5 Amazing Zucchini Benefits

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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If you are looking for a way to lose weight in a healthy way, it’s time for you to learn about the health benefits of zucchini. Zucchini is well-known to reduce weight while boosting the nutrient content of your diet. Moreover, it can help enhance vision and prevent all the diseases that occur as a result of vitamin C deficiency like scurvy, sclerosis, and easy bruising.

Zucchini may help to cure asthma – one of its many benefits – and has a high content of vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. It contains a significant amount of potassium, folate, and vitamin A, all of which are important for good health. When eaten regularly, it can effectively lower your homocysteine levels.

What is Zucchini?

Also called courgette, zucchini is a squash that has its origin in America and is available in colors including yellow, light green, and green. The shape of this small summer squash resembles that of a ridged cucumber and features numerous seeds inside. Some cultivators also produce zucchini in rounded or bottle shapes.

Today, the largest producers of this squash include Japan, China, Romania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, and Argentina. It is grown year-round and can be eaten raw, sliced or cooked. It can also be shredded in a cold or hot salad.

Watch Video: 7 Incredible Benefits Of Zucchini

Even though zucchini is a fruit, it is commonly cooked as a vegetable (and considered as one in the culinary world) as it is best when eaten in cooked dishes. It is picked when it’s below 8 inches (20cm) in length and the seeds are soft and young. A fully developed zucchini is usually three feet long and contains excess fiber.

Young zucchini has a subtle taste, soft covering, and buttery white flesh. It is available in its best form during the months of May and July. Almost all the parts of this squash are edible, including the flesh, seeds, and even the skin. A single cup of zucchini has about 33 calories and zero grams of fat.

Nutrition Facts

Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]94.79
Energy [kcal]17
Protein [g]1.21
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.32
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.11
Fiber, 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]0.05
Riboflavin [mg]0.09
Niacin [mg]0.45
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.16
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]0.08
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Zucchini Nutrition

According to USDA National Nutrient Database, zucchini is rich in minerals and vitamins that include potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, fiber, vitamin C, and riboflavin. It also contains vitamin B6, A, E, and K, sodium, zinc, and iron. It has a high water content – 94 percent –  and it is also a great source of energy.

Health Benefits of Zucchini

Health benefits of zucchini include the following.

Weight Loss

You might be surprised to know that consuming zucchini will help you lose weight considerably. It is extremely low in calories, but it gives you the feeling of being full. Therefore, it is a great way to satisfy your appetite without excessing calories or starting a crash diet plan.

Apart from the low-calorie count, zucchini has high water content and are rich in fiber. Hence, when you eat it, your stomach is not empty, another reason zucchini recipes are perfect if you are on a weight loss diet.

Protects the Cardiovascular System

The food ranking systems in zucchini-rich countries have declared that this squash has abundant levels of manganese and vitamin C, both of which help to keep the heart strong.

These nutrients were found effective in the prevention of diabetic heart disease and atherosclerosis. The magnesium content notably reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In combination with potassium, magnesium also helps in reducing high blood pressure.

According to a study cited in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, intake of fruits and vegetables – zucchini is one! It was inversely related to LDL cholesterol. This means that for the study population, the more produce they consumed, the lower their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. beta-carotene and vitamin C found in summer squash are two of the components that help in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol can build up on blood vessel walls, but these nutrients assist in reducing the development of atherosclerosis. The vitamin folate, also in summer squash, is required by the body to eliminate an unsafe metabolic by-product called homocysteine. If levels of homocysteine rise too high, it can result in heart attack and stroke.

Its fiber content lowers high cholesterol levels as well, thereby helping to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart diseases due to diabetes.

Maintains Optimal Health

It’s already been mentioned that zucchini is an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C; however, it is also a great source of dietary fiber that will keep your body in tip-top shape for the long run. It also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus that help in boosting health. Summer squash also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein.

Moreover, the B-vitamins like vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, and calcium in zucchini assure optimal health. Zucchini is considered one of the best types of squash, containing an array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber, minerals, amino acids, and more. The folate present in this squash is highly recommended for increased needs in pregnant women as well.

Whole and sliced fresh dark green zucchini with yellow flowers on a wooden table

Promotes Men’s Health

This fruit has certain properties that may effectively treat an ailment in men called BPH or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. BPH is a condition where the prostate gland becomes enlarged in an odd shape and size, which then can cause trouble with both sexual and urinary function.

Zucchini is said to be extremely useful in decreasing BPH symptoms, especially in combination with other nutrients that contain phytonutrients.

Prevents Diseases

Your overall health will surely improve if you consume zucchini regularly. It has been known to help prevent all kinds of diseases. Studies have already shown that fiber-rich foods help alleviate cancer conditions by washing away cancer-causing toxins from cells in the colon. Vitamin C, folate, and beta-carotene in zucchini help to protect these cells from the harmful chemicals that can lead to colon cancer. Furthermore, a study published in the journal Nutrients says that the presence of the compounds lutein, β-carotene, zeaxanthin, and dehydroascorbic acid, help in anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities toward tumor cells.

Beta-carotene and vitamin C also have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby naturally alleviating ailments like osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, where swelling can become immensely painful. The amount of copper present in zucchini can also aid in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Health benefits of zucchini - infographic

How to buy zucchini?

  • When you buy zucchini, ensure that it is young and sweet in taste.
  • The zucchini squash that has flowers attached are fresh and juicy.
  • Ensure the one you are buying is sleek, smooth, and firm and has bright-colored skin.
  • It is always advisable to store zucchini in perforated plastic bags inside of a refrigerator drawer.
  • Try not to keep this fruit stored for more than 3 days, since it can get damaged in overly cold temperatures. If damaged, you will notice hollow pits in the skin surface of the fruit.

How to cook?

Ninety-five percent of zucchini is water, so when it’s cooked, the water will ooze out. Therefore, you need to salt the zucchinis first and then allow the excess water to get drained out before the preparation is done.

  • While you are eating this fruit, do not remove the skin because it comprises the important nutrient beta-carotene.
  • The edible flowers of zucchini are often used in French and Italian cooking.
  • One of the easiest ways of having zucchini is by sprinkling grated zucchini or other varieties of summer squash on top of salads and sandwiches.
  • Add it to your favorite bread recipe; thereby reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe, since the zucchini is compensating for moisture in a different way.

As you know, eating enough fruits and vegetables is important, so if you include zucchini in your diet, you are keeping your body healthy and well-hydrated in the long run. It is undoubtedly one of the most healthy food choices which are easy to consume in delicious forms.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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