7 Proven Health Benefits of Zucchini Plus Keto Zone Italian Salad

Did you know there are amazing proven health benefits of zucchini?

There are. We’re talking heart health, anti-aging, eye health, and more.

Best of all, if you’re a gardener, you likely have more zucchini than you know what to do with this time of year.

Today, let’s get creative with zucchini and make a delicious Keto Zone Zucchini Noodle Italian Salad.  It’s delicious, easy, and great for you!

Keto Zone Zucchini Noodle Italian Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup halved medium black olives, optional
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • 1/2 cup thick sliced salami, sliced into semi-circles, optional

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Slice zucchinis in half (long-ways), and spiralize them with a vegetable spiralizer, or cut them into long matchsticks.
  2. Place all salad ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Mix dressing. Then, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (even better if left for 3-4 hours) to let the dressing soften the zucchini. Enjoy! Serves 4.

Nutrition Info per serving: 200 calories, 17 grams fat, 4 grams net carbs (5 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber), 6 grams protein

Why Eat Zucchini?

Zucchini is a low-carb summer squash that also goes by the name courgette. Like many other pseudo-vegetables, zucchini is officially a fruit. But don’t worry, it’s still low carb and Keto Zone approved.

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.

Insoluble fiber adds soft bulk to stools, promoting healthy digestion. Insoluble fiber feeds healthy bacteria, keeping your gut and body healthy (2, 3).

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).

Of note, most of the carotenoids in zucchini, and other fruits and vegetables are located in the skin. So, don’t peel it, but eat them skin-on for the most benefit (56).

4. Better Heart Health

Heart disease remains the number 1 killer in our country. We could all use a boost in heart health.

Zucchini may help.

First, it’s high in fiber which contributes to optimal cholesterol levels. In fact, its fiber is largely pectin, and this type of fiber specifically improves cholesterol in studies (78).

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!

In addition, it’s high fiber promotes better blood sugars (1112).

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 the 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.

Bottom Line

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.

 

2 Comments

  1. sounds good but wrong time of year for australia will have to wait till spring and then i grow am italian zucchini called tromboncino

    • admin says:

      Hi Myrtle, Yes, wrong time for sure! Bookmark it and get ready for your tromboncino in spring! Thanks for reading.

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