Discover What Zucchini Can Do For Your Bones (Plus A Surprising Treat Recipe) - Save Our Bones

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.

Synopsis

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:

Synopsis

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

Synopsis

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.

Synopsis

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
pH-Balanced
Servings: 10-12 bites

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Grate the zucchini and use paper towels to absorb excess liquid.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!

Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!

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References

1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24548256/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5611842/

3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16909447/

4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19276533/

5 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22190137/

6 https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2266011

7 https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/84/9/3058/2864214

8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22392817

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38 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Lucinda

    Zucchini can also be used as a dairy-free milk substitute in baking. Peel (or not), cut into chunks, drop into blender with small bit of water to get the process started, process till liquified. Freezes beautifully–I use 2-cup containers, appropriate for many baking recipes with small amount possibly leftover. Or pour into storage bag, seal carefully, and lay flat to freeze, then stack vertically on a freezer shelf to optimize storage space.

  2. Diana Jonen

    How much is 1/2 of a zucchini? They come in a range of sizes.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Diana, for this recipe, we suggest using half of a medium-sized zucchini, which measures about 7 to 8 inches long and approximately 2 inches in diameter, weighing around 5 ounces.

      • Maria Psirakis

        After my 2nd breast cancer treatment in 2018, I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis. I was given medication in a tablet format once weekly. Due to side effects, my doctor prescribed Prolia injection. I’ve had 2 or3 thus far and I am now due for another. I have decided not to go ahead with any more meds.
        Question is that doctors insist that I cannot stop the Prolia injections once I have started cause it will cause drastic bone loss.
        Do you agree? I don’t want to continue due to side effects.
        Please advise
        Thank you
        Kind Regards
        Maria Psirakis

        • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

          Maria, in an article we recently published, we wrote that:

          “Prolia (denosumab) works by inhibiting RANKL, the signalizing system that regulates osteoclasts. Researchers suggest that osteomorphs build up during treatment with Prolia, and when treatment ends, the return of RANKL triggers a rush of new osteoclasts that weaken bone, leading to an increased risk of fracture. This knowledge, ironically, will likely be used to develop new osteoporosis drugs.”

          You can read the entire article here, and it will hopefully help you with your bone health choices:

          https://saveourbones.com/scientists-discover-why-stopping-prolia-increases-risk-of-fracture/

  3. therese miller

    thankyou we love zucchini and we eat it quite often ,I stir fried it with Italian herbs nothing else and we love it .thanks for the info ..

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Therese!

      • Miriam

        Thank you very much regarding zucchinis. I love them. Your information
        regarding zucchinis is very useful .
        Regards Miriam

  4. Carmel Clarke

    Thank you for courgette recipe and information
    Can the coconut flour, medjool dates and almond butter be replaced with other ingredients
    Carmel

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It’s my pleasure, Carmel!
      To answer your question, you can replace the coconut flour with almond or buckwheat flour and use peanut or cashew butter instead of almond butter. The dates are what give this treat its sweet flavor, so I suggest using dried figs instead, and if needed, add a little stevia powder.

      • Carmel

        Thank you Vivian, I forward to making it
        Carmel

  5. Gene

    Would prefer print d material

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      We understand that some Savers might prefer printed material, and for that reason, we offer simple ways to do that. There’s an option to print underneath the references of our articles. Let us know if you need further assistance with this by contacting us directly at support@saveinstitute.com.
      We’re happy to help you!
      Customer Support

  6. Carolyn A Schaeffer

    What do you do when you do not eat cashews.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Carolyn, you can replace the cashews with soaked unsalted almonds.

      • Carolyn A Schaeffer

        You have many recipes that use cashews, so now I know what to use instead.
        Thank you,
        Carolyn

  7. June from down under

    Are the oats in the zucchini recipe raw or toasted or cooked? This sounds delicious and no cooking, can’t believe it. Thanks so much makes life interesting to know you can eat healthy and enjoy a little sweet now and then.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      June, the oats are raw. And I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy many of the other no-bake treats we have at saveourbones.com.

      I shared this link below, but I’ll repost it here for your convenience:

      https://saveourbones.com/?s=no-bake

      Enjoy!

  8. Sue Beer

    I knew zucchini was good for you. I am going to have fun this growing season. My son brought home all the tomato plants he started from seed this winter. We have a big garden with string beans, cukes, carrots, rutabagas, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini. Not to mention our own hops for beer!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s great, Sue! I had a vegetable garden for a few years and also enjoyed it a lot. Home-grown produce is delicious 🙂

  9. Tish Glenn

    Do you recommend Colagen for bone health? I want to try a powdered form. Thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Tish, at the Save Institute we don’t recommend taking collagen supplements. You can read about collagen and the science-backed reasons why you should instead include in your diet a variety of healthy protein sources to ensure you get the amino acids your body needs to synthesize collagen and other proteins, as well as the supplemental micronutrients here:

      https://saveourbones.com/do-collagen-supplements-live-up-to-the-hype/:

  10. Barb

    When you say “roll” it with you hands, do you mean just spread it out in a flat layer and then cut it into those equal-size bite size pieces? Also, would a cookie sheet work for spreading out the dough?
    Thanks. Barb

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Barb, the “bites” mentioned in the recipe are little balls that you roll using both hands. But you can certainly flatten the mixture on a cookie sheet and cut it in any shape you like, like bars or little squares. If you do that, you can add fresh fruit toppings, such as berries or banana slices. Enjoy!

  11. Monica Sukowski

    Hi Viv !….Thanks for the zucchini info. I’m thinking of adding it to my morning anti-osteoporosis shake. Any comments are welcome. Thanks so much-Monica

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Monica. And it’s a good idea to try adding some zucchini to your smoothie. Also bear in mind that it’s easy to add zucchini to your meals as a side-dish with just about anything. Let us know if you liked the smoothie 🙂

  12. Nancy Cavens

    Hi Vivian! Will you please provide an approximate quantity of grated zucchini? They vary in size considerably.
    Thank you!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Nancy, one medium-sized zucchini measuring about 8″ long and 2″ in diameter would yield about one cup when grated.

      • Nancy Cavens

        Thank you! Sounds like this recipe calls for about 1/2 c grated zucchini then.

        • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

          Yes, that’s correct 🙂

          • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

            Eirlys, 1/2 means half a cup 🙂

          • Eirlys Neale

            Hello Vivian
            Looking forward to these but does 1/2 mean one to two or is it mean one or two? Is that a cup measurement?
            Thank you for what you do
            Eirlys

  13. Pearl

    Vivian, I love chocolate, so I wonder if I could add cocoa to this recipe. Thanks for the intersting information!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sounds like a yummy idea, Pearl. You can use some cacao and not add the cinnamon or nutmeg. Let us know how it turns out 🙂

  14. Corinne

    Great article Vivian. I can’t wait to try the recipe. Thank you!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Corinne!

  15. Pat mindling

    Don’t you bake the zucchini bites

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