Zucchini possesses an impressive nutritional content – it boasts high levels of potassium, B-vitamins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, which all offer immense benefits to health. It can even potentially help regulate blood sugar levels, which can greatly benefit diabetics.
Zucchini is a summer squash which can grow upto nearly a meter in length. It may be dark or light green in colour and its hybrid, the golden zucchini has a yellow-orange colour. Botanically zucchinis are fruits but are treated as vegetables and used in savoury dishes. The zucchini flower may also be used while cooking. It has a smooth skin with crunchy flesh containing high amounts of moisture.
Zucchini has an extremely low-calorie content, only 17 calories per 100gm. It is an excellent source of potassium and has a high antioxidant value. It is rich in vitamin A. Zucchini contains moderate levels of thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
It is a low-starch vegetable which means it is high in fibre. It fills up a person quickly and thus discourages overeating.
Zucchini helps in preventing hypertension as it is low in sodium, fat and cholestrol. It also contains folate which helps in reducing heart diseases. Riboflavin deficiency is linked to birth defects in pregnant women especially in relation to the infant's heart. Zucchini contains riboflavin.
It is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that have been found to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Zucchini is also a good source of vitamin A that has shown to improve eye health. It is important for eye development and maintenance as well.
Zucchini is one of the foods which is free from cholestrol. It contains soluble fibre which interfers with cholestrol absorption.
Along with vitamin C, zucchini also contains copper which is very effective in curing asthama. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well which contribute towrads curing asthama.
Zucchini also aids in healthy digestion. The dietary fibre in zucchini adds bulk to the diet and helps in improving digestion.
Zucchini is a good source of antioxidants which have powerful anti-aging properties. It also lightens the skin and improves health.
Zucchini is rich in manganese, a mineral that promotes the optimal functioning of the thyroid gland.
Zucchini is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C. Both of these nutrients have been found to be positively associated with prostate cancer. Vitamin C reduces oxidative DNA damage and hampers the growth and ability of prostate cancer cells.
It is a highly versatile food that can suit many recipes. Mix it into soups, salads, or frittatas, serve it as a side dish with meat dishes, or make “zucchini fries,” served with an onion dip as an appetizer. Zucchini “noodles” can be made using a vegetable peeler.
Zucchini might cause digestive issues in people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Bitter zucchini might also cause stomach cramps or diarrhea. Zucchini might cause allergies in individuals like nausea and pruritus (severe skin itching).
Since zucchini is a very good source of beta-carotene large doses of it might be inadvisable for pregnant and lactating women, people who smoke and individuals who have undergone angioplasty.
Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. However, the varieties of squash typically called 'zucchini' were developed in northern Italy in the second half of the 19th century, many generations after the introduction of cucurbits from the Americas in the early 16th century.