Zucchini or courgette is a summer squash that has its ancestry traced to the Americas. In terms of health benefits, it is particularly popular for its assistance in weight loss. It also helps protect the cardiovascular system, improve digestive function, and boost immunity.
Botanical name: Cucurbita pepo
Other names: Golden zucchini, Vegetable marrow, Italian squash
- Zucchini is mainly used as a vegetable. Unlike cucumber, zucchinis are mostly served in a cooked form.
- They can also be eaten raw in cold salads.
- Several cooking techniques are used in its preparation. It can be boiled, steamed, fried, baked, barbecued, or incorporated into several kinds of dishes.
- In France, zucchini is an important component of a popular dish known as Ratatouille, where numerous summer fruits and vegetable are cooked together in olive oil under low heat for a certain period of time.
- The Italians serve zucchini in different number of ways – fried, boiled, or deep fried alone, or with other ingredients.
- Egyptians enjoy eating zucchini cooked in tomato sauce with onion and garlic.
- Uncommonly, zucchinis can be baked to from a bread.
- Zucchini contains about 1.16% of proteins, an amount similar to other squashes.
- While most squashes are rich in beta-carotene, zucchini is poor in this vitamin.
- Sodium is contained in little amounts.
- It is very low in fat (contains virtually no fat).
- It provides very little amount of calories, just 17 calories per 100 gram serving.
- However, zucchini is considerably rich in vitamin C, as it provides up to 29% of the recommended daily intake in just a 100 gram serving.
Here’s a list of some impressive benefits and uses of zucchini
- Aids weight loss
- Protects the cardiovascular system
- Aids digestive health
- Boosts the immune system
The consumption of zucchini can be very beneficial for those who want lo lose weight. It provides a relatively small protein content. It also lacks fat, and provides very little amount of calories. It also has a significant content of fiber. In addition, zucchini has a lot of water in it.
All the above are good characteristic of a weight loss diet. In order to lose weight, calorie and fat intake must be regulated. A diet rich in fiber is of utmost importance. Fiber reduces the total amount of food you consume, by inducing a feeling of satiety in your stomach. This feeling of satisfaction actually makes you eat less amount of food, especially those between-the-meal snacks that are high in fat and calories.
Although zucchini is not that rich in magnesium, the little amount it provides may help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. The high vitamin C content of zucchini along with beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in our arteries. Also, its reasonable content of fiber can act to eliminate or stop the absorption of excess cholesterol into our blood stream.
Cholesterol in our arteries is bad for the cardiovascular system. It can buildup to block blood flow to vital organs such as the heart and brain, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
zucchinis have a remarkable soothing nature on the digestive tract. Its fiber content may improve peristaltic function of the gut, and promote the activities of beneficial gut flora. Adding this wonderful vegetable to your diet may help relieve your digestive troubles.
Our body is always actively engaged in the defense against many microorganisms that can harm us. At times, this defense mechanism gets weak, and might need reinforcements. Eating foods rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C can strengthen our immune system, and get it up and working like never before. Zucchini is one food that can provide you with significant doses of this vitamin.
Vitamin C acts to boost immunity by stimulating the production of white blood cells. These cells are involved in protecting our system against invading harmful microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. Vitamin C also helps fight the activities of free radicals, whose interaction with other body cells may result in tumor growth.