Health Benefits Of Zucchini: 7 Reasons To Dig Into This Vegetable

Health benefits of zucchini
raw zucchini, courgette

On the top of most nutritionists’ lists, zucchini is a must-have vegetable in your diet. And its versatility will keep your tastebuds happy. In fact, you can bake zucchini into bread, roast them in the oven, add it to pasta, fry them into fritters, or even pair them with steamed salmon. You could also grab a spiralizer and make zucchini noodles for a low-carb, gluten-free pasta option. Besides, helping you serve up some incredible dishes, zucchini offers a host of health benefits. Here’s a reckoner of these.

1. May Aid In Weight Loss

If you’d like to lose a couple of pounds, include zucchini in your diet. It’s rich in water and is low in calorie, keeping you full for a long time. This, in turn, reduces hunger and prevents you from overeating. Intake of non-starchy, dark green or yellow vegetables (such as zucchini) has been found to lower weight. Besides this, studies have linked a higher intake of fruits and vegetables with weight loss and a lower rate of weight gain over time.

2. Promotes Healthy Digestion

Consuming zucchini can keep

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your bowel movements regular. It is rich in water, which is believed to soften stools and make them easier to pass, in turn reducing the incidence of constipation.1 In addition to this, it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. The latter adds bulk stools and helps food move through your gut more easily, also reducing your constipation risk, especially if you have enough fluids in your diet. The former, meanwhile, feeds the beneficial bacteria living in your gut which produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that nourish your gut cells, reduce inflammation, and prevent certain gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.2 3 4 5

3.  Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

If you have type 2 diabetes, adding zucchini to your diet might help lower blood sugar levels.6 7 One cup of the cooked vegetable offers only 3 grams, making it a low-carb, low-glycemic index option for diabetics. And low-carb diets have been found to significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels, keeping blood sugar levels stable and reducing the need for medications. Besides

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this, the fiber in zucchini prevents blood sugar spikes after meals. Consuming a diet high in fiber has been linked to a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes. Besides this, animal studies have found that the antioxidants in zucchini peel extract lower blood sugar levels and insulin.8 9 10

4. Boosts Heart Health

The high fiber content in zucchini may also keep your heart healthy. Studies have found that people who eat more fiber had a lowered risk of heart disease. Pectin, a type

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of soluble fiber found in zucchini, may be especially effective at reducing total and “bad” cholesterol levels.11 12 13 14

Besides this, zucchini is also rich in potassium, which has been found to lower high blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. And healthy blood pressure is linked

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to lowered risk of heart disease and stroke. To add to this, carotenoids, as found in zucchini, appear to be particularly protective against heart disease.15 16 17 18 19

5. May Strengthen Your Vision

As we age, our eyesight tends to deteriorate. Adding zucchini to your diet might help.20 The vitamin C and beta-carotene in the vegetable are important for eye health.21 Zucchini also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that can accumulate in your retina and improve vision while reducing the risk of age-related eye disorders. They also lower the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in older adults and lowers the likelihood of developing cataracts.22 23

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24

6. Strengthens Bones

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in zucchini have been found to strengthen bones. It also packs in 4.9 mcg of vitamin K which makes up for 5.44% of your RDA as well as 20 mg of magnesium, which makes up for 6.45% of the RDA. Both these nutrients are known to prevent bone loss.25 26 27

7. Promotes Healthy Prostate Function

Animal research has found zucchini seeds may limit prostatic hyperplasia, a condition that is characterized by the enlargement of the prostate, which commonly causes urinary and sexual difficulties in older men.28

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