Zucchini is a popular low-calorie food choice enjoyed in the United States and around the world in many different cuisines.
This nutrient-dense food has a mild flavor that blends perfectly with different foods while also offering many health benefits to those who regularly include this summer squash in their diets. It can be served in many recipes, as a snack alongside dips, baked into a delicious muffin, served as a side dish, or added as an ingredient to recipes such as zucchini fritters.
Today, I’m going to cover the top health benefits of zucchini and its value for being added to your weekly meals. Of course, not everyone enjoys zucchini squash which is also why I’ve included some delicious ways to hide this healthy low-calorie vegetable in casseroles and snacks! Don't forget to grab your zucchini on your next trip to the grocery stores!
📋 Derived from the Italian word "zucchino," zucchini is globally recognized as a courgette! In Spanish, zucchini is referred to as "calabacín."
Nutritional Benefits of Zucchini
Despite the numerous varieties of zucchini, all of them offer these 8 health benefits:
Promotes Weight Loss
Zucchini is naturally low in calories and high in water. It’s fantastic as a delicious snack instead of carb-rich alternatives. Add it to your dips instead of crackers, chips, or pretzels - perfect for low-carb diets.
The high fiber content from the zucchini skin will also help you feel fuller for longer which will curb cravings and unnecessary snacking habits. The high water content in zucchini will also curb hunger, similar to drinking a glass of water.
Good for Heart Health
The fiber in zucchini also reduces unhealthy cholesterol which can lower the risk of heart disease. If you’re interested in improving your cardiovascular health, zucchini is a food to definitely include in your meals!
High In Antioxidants
Apart from being a great source of vitamins and minerals, zucchini is also loaded with antioxidants, which reduce stress in the body, having a knock-on effect to reduce the chances of chronic diseases as well as slowing the rate of aging.
Zucchini reduces cell damage in the body and inflammation, helping you look and feel younger over time.
Supports Gut Health
Gut health can impact the entire body and be the root of many chronic diseases. The dietary fiber in zucchini promotes healthy digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, and improves the health of gut bacteria for maximum nutrient absorption by the body.
Preventing issues such as constipation will reduce the chances of developing colon cancer or other types of cancer.
Improving your gut health through good nutrition plays a big role in helping to clear or reduce irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues.
The vitamin C in zucchini improves collagen production which will improve skin health (both with elasticity and premature aging).
The antioxidants in zucchini also protect the skin from sun damage and environmental pollutants.
Great Source of Hydration
Zucchini is well known for its high water content, similar to cucumber. It’s a great choice for keeping your body hydrated, especially during those warmer months. While drinking enough water every day is very important, you can further increase your hydration by incorporating foods like zucchini that are high in natural juices.
Safe And Healthy For Dogs
Dogs will benefit in the same way from zucchini as humans. That said, this fruit should only be given to your pet in moderation. If you’ve never given your dog zucchini before, first consult your veterinarian, which is standard practice whenever introducing a new food into your dog’s diet.
Does Cooking Zucchini Reduce Its Nutritional Value?
Cooking zucchini can increase or decrease its health benefits depending on the cooking method used. Of course, raw zucchini will provide the best amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, although cooking is required in some instances.
Here’s how the different types of cooking methods can affect the healthy properties of zucchini:
- Boiling: Boiling zucchini can lower the nutrients as some vitamins and minerals may leach into the water. Opt for steaming zucchini if you want to preserve more nutrients.
- Grilling or Roasting: High heat from grilling or roasting can result in reduced zucchini nutrition. Both of these cooking methods increase flavor and texture, which can be more appealing to some, especially picky eaters!
- Sautéing or Stir-frying: These methods typically require less cooking time and can help retain more nutrients compared to boiling or grilling. Using a small amount of healthy cooking oil, such as olive oil, can also enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins found in zucchini. Spiralized zucchini or zucchini noodles are a great addition to stir-fries.
- Microwaving: Microwaving zucchini is a quick cooking method that can help retain more nutrients compared to some other methods, as it typically requires less cooking time.
Best Zucchini Recipes
- Cheesy Summer Squash Zucchini Bites
- Creamy Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Easy Zucchini And Corn Fritters
- Air Fryer Breaded Zucchini Chips With Parmesan
- Air Fryer Zucchini Skins With Buffalo Chicken Filling
- Healthy Zucchini Fritters
- Oatmeal Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Baked Parmesan Zucchini Slices With Seasoning
Zucchini, a versatile fruit, can be consumed both raw and cooked. It complements a wide range of dishes, such as soups, salads, stir-fries, and serves as a key ingredient in ratatouille.
Also known as courgette or baby marrow, zucchini offers numerous health benefits. It's rich in antioxidants and can enhance eye health, aid digestion, promote heart health, and help lower blood sugar levels.
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