Here are 7 proven health benefits of zucchini and why you should add it today.
7 Proven Health Benefits of Zucchini
1. Nutrition Powerhouse
Zucchini is a great Keto Zone food: low in carbs, rich in nutrients.
In just one cup of zucchini, you’ll get (1):
- Twenty calories (compare this to 80-120 from pasta). Four grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
- Vitamin C (potent antioxidant), beta-carotene (potent antioxidant), folate, and potassium. After riding hard, zucchini can help you replenish potassium and fend off leg cramps.
- Anti-inflammatory components: The seeds of summer squash contain omega-3s, carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin, and anti-inflammatory starches.
- A good amount of vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, and thiamine.
2. Better Digestion
Zucchini has several attributes that promote better digestion.
First, it’s hydrating. Some foods like zucchini contain water, which can soften stools and decrease constipation.
In addition, it’s a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
3. Loads of Antioxidants
Our bodies are subject to the detrimental effects of oxidative stress.
Why? Many typical, daily, biochemical reactions create free radicals (charged ions). These free radicals do damage at a cellular level.
It’s crucial that we eat foods loaded with antioxidants to neutralize them.
Zucchini contains carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. Carotenoids are specifically beneficial to your eyes, skin, and heart. They also display anti-cancer action and may provide some protection (4).
4. Better Heart Health
Zucchini may help.
Next, zucchini is rich in heart-healthy potassium, which is linked to improved blood pressure in those with hypertension (9).
Lastly, its carotenoids fight oxidative stress that can hurt the heart (10).
For those with Type 2 diabetes, zucchini may help lower blood sugar levels.
For one, it provides a great alternative to carbohydrates in many dishes, such as our Keto Zone Zucchini Noodle Italian Salad. It has only 3 grams of carbs per cooked cup!
With lower blood sugars, the body can also become more insulin sensitive. Not only does this benefit those with type 2 diabetes, but also anyone trying to lose weight.
What’s more, zucchini’s fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, preventing levels from spiking after meals. Diets rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables — including zucchini — are consistently linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes (13, 14).
What’s more, intake of non-starchy, dark green or yellow vegetables — with similar nutrition profiles to zucchini — appears particularly beneficial to weight loss (15).
6. Stronger Vision
Zucchini has a double shot for your vision: Vitamin C and beta-carotene.
These antioxidant nutrients are vital to eye health (16). Additionally, zucchini’s lutein and zeaxanthin can accumulate in the retina of the eye itself, improving vision and reducing risk of eye diseases (17).
7. Less Inflammation for Anti-Aging
In addition to antioxidants that fight signs of aging by neutralizing free radicals, zucchini’s special fibers are anti-inflammatory.
They are pectins.
Pectin fiber, can improve arterial health and reduce inflammation.
This is important for heart health, blood sugars, inflammatory diseases like arthritis and asthma, and for anti-aging.
Bonus Recipe: Frozen Zucchini Shreds
If you’re still wondering what to do with all that zucchini from your garden, grate it (skin and all), and freeze it in individual portions. Add it to smoothies for a vegetable kick and a thickener.
The best foods are those that are single-ingredient, and from the earth or animals that eat of it. It’s no wonder that these foods are overflowing of nutrients that promote health and wellness in the body. This week, use up that zucchini. It can benefit your health from your head to your toes. And, it’s delicious in our Keto Zone Zucchini Noodle Italian Salad.