The Health Benefits of Zucchini
Today, I want to talk about the many health benefits of zucchini and why you should be incorporating this delicious healthy food into your diet.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, eat a more balanced diet, or just try new healthy recipes, there are quite a few different benefits of zucchini that you should start taking advantage of right away.
The thing I love about zucchini is that it can be cooked in so many different ways and added to a wide variety of different recipes, so you have a lot of leeway when it comes to how you can prepare and eat it on a regular basis.
Along with helping you to better manage your weight loss, zucchini also plays an important role in the health of your eyes, provides you with natural boost of vitamin C, comes packed with large amounts of potassium, vitamin A, folate, and other beneficial vitamins, and it’s surprisingly has some anti-aging properties as well.
Zucchini, also known as a courgette depending on where you live, was originally discovered and cultivated in North America.
These days, you can find it in a few different colors including green as the most common, light green, and even yellow.
Despite actually being a fruit, zucchini is more well known as a vegetable and it can be included in a variety of either cooked or uncooked dishes depending on your flavor preferences.
Here in Canada, it’s also known as a summer squash, but it’s available all year round so you can always take advantage of the different health benefits that it offers regardless of the time of year.
Interesting to note, fully developed zucchinis turn out to be quite long, in excess of 3 feet, and the ones that we eat are actually picked very young, which keeps the flesh soft and leaves them rather small.
A lot of people find that zucchini has a very subtle taste, and attends to absorb the flavors of whatever it’s being cooked with, so it’s not overpowering or too strong of a flavor at all.
Depending on how you prepare it, it can taste like a potato with its buttery and soft flesh, or you can even whip something up like zucchini chips for a more crispy and quick healthy snack.
Just about the entire thing is completely edible, so there’s no need to peel it or throw away any part of the zucchini when you’re deciding to cook with it.
With this cheeky little introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the zucchini benefits.
The Health Benefits of Zucchini
Every zucchini has quite a large amount of potassium in it and your body is able to absorb this potassium whether you cook it or eat it raw.
Potassium is great at reducing blood pressure and this can help to keep your blood pressure at a more normalized rate so that your heart is beating at a steady rhythm.
Folate, another heart healthy vitamin, can be found in significant amounts in zucchini as well.
This vitamin helps to break down the amino acids in your system, some of which can cause strokes and heart attacks.
Along with potassium and folate, there is also quite a bit of magnesium as well, and this is yet another heart healthy vitamin that helps to keep your heart working effectively.
There is a surprisingly low amount of calories in a zucchini, so it’s a great vegetable to add to your diet if you’re hoping to lose weight.
The high fiber content helps to give you a full feeling so that you’re satisfied with what you’re eating, even when you’re eating less.
This means that instead of preparing your meals with something high in calories, you can simply switch it out for an equally-sized portion of zucchini so that you still get the same amount of food in weight but it’s not nearly as calorie-dense.
Every zucchini is about 95% water, which also helps to keep you feeling full as well as providing you with some hydration.
One of the more surprising zucchini health benefits is that it comes packed with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
These antioxidants are carotenoids and they’re well known for their anti-aging properties.
Both lutein and zeaxanthin protect your cells and your skin from damage from free radicals, and this helps to fight against premature aging.
These two antioxidants can also improve the health of your skin, giving you a more youthful look, and can also lighten it as well.
There have been studies that have shown that lutein prevents membrane damage and cell loss, and its photoprotective properties help to protect your skin from UV damage from the sun.
Improved Eye Health
Having good vision is something that’s important to most people, and zucchini offers some benefits that have a beneficial impact on your eyes and macular health.
The two antioxidants that I just mentioned, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been found to have a positive impact when it comes to preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Having a diet that consists of eating zucchini on a regular basis is something that should definitely be considered if having healthy eyes is important to you.
Also found in summer squash beta-carotene, and this is another healthy vitamin that can improve your eye health as well as protect it against infections.
Fight Against Diseases
Eating zucchini on a regular basis is going to help your body fight against diseases and make it easier for you to stay disease-free.
Because it’s so rich in fiber, as well as healthy vitamins like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folate,If your body is better equipped at alleviating cancer conditions and protecting your cells from various harmful chemicals.
These same vitamins also provide your body with anti-inflammatory benefits and this helps if you’re suffering from other health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and osteoarthritis.
There is a noticeable amount of copper that can be found in zucchini, another mineral that can help your body with swelling.
Stronger Bones and Teeth
Although it’s not one of the more popular green vegetables, eating zucchini regularly can help to strengthen your bones and teeth.
The two antioxidants that I mentioned a few times already, lutein and zeaxanthin, help to promote stronger and healthier teeth and bones and also provide a boost to the blood cells.
Vitamin K is also found in zucchini, and this is yet another vitamin that helps you to develop stronger bones overall.
Of course, you can’t overlook the magnesium content, and there is a surprising amount of magnesium in zucchinis.
If you’re not aware, most of the magnesium that’s found in our bodies is located in our bones, so having more of it in your diet continues to help with stronger bones and teeth.
The folate and beta-carotene both help to protect your bones and also have an impact on bone growth, which can continue to strengthen your bones in the long run.
Finally, there are also certain phytochemicals in zucchini such as indoles, and this compound helps your body to maintain the strength of your bones and teeth.
Rather than always tossing down some calcium pills, considering adding a lot more zucchini to your diet if you’re looking to improve the strength of your bones and teeth.
Mens Health Benefits
Unfortunately, zucchini is typically overlooked by men that are looking for healthy foods that can benefit them when it comes to prostate health.
The phytonutrients that I just mentioned along with other vitamins such as carotenoids, have a positive impact on benefiting the prostate as well as reducing the overall risk of prostate cancer in men.
Vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown to also have a positive impact on prostate cancer, with vitamin C reducing the oxidative damage to DNA that some cancers cause and also hampering the growth of prostate cancer cells along with their ability to spread into your healthy cells.
We also can’t forget about the high fiber content, with fiber having been found to bind with harmful carcinogens and eliminating them from the body.
In some cases, fiber is also able to have an impact on preventing the progression of prostate cancer, and the phytonutrients in zucchini also help to protect your healthy cells from getting damaged right away.
When it comes to fighting against prostate cancer and doing your best to live a healthy lifestyle, zucchini is something you definitely want to consider adding to your diet on a regular basis.
I’m a huge fan of anything that helps to promote collagen formation, and I’m even using collagen masks on a regular basis.
In zucchini there is plenty of vitamin B, also known as riboflavin, and many people actually have a deficiency of this vitamin.
The problem when you have a deficiency of vitamin B is that the maturation of collagen is negatively affected, so it’s a good idea to consume foods that are high in riboflavin if you want a healthier level of collagen in your body.
There is also a lot of water and moisture in zucchini, and staying hydrated as a very positive impact on the health of your skin as well as helping to give you a more youthful appearance.
Your skin, blood vessels, cartilage, and joints, all rely on the synthesis of collagen, and the high levels of vitamin C in these different types of squash really helps these synthesization process to move along more smoothly.
Vitamin C also helps to protect your body from cellular damage and along with collagen, it promotes the production of elastin, leading to healthier and better looking skin.
There are other nutrients that you can find in zucchini, such as potassium, folate, and zeaxanthin, all of which have a positive impact on the formation of collagen in your body.
With all of this in mind, not only does zucchini help with anti-aging, but the higher levels of collagen in your body are going to help keep your skin firm and more capable at fighting against wrinkles.
Improved Memory and Brain Function
By now it shouldn’t be surprising that the high folate content in zucchini provides benefits for your entire body, including the brain.
Folate is known to have a positive impact on overall brain health, and it also helps your body more effectively produce DNA and RNA, the backbone of your genetics.
Not only can increasing your folate intake improve your mental health, but it can also help to better enhance your emotional health as well, helping you to think clearly and make more level-headed decisions.
People that suffer from a deficiency in folate, which unfortunately is quite a large number of people that aren’t eating healthy vegetables on a regular basis, run the risk of suffering from general fatigue and a feeling of weakness.
These two unfortunately common ailments are caused from megaloblastic anemia, and this can be linked to the folate deficiency that I just mentioned.
Eating foods high in folate, such as zucchini and other squash, continues to show links to reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia women, so long with its men’s health improvements, folate appears to be quite a beneficial vitamin that you want to make sure you’re getting enough of.
The high water content in zucchini, along with its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin, and zinc, contribute to better brain health by keeping the brain hydrated and helping to ensure that there is an adequate amount of water in your cells.
When it’s hydrated, the brain is able to work more efficiently and this helps to keep you focused, faster on your feet when it comes to mental exercises, and I can also make you more creative.
Along with these benefits, water in your body and cells is able to help with toxin removal and staying hydrated can also deliver nutrients to your brain more efficiently.
Vegetables, like zucchini, that are high in water content and other beneficial vitamins and nutrients, play an integral role in long-term brain health and mental capabilities.
One more aspect of brain function and memory that zucchini has an impact on, is when it comes to the iron content.
Although there isn’t as much iron in zucchini as you’ll find in other foods, there is a notable amount and when it comes to a complete diet, every little bit helps.
Iron deficiencies can have a detrimental impact on the physical structure of your brain and it can also lead to neurobehavioral problems if left untreated.
Having the recommended amount of iron in your body is also important because it’s what your body uses to produce myelin, a compound that helps your brain with its natural processes, and without iron you run the risk of your brain becoming sluggish and having trouble communicating with itself.
Enhanced Hair Growth
The levels of zinc that are found in zucchini have been shown to have a beneficial impact on hair growth.
This is important if you want to have healthy hair with decent volume, and when it comes to stronger and fuller hair strands, you can thank the vitamin C content for that.
Individuals that suffer from a vitamin C deficiency will likely learn to issues with hair growth and overall hair health, so by incorporating zucchini into your diet and taking advantage of the higher levels of zinc and vitamin C, you can reverse these problems and actually improve the overall look and feel of your hair.