Zucchini is a great addition to your daily diet because it is so nutrient rich and yet mild in flavor. Plenty of parents blend it up and hide it in other things so that their kids get enough vegetables. Luckily, there are also a ton of recipes for the less picky among us that can make zucchini feel new each day.
And that’s good, because it is so good for us. Baked, fried, roasted, boiled, or raw, zucchini offers a plethora of health benefits. In some cases, you don’t even have to eat it in order to reap the rewards! Stick with us to find out what happens when you indulge in zucchini every day.1. Improved digestion
Zucchini is full of the stuff that your digestive system needs to stay, ummm, regular. It has water, fiber, and electrolytes that facilitate digestion and keep the process moving along. Constipation is painful enough, but zucchini also reduces the risk for more concerning conditions like ulcers, IBS, and even colon cancer. However, raw zucchini can produce gas, so you may want to eat it cooked if this is a problem for you.
2. Slower aging
Over the years, our bodies age under the influence of toxins, inflammation, and free radicals. However, we can age slower by making sure our diets are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods.
Zucchini has both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that work together to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. The result is a healthier body from the inside out, as free radicals can also do a number on your skin.
3. Lower blood sugar levels
Chronic high blood sugar puts you at risk of diabetes, but a diet high in fiber minimizes that risk. Zucchini fits the bill. It can keep you feeling full longer and therefore make you less likely to binge on carbs. Experts suggest about 30 grams of fiber per day to really lower your chances of developing diabetes.
One medium zucchini has 2 grams. Obviously, eating zucchini won’t get you there all by itself, but it is an excellent addition to stir fries, casseroles, and soups.
4. Supports healthy circulation and a healthy heart
Many people don’t realize that healthy blood pressure relies on getting the right balance of sodium and potassium. Most of us get way too much sodium, but not nearly enough potassium. Zucchini can help correct this balance. One medium zucchini has 512 mg, or about 14% of your daily value.
Zucchini also contains something called polysaccharide, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. These two effects work together to maintain healthy circulation and a strong heart.
5. Improves eye health
Zucchini is a good source of nutrients that support eye health, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Those last two are thought to fight free radicals and reduce your risk of common age-related eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
They also protect eyes from harmful high-energy light waves including the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Eye tissue that is high in lutein and zeaxanthin is also associated with better vision.
6. Boosts energy
B-vitamins play a vital role in your body’s energy production, and zucchini has it in spades. Vitamins in this series, including folate, riboflavin, and B6, are able to metabolize protein and carbohydrates. That means that B-vitamins don’t directly produce energy, but rather make energy from the food you eat usable.
Therefore, zucchini a good addition to any meal. B-vitamins also improve brain functions like cognition. That’s a recipe for a good day.
7. Easier weight loss
We tend to pack on the pounds when our diets are high in carbs and sugar. Zucchini is neither, but it does contain a fair bit of water and fiber. Both of those help the body to feel full longer, which makes it much easier to avoid unhealthy food binges.
While zucchini isn’t some miracle weight loss supplement, it certainly supports weight loss efforts as part of a healthy diet.
8. Improved thyroid and adrenal functions
Here’s even more reason to make sure you eat the skin of zucchinis. It contains a lot of the veggie’s vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols, which have been shown to positively affect thyroid and adrenal function. In fact, studies have shown that people with hypothyroidism tend to be deficient in vitamin C as well as selenium and zinc.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that zucchini has each of those nutrients and more.
9. Protects against oxidation and inflammation
The one bodily condition that’s associated with almost every disease is inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be both caused by disease and cause disease itself. Zucchini has a bunch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like the relatively common vitamin A and vitamin C, plus some tongue-twisting ones like glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase.
Adding zucchini to a daily diet will boost immunity and protect against disease. The best stuff is found in the zucchini skin, so it’s best not to peel it before eating.
10. Reduced eye puffiness
Not just a delicious food but also a beauty treatment, slices of raw zucchini can reduce puffiness around your eyes. You’ve probably seen people do this with cucumber, but zucchini works just as well. Simply place slices of raw zucchini over your eyes as you rest for about 30 minutes.
But you don’t have to stop there. A zucchini mask made of ground zucchini and oat flour, worn for 20 minutes, can do wonders for controlling shine. Add olive oil and egg yolk to the zucchini/oat flour combo for a moisturizing mask.
Zucchini is a good all-around veggie that it’s smart to eat a lot of. It can be sliced, diced, or shredded and added to all kinds of recipes. Try some shredded in your hashbrowns. Lightly breaded and baked zucchini with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese is delicious. Zucchini can also be cut into thin strips, boiled, and then topped like pasta. And that’s not to mention simply chopping and tossing it into salads, soups, and stir fries.
If you’re worried about your supply of zucchini, it is extremely easy to grow at home. Simply plant a small seedling in the spring and from mid-summer through until fall the plant will grow exponentially and deliver plenty of fresh produce! Perhaps now is the time to learn how to preserve zucchini as well….