Zucchini, sometimes known as courgette, is a common summer squash. Unlike harder winter squashes, zucchini is a tender, high-moisture gourd that's perfect for a variety of dishes.
Today you'll learn all about this vegetable, including its nutritional content and how it can enhance your overall health as well as your bone health. Then you'll get a recipe that might surprise you: a delicious pH-balanced no-bake treat without refined sugar and flour.
All About Zucchini
Zucchini's history traces back as far as 10,000 years to its first cultivation in South America. It has changed a lot over the millennia to become the versatile and tasty vegetable we know today.
Zucchini is related to squashes and pumpkins, including its close relative, the cucumber. You might find dark green, light green, or white-spotted varieties. And yellow squash, sometimes called summer squash, is quite similar.
Compared to other squashes, zucchini contains more water, which reduces its sugar and calories– giving it a lower score on the glycemic index.
Zucchini is related to squashes and pumpkins. It comes in different varieties, ranging in shades from dark green to yellow. Its high water and low sugar content give it a low score on the glycemic index.
Nutritional Breakdown Of Zucchini
Zucchini is notable for its sizable amounts of Foundation Supplements like Vitamin C, manganese, and several B vitamins. Even though it's nutrient-rich, it's low in calories and simple carbohydrates. That gives zucchini a low score on the glycemic index, as mentioned earlier. It's also a highly hydrating food.
Here are the nutritional contents of a medium sized zucchini (about 195g) including the skin:
- 33.3 milligrams Vitamin C (56 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligram Vitamin B6 (21 percent DV)
- 8.4 micrograms Vitamin A (8 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram thiamine (6 percent DV)
- 1 milligram niacin (5 percent DV)
- 56.8 micrograms folate (14 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram riboflavin (16 percent DV)
- 33.3 milligrams magnesium (8 percent DV)
- 74.5 milligrams phosphorus (7 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram manganese (17 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram copper (5 percent DV)
- 514 milligrams potassium (15 percent DV)
- 2.2 grams fiber
- 2.4 grams protein
- 6.6 grams carbohydrates
- 0.4 gram fat
- 31.4 calories
The nutritional profile of zucchini is notable for its high levels of Vitamin C (56% of daily value), Vitamin B6 (21% of DV), and manganese (17% of DV), as well as for its low levels of calories and carbohydrates.
Health Benefits Of Zucchini
Zucchini offers a variety of health benefits, thanks to its array of nutrients and antioxidants. Many of those important compounds are contained in the skin. So if you want to take advantage of these benefits, don't peel your zucchini.
- Improves digestion – Zucchini offers a powerful combination of hydration, electrolytes, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Its high fiber content makes zucchini great for helping regulate the digestive system.1
- Protects vision and eye health – Zucchini contains a suite of eye-protective compounds including Vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They help prevent macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts by offering protection from UV light and oxidative damage.2
- Prevents oxidative stress – The antioxidant power that allows zucchini to protect your vision also protects cells throughout your body. This vegetable contains the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, alpha and beta-carotene, and Vitamins A and C.3
- Good for thyroid and adrenal function – Studies have found that the antioxidant polyphenols and Vitamin C in zucchini skin are beneficial for the thyroid and adrenal glands.4
- Protects and improves heart health – Zucchini contains a polysaccharide called pectin that has been shown to improve cardiovascular health. Pectin helps to balance your cholesterol and protect your heart. It is also found in pears and apples, and it improves the health of your arteries while reducing inflammation.5
Zucchini's nutritional profile benefits the digestive system, protects vision and eye health, prevents oxidative damage, supports thyroid and adrenal function, and protects and improves heart health.
Zucchini And Bone Health
Several of zucchini's health benefits also help build and protect your bones. That's no surprise considering how many of the nutrients listed above are Foundation Supplements. Here are the primary bone-health benefits of zucchini:
- Zucchini prevents falls by protecting eyesight. Studies have found that reduced vision raises the risk of fractures.6
- Zucchini reduces bone-damaging stress by providing Vitamin B6, which helps improve mood and reduce anxiety. Studies have linked high levels of the stress hormone cortisol to the loss of bone mineral density.7
- Zucchini protects the bone remodeling process from oxidative damage. It contains many powerful antioxidants, including the enzyme superoxide dismutase that supports bone health.
- Zucchini's anti-inflammatory properties help prevent bone loss. Inflammation is a known factor that increases bone loss. The anti-inflammatory properties that make zucchini good for digestion also benefits bone mass retention.8
- Zucchini is a great source of Vitamin C, which is essential for the creation of collagen. Collagen is one of the building blocks of bone.
- Zucchini's support of healthy digestion allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to build resilient and flexible bones.
Zucchini provides many bone health benefits. It prevents falls by protecting eyesight, reduces bone-damaging stress, protects against oxidative damage, reduces bone-harming inflammation, contributes to collagen production, and supports the digestive system's ability to absorb bone-building nutrients.
A Recipe Featuring Zucchini
When you think of a zucchini-based dish you picture a pasta dish, or perhaps a piping-hot casserole. This recipe will change your idea of zucchini forever! Grab your grater and get ready to make a tasty treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth without harming your bones.
Sweet Secret Bites
Servings: 10-12 bites
- 1/2 of a zucchini, grated
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 6 pitted Medjool dates
- 3/4 cup cashews, previously soaked
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- Cinnamon or nutmeg to taste
- Grate the zucchini and use paper towels to absorb excess liquid.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender, until evenly combined. Place mixture on a flat pan and roll using your hands into 10-12 equal-sized bites.
- Refrigerate until the dough sets, and store in the refrigerator.
What This Means To You
Zucchini is an excellent addition to the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Most grocery stores carry this vegetable year-round.
In addition to the fun recipe above, zucchini is a classic ingredient in a variety of savory dishes, including many Italian favorites. You can find more ways to use this vegetable in the recipes of the Save Institute's cookbook Bone Appétit. Bone Appétit contains more than 200 pH-balanced and alkalizing recipes, and a meal planner that will help you use them.
As spring settles in, you couldn't pick a better food to add to your ingredient list. Enjoy hydrating, bone-building zucchinis all season long.
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