin B6
Other nutrients found are iron, calcium, and zinc. It’s also important to note that when it is cooked, it has more Vitamin A. When the squash is raw, however, there is more Vitamin C present than Vitamin A.
2. Low in Fat
In one cup of this squash, there is less than one gram of fat. This can aid in weight loss or weight maintenance.
3. Supports Vision
Vitamin A can benefit your vision, which is found in high amounts in this food. Keep in mind that when it is uncooked, the amount of this essential vitamin is even higher. Other vitamins and nutrients that are found here and support vision health are Vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Additionally, the antioxidants found in this food can improve your vision. They can also prevent age-related diseases in your eyes, such as muscular degeneration. This squash contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which can prevent cataracts.
4. High in Antioxidants
This food has high amounts of antioxidants in each serving. Antioxidants are plant compounds that can protect your skin and body from damage. This benefits your eyes, skin, and heart, and they can lower your risk of certain types of cancers.
You can find yellow or green zucchini, and the number of antioxidants differs between the two. They both have high amounts, but the yellow ones contain higher values than the green.
5. Aids in Digestion
This food contains lots of water, which will soften the stool and make it easier to pass. It also contains insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to your stool. Softening stool and adding bulk lowers your chance of becoming constipated.
Adding bulk to your stool also helps food move more quickly through your gut. With the extra water and fiber, you’ll have no problem passing stool.
6. Contributes to Gut Health
This squash contains soluble fiber, which is what healthy bacteria live off of in your gut. The healthy bacteria in your gut produces short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids then nourish your gut cells, reducing your risk of developing certain diseases.
Some of the diseases that can be prevented are irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Not only can a healthy gut prevent these diseases, but it can reduce the symptoms if you already have them.
7. Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
For people who have type 2 diabetes, this is extremely important. Since this squash is low in carbs, it is also low in sugar. This can help lower your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Often, it is forgotten that carbs, including pasta, can contribute to high blood sugar levels. There are some ways you can eat it when you are on a low-carb diet that may surprise you.
You can spiralize them or just slice them up to substitute for pasta. This is delicious as a replacement for spaghetti, linguini, lasagna noodles, or fettuccini.
Furthermore, it can help lower blood sugar levels because of the amount of fiber it contains. Fiber aids in stabilizing blood sugar, which can be beneficial after meals when blood sugar tends to rise. The fiber can also help with insulin sensitivity, which further contributes to stabilizing blood sugar levels.
8. Promotes Heart Health
The high fiber content reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering the harmful cholesterol levels. Additionally, being high in Potassium, it can help reduce blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
9. Benefits Your Immune System
Vitamin A found in this fruit can benefit your immune system by maintaining your body’s defenses. It keeps the mucus barriers of your eyes, lungs, and guts healthy. This helps stop bacteria from entering your body, and it also helps fight it off if it does get inside.
10. Supports Bone Health
The lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants found in this food can help strengthen your bones. You’ll also consume plenty of vitamin K and Magnesium, which also aid in bone health. This can prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
11. Promotes Healthy Circulation
Another reason you should eat this nutrient-dense food is because of the benefits it has on your circulatory system. It ties in with heart health because healthy circulation is essential to heart health.
There are other reasons to strive for healthy circulation, though, one of which is healthy blood pressure. This outcome is due to the high fiber and potassium contents, and the low levels of fat and sodium.
12. Boosts Energy Naturally
The B-vitamins Folate, riboflavin, and B6 are known to increase energy production in your body. If you choose unnatural methods of boosting energy, you will notice a crash soon after. With this option, however, you don’t have to worry about the crash as it is all-natural.
With this boost in energy comes less fatigue, a better overall mood, and can help with brain function. You’ll be able to think more clearly and more positively while having a natural boost of energy.
13. Improves the Function of Thyroid and Adrenal Glands
There are high amounts of polyphenols, and vitamin C found in this squash. You can find an even higher content in the peels if you don’t mind eating them. These two nutrients promote better functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands.
14. Prevents Inflammation
The antioxidants found in this food, along with vitamins A and C, can help with inflammation. Other compounds consumed when eating this type of squash are glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase, both of which prevent inflammation.
Most of these compounds are found in the skin. So, if you are looking to prevent inflammation, it is recommended that you leave the skin on.
The less inflammation in your body, the better your immunity is. It can also prevent diseases that are associated with inflammation, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases. These bowel diseases could include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which can be uncomfortable and cause additional problems.
15. Reduces Morning Sickness
If you or someone you know is pregnant, this health benefit is perfect. Vitamin B6 is a natural and safe way to prevent morning sickness. This food contains high amounts of vitamin B6, making it highly beneficial to pregnant women.
How to Add More Zucchini to Your Diet
Now that you know the benefits of this squash, it’s essential to understand how to add it to your diet. It could be as simple as chopping it up and adding it to salads. There are other, more exciting ways to consume it, however.
You can add it as a side dish to any meal, as it is a versatile food that pairs well with most meals. It is also often used as an avocado replacement in dips such as guacamole. Another interesting way to add it to your diet is to shred it and add it to homemade cake or bread.
This squash can also be used to make noodles, making it a healthier option. Noodles are full of carbs, which means more sugar for your body to digest. Using this option as a replacement can make your pasta dishes significantly healthier.
You can also choose to season it in garlic and sauté it in olive oil to make it crispy. Other options are to grill or roast it. Another exciting way to use this squash is to create a veggie burger.
Final Thoughts on Enjoying the Many Health Benefits of Zucchini
With all of the health benefits of zucchini, it would be crazy not to add it to your diet. Do not ignore these benefits can’t be ignored, as they can help your entire body in some way.
While it may be intimidating to add a new food to your diet, there are many ways to make it possible. From eating it as a side with a meal to turning it into noodles, there are options for everyone.