Zucchini is an edible fruit that comes from the Americas. It can be eaten either raw or cooked and has numerous health benefits for the body. Though scientifically considered a fruit, some cultures around the world categorize zucchini as a squash vegetable. It is closely related to the cucumber and belongs to the subspecies of Cucurbita pepo.
When fully grown, the fruit is usually light or dark green in color though sometimes it may take a yellow shade. Unlike cucumber, zucchini is commonly cooked before serving and can either be steamed or grilled. Since the fruit is 95% water, when preparing it, add some salt first then allow excess water to drain out. Moreover, while eating it, never peel off the skin since this contains beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Check out these top 7 health benefits of Zucchini.
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Compared to other types of fruits, zucchini is very low in calories thus making it a perfect treat for those who are on a weight loss diet. Substituting fatty foods with zucchini can help curb excessive weight gain, thereby helping you maintain a healthy body. A single cup of this fruit contains 19 calories, which is around 40-50 percent lower than a similar serving of green veggies like brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Furthermore, since it’s versatile, you can use the food in various recipes ranging from pesto roll-ups to baked fries. You can also grill it with herbs to add a more savory flavor. Since zucchini contains a lot of water, it prevents dehydration and constant headaches as well.
2. Strengthens Bones and Teeth and Protects Against Asthma
Being an excellent source of Vitamin C, zucchini is a powerful remedy for fighting asthma and its related symptoms. It also plays a huge role in keeping your immune system healthy and respiratory problems controlled. Its anti-inflammatory properties help keep your lungs open and free, plus the fruit also contains high amounts of calcium which improve nervous system functionality while giving the teeth and bones maximum strength.
Additionally, zucchini has sufficient amounts of B-complex vitamins which help in balancing blood sugar levels. Also, magnesium and zinc, including omega-3 fatty acids, can all be found in the fruit.
3. Promotes Good Eyesight
Studies show that zucchini can reduce swelling in the eyes when taken in moderate quantities. Additionally, it can be applied externally to improve water retention around the eyes and remove puffy bags. The Carotenoid Beta-Carotene compound found in the fruit is converted to Vitamin A, which in turn helps with active cell development within the eyes. This enhances vision while also aiding in the prevention of age-related medical problems affecting the eyes like macular degeneration.
4. Improves Digestive Health and Bowel Movement
The high water content found in zucchini helps assimilate food particles within the stomach, hence promoting better digestion and softening stool for easy passage during waste relief. Water is also important for removing toxins from the body through sweat and perspiration. Make sure to also check out the benefits of Mint for digestion.
5. Prevents Heart Diseases
Zucchini has a decent amount of potassium which helps control blood pressure. It also contains traces of folate that assimilate certain amino acids like homocysteine thus preventing strokes and heart attacks. Furthermore, the high amounts of magnesium help maintain steady blood pressure and heart beat, which are all important for the normal function of your coronary system.
Similarly, its high-fiber content helps lower cholesterol levels, while Vitamin C and A delay the onset of atherosclerosis by preventing cholesterol from oxidizing within the blood vessels. Zucchini also rids the system of excess toxins. A single cup of this fruit contains 295 milligrams of potassium, which is about 8% of the recommended daily dose.
According to research done by the American Heart Association, this food can help control excessive blood pressure by curbing the dangerous effects of salt inside your body. Taking sufficient amounts of potassium can lower the risk of stroke, while also lessening the risk of contracting heart disease. Vitamin C also helps the blood cell lining to function better, reducing blockage and protecting against congested arteries. A cup of freshly sliced zucchini contains 20 milligrams of vitamin C or just about 33% of the recommended daily dosage.
6. Prevents Prostate Cancer
Studies show that zucchini can treat a malignant form of cancer known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH. It’s caused by enlargement of the prostate gland which becomes oddly shaped and oversized, hence affecting both urinary and reproductive functionality. For an even better outcome, you can try combining it with other types of foods that have phytonutrients. When taken regularly zucchini can be helpful in decreasing BPH symptoms.
The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of zucchini provide great anti-cancer benefits. Most cancers including prostate cancer occur when there’s poor intake of antioxidants in the body. Zucchini has a decent amount of antioxidants which can help combat cancer cells.
7. Keeps Opportunistic Diseases at Bay
Your overall body health will improve drastically by eating this fruit regularly. It will wash away cancer-causing compounds from the colon. Moreover, various ingredients found in the fruit such as folate, beta-carotene, and vitamin C can help protect your cells from harmful chemicals that could potentially cause colon cancer. These compounds have potent anti-inflammatory properties which can cure asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis which is characterized by immensely painful swellings. The traces of copper found in zucchini also help reduce the throbbing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Nevertheless, the health benefits of zucchini aren’t just limited to the above points. The nutrient-packed fruit is also good for maintaining skin glow and retaining moisture. The anti-inflammatory properties make zucchini a significant food in the protection against diabetes. If you’re planning to develop a healthy diet plan then zucchini should definitely be at the top of your list. It’s not just tasty but also packed with a variety of nutrients that help protect the body from diseases. One of the best things about this fruit is that it can be eaten either raw or cooked and can be found in most grocery stores across the country.
Did we miss any important health benefits of zucchini? If so, let us know below!