If you thought that zucchini is just weight loss-friendly, then these additional health benefits of the veggie are going to leave you totally surprised! Read here to know them all!
Zucchini is rich in potassium, manganese and magnesium
- Zucchini is known to be a weight loss-friendly vegetable
- Zucchini is rich in lutein, a protective antioxidant
- Zucchini has a moderate amount of folate as well
Zucchini though botanically classified as a fruit, is traditionally eaten as a vegetable in most cuisines. It is also called as courgette, and is a squash that has its origin from America. It comes in various varieties including colours varying from yellow, light green, and green. The shape resembles that of a ridged cucumber, with numerous seeds inside. It is a vegetable with high water content and has an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The entire vegetable, including its flesh, seeds and skin is edible.
Here are some benefits of including zucchini in your diet
1. Zucchini is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which makes it a wonder food for the skin.
2. In addition, it is an abundant source of the minerals – manganese and magnesium. Both of them are potent antioxidant precursors.
3. It is also a good source of copper, which is anti-inflammatory
4. It is an ideal summer vegetable as it has high water content, as it helps combat the effects of the sun on the skin.
5. Zucchini is rich in lutein, yet another protective antioxidant.
6. The rind of zucchini is particularly rich in beta-carotene, so we should include that in our cooking.
7. The maximum benefits of zucchini are obtained when you consume it entirely. It is an extremely easy vegetable to cook, even with the peel, because of its high-water content (nearby 95 percent)- this also makes it an ideal for helping in weight loss.
8. Zucchini has a moderate amount of folate which is important in cell division and DNA synthesis.
9. It is an excellent source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure effects of sodium.
How to choose and store
They are generally available throughout the year but are best during spring and summer. The best is to choose from small to medium-sized zucchini which has a shiny, bright green skin and is firm and heavy in hand. Avoid overly mature zucchinis with pitted skin or those with flabby or spongy textured. Avoid those with soft and wrinkled ends, though minor scratches and bruises are common and are completely fine.
At home place them wrapped in a cling film or in a paper bag and it can be easily stored for few days in vegetable compartment of the refrigerator if set at adequate relative humidity.
Ways to add zucchini to your diet
- It can be added in salads
- They give a rich flavours to the pastas
- It makes Chinese stir-fry more delicious specially the finger sized ones also known as baby marrows
- It can be used with other vegetables when making ratatouille and mixed vegetables
- It is also made into a typical gravy dish served with yoghurt
- Fine sections, chopped and grated can be shredded into bread, pizza etc.
(Vandita Jain is Delhi-based nutritionist and Diabetes educator)
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