Zucchini (also known as courgette) is a summer squash in the Cucurbitaceae plant family, alongside for instance cucumbers or melons. We love using zucchini in our recipes as it offers some fantastic health and nutrition benefits plus it can be eaten in so many different forms! Take a look at how using zucchini can improve your health and add diversity to your recipes.

1.  Zucchini does not accumulate heavy metals

Zucchini does not accumulate heavy metals or nitrates present in fertilizers. So it is a safe vegetable, recommended even for young children.

2.  Great for those on a diet

  • Zucchini is a dietary and low-calorie vegetable with a neutral taste.
  • You can eat it in large quantities, because its calorific value is relatively low. 100 g of fresh zucchini contains only about 21 kcal, as it is built in 90% of water. 
  • The amount of carbohydrates in it is very small, which is why zucchini is one of the vegetables recommended in diets limiting their consumption: low carbohydrate diet, ketogenic diet, Atkins diet, or paleo diet.
  • Zucchini has a low glycemic index of 15, so it can be included in the diet of people with diabetes.

 3.  Source of vitamins and minerals

  • Zucchini is a good source of vitamin A (necessary for proper vision and good immunity) – 100 g of zucchini contains about 210 µg of this compound (daily requirement of vitamin A in an adult is 700 – 900 µg). 
  • Zucchini also contains B vitamins (needed, among others, for the proper functioning of the nervous system, including the brain and efficient digestion)
  • and vitamin C, which supports the absorption of iron, strengthens the immune system, and is needed for the development and regeneration of tissues and good condition of teeth and gums. 
  • Please note that vitamins A, B and C are sensitive to high temperature, which is why very young courgettes should be eaten raw together with the skin. 
  • Zucchini also contains cartenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, zeoxanthin, lutein and minerals: potassium, sodium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, copper.

 

 

4. Disease prevention

  • Zucchini is recommended to support an anti-cancer diet. Scientists are arguing that this vegetable reduces the risk of cancer of the digestive organs (including stomach, pancreas, large intestine and mouth). 
  • Zucchini is also worth considering because of the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin – plant pigments that protect the retina of the eye, reducing the risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration), a disease that can even lead to blindness.

5.  Help in digestive processes

  • Zucchini is easily digestible and the potassium contained in it prevents water retention in the body.
  • It is alkalizing and prevents acidification of the body.
  • The de-acidifying characteristics of zucchini has a beneficial effect on digestive processes and the removal of unnecessary metabolic products from the body.

6. Diverse use in the kitchen

  • Zucchini is a vegetable that you can eat raw, fried, braised, baked or cooked. 
  • They can also be frozen and dried. 
  • Zucchini can also be used for baking cakes.

How to pick up the right zucchini?

  • The best zucchini are the youngest.
  • It is worth choosing zucchini which are 15-20 cm long. The smaller ones are simply immature. Larger ones can be overripe and have fibrous flesh and extensive seed nests.
  • The skin should be shiny and without damage.
  • If the vegetable is quite heavy in relation to its size, then it will not have a spongy pulp.
  • Fresh zucchini can be stored in the bottom shelf in the fridge for up to 10 days. 
  • Zucchini can be eaten with the skin.

Check some of our recipes which include zucchini!

Caponata (vegetarian)
Ratatouille – Provencal vegetable stew (vegan dish)
Risotto with Green Beans and Zucchini (vegetarian)
Zucchini pancakes (vegetarian)

 

 

 

Did you know?

  • The first mention of zucchini dates back to 5500 BC.
  • There are about 1000 varieties of this vegetable.
  • Courgette / zucchini comes from Central America and Mexico, from where Columbus expeditions brought it to Europe, where it quickly gained popularity, especially in Italy.
  • From a botanical point of view, zucchini is a fruit. In Italian, “zucchina” is simply a small pumpkin.
  • Depending on the variety, it can be dark green, yellow or striped.

Nutrition facts of zucchini (in 100 g)
Energy value – 21 kcal
Total protein – 2.71 g
Fat – 0.40 g
Carbohydrates – 3.11 g
Fiber – 1.1 g

Vitamins:

  • Vitamin C – 34.1 mg
  • Thiamine – 0.042 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.036 mg
  • Niacin – 0.705 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.142 mg
  • Folic acid – 20 µg
  • Vitamin A – 490 IU

Minerals:

  • Calcium – 21 mg
  • Iron – 0.79 mg
  • Magnesium – 33 mg
  • Phosphorus – 93 mg
  • Potassium – 459 mg
  • Sodium – 3 mg
  • Zinc – 0.83 mg

Data source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

 

All health content on canvassimo.co.uk is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.