6 health benefits of zucchini for a nutrient-rich diet

You can make zucchini a regular part of your diet. After all, the health benefits of zucchini cannot be ignored.

Zucchini, also known as summer squash, comes from the pumpkin family. It is characterized by its mild taste and soft texture. Zucchini can be green or yellow, and is often used to prepare a variety of dishes. With its nutritional profile of vitamin C, manganese, and potassium, it has many health-promoting properties. Zucchini can help with weight loss and heart and eye health. Read more about the nutritional and health benefits of zucchini.

What are the benefits of eating zucchini?

Zucchini is rich in important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and folate. These nutrients play a crucial role in immune function, eyesight, heart health and cell division, says nutritionist Sannya A Arora.

Here are some of its primary health benefits:

1. Weight management

Zucchini is low in calories, making it a great option for those looking to maintain or lose weight. It provides bulk without adding extra calories.

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Zucchini can help with weight control. Photo: Adobe Stock

2. Keeps you hydrated

Zucchini has a high water content, which helps keep you hydrated. This can be especially helpful for those who struggle to drink enough water.

3. Promotes digestive tract health

Zucchini is a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes digestion. Fiber can help prevent constipation, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote feelings of fullness, which can help with weight management.

4. Antioxidant properties

Zucchini contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, which help protect the body and cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases, an expert says.

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5. Heart health

The potassium content of zucchini is good for the heart. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by balancing the effects of sodium and supporting proper muscle and nerve function.

6. Eye health

The presence of vitamin A and lutein in zucchini promotes eye health. These compounds are essential for maintaining good vision and may help protect against age-related macular degeneration.

How to eat zucchini?

Zucchini is a popular and nutritious vegetable that adds a mild, versatile element to many dishes. Whether you’re looking to increase your vegetable intake or explore creative ways to cook, zucchini is a great option. The best way to eat zucchini depends on personal preference and what type of food you want.

A woman cooks food
You can enjoy zucchini in different ways. Photo: Freepik

Can you eat zucchini every day?

Including a variety of vegetables in your daily meals is a healthy eating practice, and zucchini can be a nutritious addition, an expert says. However, it is important to maintain a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and other essential nutrients in order to get a wide range of nutrients. Here are some tips to include zucchini in your daily diet:

1. Include in meals

Add zucchini to potatoes, pasta dishes, pans or soups. Its mild flavor allows it to complement a wide variety of recipes.

2. Snacks

Enjoy zucchini as a snack by slicing it into thin strips and dipping it in hummus.

3. Grilling or roasting

Grill or roast zucchini as a side dish or as part of a vegetable mix. This cooking method enhances its natural flavors.

4. Zucchini noodles

Use zucchini noodles (zoodles) as a substitute for traditional pasta.

5. Salads

Add raw or lightly cooked zucchini to salads, which adds crunch and freshness.

What are the side effects of eating too much zucchini?

Zucchini is generally a safe and healthy vegetable to consume, and most people can enjoy it without any ill effects. However, as with any food, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Allergies

Some people may be allergic to certain vegetables, including zucchini. If you have symptoms such as itching, swelling or breathing problems after consuming zucchini, you should seek medical attention.

2. Oxalates

Zucchini, like many vegetables, contains oxalates. In some individuals, excessive intake of oxalates can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. If you are prone to kidney stones, it is recommended to limit your intake of foods high in oxalate, even though zucchini is not among the most oxalate vegetables.

3. Indigestion

Eating large amounts of zucchini, especially raw, can cause digestive problems for some people. This is because zucchini contains fiber, and consuming too much fiber in a short period of time can lead to bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

4. Pesticides and pollutants

If you don’t buy organic squash, it’s a good idea to wash and/or peel the skin, as conventionally grown zucchini may contain pesticide residues. Washing vegetables thoroughly can help reduce the risk of ingesting contaminants.

Although zucchini is a healthy vegetable, it is important to maintain a balance in your diet and not rely too much on any one food.

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