Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a summer squash in the Cucurbitaceae plant family, alongside melons, spaghetti squash, and cucumbers. Although zucchini is often considered a vegetable, it is botanically classified as a fruit. It occurs in several varieties, which range in colour from deep yellow to dark green.
Zucchini has been used in folk medicine to treat colds, aches, and various health conditions, however, not all of its uses are backed by science.
Rich in Many Nutrients
Zucchini is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds. Raw zucchini offers a similar nutrition profile as cooked zucchini, but with less vitamin A and more vitamin C, a nutrient which tends to be reduced by cooking.
High in Antioxidants
Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants; beneficial plant compounds that help protect your body from damage by free radicals.
Carotenoids — such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene — are particularly plentiful in zucchini. These may benefit your eyes, skin, and heart, as well as offer some protection against certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.
Contributes to Healthy Digestion
Zucchini may promote healthy digestion in several ways.
For starters, it’s rich in water, which can soften stools. This makes them easier to pass and reduces your chances of constipation. Zucchini also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Zucchini may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
At 3 grams of carbs per cooked cup (232 grams), zucchini provides a great low-carb alternative to pasta for those looking to reduce carb intake.
Low-carb diets can significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels, both of which may keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce the need for medication in people with type 2 diabetes.
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.
The fiber found in zucchini may also help increase insulin sensitivity, which can help stabilize blood sugar.
May Improve Heart Health
Zucchini may also contribute to heart health. Its high fiber content may be largely responsible. Observational studies show that people who eat more fiber have a lower risk of heart.
Pectin, one type of soluble fiber found in zucchini, appears particularly effective at reducing total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Zucchini is also rich in potassium, which may help reduce high blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels. Healthier blood pressure is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Moreover, diets rich in carotenoids — likewise found in zucchini — appear particularly protective against heart disease.
May Strengthen Your Vision
Adding zucchini to your diet may aid your vision.
That’s partly because zucchini is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene — two nutrients important for.
Zucchini also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Research shows that these antioxidants can accumulate in your retina, improving your vision and reducing your risk of age-related eye.
May Aid Weight Loss
Regular consumption of zucchini may help you lose weight, as it is rich in water and has a low calorie density – helping you feel full. Its fiber content may also reduce hunger and keep your appetite at bay.