Zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length but is usually harvested immature at 15 to 25 cm. In the British Isles, a fully grown zucchini is referred to as a marrow.
Zucchini belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo which includes pumpkins and cucumbers. It is also known as courgette in French while the British call it vegetable marrow. The skin colour can vary from light to dark green. It is best eaten prior to the skin becoming tough and seeds growing large.
The flowers of the zucchini are also edible and used regularly in French and Italian cuisine for dressing meals or for garnishing cooked fruit, offering great taste in the process. Zucchini is extensively grown in Argentina, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, China, Japan, Italy, and India amongst other countries. Though grown all year long, the peak season is during the summer months. Zucchini cannot be stored for long periods unless frozen (you can freeze grated raw zucchini, or lightly steamed slices. Make sure to pack in air-tight containers).
Zucchini Is Awesome For The Heart: Zucchini contains good amounts of potassium that helps reduce blood pressure. It also contains moderate levels of folate that breaks down amino acids like homocysteine that cause heart attacks and strokes. The considerable amount of magnesium helps in keeping blood pressure at a normal rate and the heart beat at a steady rhythm.
Helps In Weight Loss: Zucchini has incredibly low calories that make it a much-preferred part of any weight loss diet. Substituting calorie-rich foods with a sizable portion of zucchini helps you in reducing the number of calories that are taken in. This makes it easier to burn off calories, thereby helping you lose weight. The fibre content helps in burning the fat in the body. Zucchini also keeps the body hydrated with its 95 percent water content. This gives you more energy and fewer headaches.
Improves Eye Health: The cousin vegetable, cucumber is beneficial for reducing the puffiness in the eyes. Similarly, zucchini, when used externally, helps to remove the puffy bags that develop around the eyes due to excessive water retention. The swelling around the eyes lessens due to the water-rich content. The carotenoid Beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A in the body. The presence of Vitamin A in the squash 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.
Zucchini Guards Against Asthma and Strengthens Teeth And Bones: Due to Zucchini being a good source of vitamin C, it is considered a good food for fighting asthma. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, plays a huge role in keeping the immune systems healthy and fighting respiratory problems. The anti-inflammatory properties help keep the lungs open and clear. Zucchini also contains calcium that helps the nervous system to function properly and gives strength to the bones and teeth.
Zucchini Helps Lower Cholesterol: The high-fiber content in zucchini helps in lowering cholesterol. The high levels of vitamin A and Vitamin C delay the beginning of atherosclerosis by keeping the cholesterol from oxidising the body’s blood vessels. Zucchini rids the body of excess toxins.
The benefits of zucchini are immense and not limited to just these. This versatile summer squash is also healthy for the skin giving it a glow and restoring its moisture. Recent studies indicate that zucchini assists in reducing symptoms of prostatic hypertrophy (BOH) or a condition in which there is an enlargement of the prostate gland. Complications with urination and sexual functioning can thus be checked. The anti-inflammatory properties can play a significant role in the protection against diabetes.
Begin savouring this wonder-working vegetable as a regular part of your food habits!
Water – g 94.79
Energy – kcal 17
Protein – g 1.21
Total lipid (fat) – g 0.32
Carbohydrate, by difference – g 3.11
Fibre, total dietary – g 1
Sugars, total – g 2.5
Calcium, Ca – mg 16
Iron, Fe – mg 0.37
Magnesium, Mg – mg 18
Phosphorus, P – mg 38
Potassium, K – mg 261
Sodium, Na – mg 8
Zinc, Zn – mg 0.32
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid – mg 17.9
Thiamin – mg 0.045
Riboflavin – mg 0.094
Niacin – mg 0.451
Vitamin B-6 – mg 0.163
Folate, DFE – µg 24
Vitamin B-12 – µg 0
Vitamin A, RAE – µg 10
Vitamin A, IU – IU 200
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – mg 0.12
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) – µg 0
Vitamin D – IU 0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) – µg 4.3
Fatty acids, total saturated – g 0.084
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated – g 0.011
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated – g 0.091
Fatty acids, total trans – g 0
Cholesterol – mg 0
Caffeine – mg 0
Sources: VegKitchen, USDA