Ten thousand years ago, zucchini is believed to be cultivated. The southern part of America originally grow the vegetable and they harvested the benefit from its seeds. The wild kind of zucchini has a bitter taste and it does not have much flesh.
Today, the zucchini we know is also called courgette and the supermarkets are selling a sweeter variety.
But, then or now, the vegetable does not lose its healthful benefits. It offers plenty a lot to be consumed.
What is Zucchini?
Zucchini is related to pumpkins and squashes – it belongs to Cucurbita pepo species. However, zucchini is actually a fruit.
Different kinds of squash, including the relatives of zucchini squash such as cucumbers, melon, and spaghetti squash, belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae plant. The mentioned vegetables are short plants grows above ground. They have also similarities in terms of seed size.
Zucchini have varieties of color. It can come white spotted, light-green, or dark green. If you know the hybrid yellow squash (also known as summer squash), the green type zucchini is actually related to it.
The development of modern zucchini is actually by the help of Italians. After the fruit was cultivated in South America, it was then brought to Central and North America. Then, Christopher Columbus brings the fruit back to Europe.
Other facts: Since zucchini is a type of squash, it has similarities with other winter squashes like acorn squash and butternut squash. What makes zucchini different is its higher water content, which makes its sugar, starch, and calories properties low.
Where to Find Zucchini?
Zucchini is called in a variety of name. It may be referred to as summer squash, crookneck, or pattypan.
A ripe zucchini is as big as a baseball bat, though buyers usually picked the immature one.
You may find it in grocery stores or even in farmers markets. It is present all year-round, but it is most popular during the summer season.
Which is Healthier Raw or Cooked?
If you wonder which is healthier, researchers suggest that a raw squash has much more antioxidant than steamed. However, compared to deep frying or microwaving, steaming can preserve phytochemicals.
Zucchini provides a good deal of nutrients, but compared to other vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and kale, it is not as quite packed with vitamins and minerals. But to give you some background of its content, check the following nutritional value of zucchini:
- Vitamin A – 392 international units
- Vitamin B6 – 0.4 milligram
- Vitamin C – 33.3 milligrams
- Vitamin K – 8.4 micrograms
- Calories – 31.4
- Carbohydrates – 6.6 grams
- Copper – 0.1 milligram
- Fat – 0.4
- Fiber – 2.2 grams
- Folate – 56.8 micrograms
- Magnesium – 33.3 milligrams
- Manganese – 0.3 milligram
- Niacin – 1 milligram
- Phosphorus – 74.5 milligrams
- Potassium – 514 milligrams
- Protein – 2.4
- Riboflavin – 0.3 milligram
- Thiamine – 0.1 milligram
Additionally, zucchini has vitamin E, calcium, choline, iron, pantothenic acid, selenium, and zinc.
The fruit is a top favorite of low-carb eaters. Thus, anyone who wants to lose weight includes zucchini in their diet. But aside from being a food buddy in losing weight, zucchini has other nutritional benefits.
A Disease Prevention Agent
Being high with vitamin C and other antioxidants, zucchini can help you prevent from catching any disease-causing virus or bacteria.
Summer squash is also a vegetable that has antioxidant property. Its carotenoid antioxidant properties are the alpha-carotene and the beta carotene. Like summer squash, zucchini has antioxidant properties, however, most of it is held within its skin. Thus, to fully get the vegetable’s antioxidant property, you might not want to peel off the skin.
Zucchini is also filled with vitamin C. In fact, one medium-sized zucchini can supply you with 50% of vitamin C that your body needs. Vitamin C strengthen your immune system by lowering your blood pressure, protecting your body against inflammation as well as clogged arteries, and it maintains the delicate coating of your blood cells.
A Heart-Friendly Vegetable
Different types of squash are made of carbohydrates and water – the one that is called polysaccharides. Summer squash has a very beneficial polysaccharide in the form of a fiber called pectin. Pectin is associated with improving the health of the cardiovascular system as well as lowering the cholesterol.
Pectin is also present in the fruit such as pears and apples and promotes arterial health. Diseases that causing inflammation are also reduced by pectin, thus, diseases such as diabetes and insulin resistance can be prevented through the supplication of pectin.
Zucchini is well-known for its support in losing weight, and most of us know that heart diseases and obesity are often linked. Thus, zucchini may also contribute to keeping your heart healthy.
Digestive System May Improved
The digestive system can benefit a lot from zucchini. Doctors usually recommend zucchini for a digestive disorder as it is packed with essential nutrients including electrolytes. Additionally, it keeps your body hydrated. Researchers also believed that the fruit has anti-inflammatory protection. Thus, it protects the gastrointestinal tract against the symptoms of an ulcer, IBS, and leaky gut syndrome.
The digestive system also welcomes zucchini with no hindrance. Since it is largely water, it can be digested easily. If you are constipated or have diarrhea, the fruit may also help you. Thanks to the fiber content that it can offer.
To benefit from its digestive-friendly nutrients, it is suggested that you eat the fruit whole. Meaning, you may want to include the seed and skin when eating.
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Summer squashes possess a variety of nutrients related to eye health. This includes vitamin C, zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene, and manganese.
Zucchini’s lutein and zeaxanthin components are well-known for its protective benefits against age-related diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. What these nutrients do is protect the vital parts of the eyes such as macula, retina, and cornea against the harmful UV light as well as oxidative stress. The mentioned eye enemies can cause eye damage leading to blindness.
But aside from being eye protection, the nutrients also keep the skin healthy, making it free from any sign of aging and young-looking.