Summertime brings us loads of fruits and vegetables, including zucchini. They are a member of the summer squash family, which essentially means they are harvested prior to their rinds harden (unlike a pumpkin). They are super versatile and can be included in so many dishes. And given their nutritional benefits, you should add them wherever you can.
Zucchini are very low in calories...like surprisingly low. One cup of chopped zucchini is only 20 calories. They are great to eat on their own, especially grilled with herbs. They have a very light flavor so you can use them in almost any meal and it won’t overpower the main ingredient. But it will add a good amount of nutrients. You can even eat the golden yellow zucchini blossoms. They’re not typically available at the grocery store but you can usually find them at a farmer’s market.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
As I mentioned before, zucchini is low in calories. But it’s not low in nutrients. One cup of zucchini contains 8% of your daily recommended potassium and 33% of your daily Vitamin C. This combination is very heart healthy. Additionally, they contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and more.
Zucchini has been linked to lowering blood pressure, aiding in men’s prostate health, and help keep your heart healthy. In fact, eating zucchini on a regular basis will improve your overall health. The vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene help to protect cells from harmful chemicals that can lead to colon cancer. Beta-carotene and vitamin C have anti-inflammatory benefits, which can offer relief for ailments such as osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Plus, the copper found in this summer squash can help reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
Zucchini helps with weight loss in a few different ways. It’s high water content makes you feel full so you won’t reach for snacks as often. The high-fiber content helps your body to slow your digestion and absorb more nutrients. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels, too.
Ready to try some zucchini?
Cooking with Zucchini
Life all other veggies, you want to try and get your zucchini as fresh as possible. If you see the golden yellow flower still attached, you know it’s very fresh. Look for bright-colored skin that are smooth and firm. Watch for excessive damage.
Once you get your zucchini home, store them in a perforated plastic bag in one of the refrigerator drawers. They should be good for 3 days. If they’re in temperatures that are too cold, they can get damaged.
You can eat zucchini raw or cooked. Whenever possible, leave the skin on as it holds much of the nutrients. They’re made up of 95% water, so it will add liquid to whatever you are making. For example, if you get a vegetable spiralizer to make zoodles (zucchini noodles), after you cook them, you’ll need to let them drain well so they don’t change the consistency of the sauce they are going in.
Other ways to eat zucchini are to add it into salads, prepare as a side dish, in one-pot dishes, as a raw snack, or as baked fries. Try my recipe for a one-pot Turkey Veggie Mix dish (below).
Adding zucchini to your daily diet with keep your body healthy, free of toxins and hydrated. What do you have to lose?
Be the first to know about new recipes!
Subscribe today to receive our recipe newsletter, Cravemail!Follow me 🙂