Zucchini is a popular summer vegetable. It looks very humble and small with smooth, green colour skin. Zucchini has mild flavour and is best eaten cooked with skin, because it contains much of its anti -oxidant content. Owing to its large water content, it is easily digested by children and elderly.
Zucchini’s nutritional value and health benefits
It contains magnesium, potassium, fibre, flavonoid polyphenol, anti-oxidants like carotenes, lutein etc. Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Zucchini is low in calories, carbs and sugar. It does not contain any saturated fats.
As zucchini contains some key anti-oxidant compounds, they help scavenge harmful free radicals from the body. They play a role in slowing down aging and various other disease processes.
Magnesium in zucchini helps in keeping blood pressure at normal rate and the heart beat at steady rhythm. It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Potassium helps in lowering the blood pressure. Zucchini is high in heart healthy mineral potassium.
Zucchini is a good source of fibre called pectin, which is linked to improve cardiovascular health and ability to help lowering the cholesterol, reduce constipation and give protection against colon cancer. It rids the body of excess toxins. It is known to improve arterial health and reduce disease causing inflammation.
There are many nutrients in zucchini related to healthy blood sugar regulation. Zucchini contains minerals like zinc, magnesium as well as omega-3 fatty acids. All these are important in blood sugar metabolism. They might also offer protection against diabetes and insulin resistance.
The calcium content in zucchini helps the nervous system to function properly and gives strength to bones and teeth.
The combination of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients in zucchini is a very logical nutrient combination that helps provide anti-cancer benefits.
Seeds from zucchini and various other squash vegetables are known to hold many types of phytonutrients that can help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Some of these anti-oxidants include Vitamin C and Vitamin A,
Vitamin A in zucchini helps in active cell development in the eyes, which enhances vision and helps in preventing age-related medical conditions affecting the eyes such as macular degeneration.
Being good source of Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant, zucchini helps in fighting asthma and respiratory problems. It keeps the immune system healthy and protects the cells in the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Vitamin C is needed for the body to make collagen, a protein necessary to build bones, cartilage, skin, tendons and ligaments.
Anti-oxidant benefits in this vegetable are available to us under a wide variety of circumstances. Research confirms that anti-oxidant activity is retained in this vegetable after steaming and after freezing too. You can have it raw, steamed or previously frozen and avail all its anti-oxidant health benefits.
Many delicious recipes are prepared by zucchini such as pizzas, soups, a side dish, a pickle or a vegetable and many more.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna