7 Health 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 healthily, it’s time for you to learn about the health benefits of zucchini. It plays a big role in weight loss while boosting the nutrient content of your diet. Moreover, it possibly helps 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 treat 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.

In addition to being so effective and having numerous health benefits, let’s have a look at some of the major benefits that make this squash so popular.

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

7 Incredible Benefits Of Zucchini or Courgette | Organic Facts

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 May and July. Almost all the parts of this squash are edible, including the flesh, seeds, and even the skin.

Nutrition Facts

Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
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 the 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.

Carbs and Calories in Zucchini

Zucchini is very low in carbs and calories and according to the USDA, a 100 g serving of raw zucchini contains only 3.1 g of carbohydrates and 17 calories.

Health Benefits of Zucchini

The 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.

Manages Diabetes

An animal study in the Plant Foods For Human Nutrition journal states that the effects of adding zucchini peels along with glucose to the diet of the subjects with diabetes showed a reverse in negative glucose impact.

Eye Health

A study suggests that 6 mg of lutein that is present in many natural products including broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini, and squash per day, either through diet or using supplements is likely effective in reducing the risk of cataracts and AMD.

Protects the Cardiovascular System

These nutrients were found effective in the prevention of diabetes-related heart conditions and atherosclerosis.  According to a study cited in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, intake of fruits and vegetables – zucchini is one that was inversely related to LDL cholesterol. This means that for the study population, the more productive 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. 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 ideal shape for the long run. It also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus which help in boosting health. Summer squash also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein.

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.

Overall Health

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.

How to buy and store Zucchini

Buy

Take a look at the following points when you are buying this squash.

  • Select a zucchini that is no longer than six inches and is 1-2 inches in diameter.
  • Ensure the one you are buying is sleek, smooth, and firm and has bright-colored skin.
  • Zucchini with cuts and blemishes is not fresh so do not buy it.

Store

  • 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 the squash is damaged, you will notice hollow pits in the surface, which means that you should discard it.

How to Cook Zucchini

There are many interesting ways to enjoy zucchini. Let’s find out how.

  • Salads: You can dice the squash fruit and add it to your salad bowls for a refreshing boost.
  • Sandwiches: Slice some zucchini and add it to your favorite sandwiches to get an amazing crunch.
  • Sautéed Zucchini: Cut up zucchini into cubes and sauté it with olive oil or butter. Add some minced garlic, salt, and pepper to get a rich flavor.
  • Baked Zucchini: Arrange a single layer of sliced up zucchini on a baking sheet and sprinkle cheese on it. Now crank up the oven to 350° and bake for about 40 minutes till the zucchini is golden brown in color.

As you know, eating enough fruits and vegetables is important, so if you include this fruit 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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