Zucchini is an extremely popular summer squash, found in yellow, light green or dark green color with white flesh and a light and delicate flavor.
Although it is native to America, the zucchini, which finds a place in most of the modern world, is actually a variety of summer squash developed in Italy. The word zucchini is derived from the Italian word zucchino, which
means a small squash
. The French term for zucchini is courgette, which is often used for yellow squash as well.
A wide variety of zucchinis are available and each variant possesses unique features that distinguish it from other varieties. It is interesting to know that not all zucchinis are green in color and cylindrical shaped.
Sweet Gourmet, Greyzini, Black Beauty, Gold rush, Embassy, Black Zucchini are different zucchini variants.
The healthiest and easiest way to eat zucchini is to consume it raw.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Ranging from treating gout to better vision to weight loss and promoting a healthy heart, zucchini basks in the virtues of its multitudinous health benefits.
Younger Looking and Smooth Skin
Zucchini is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, which function as powerful anti-oxidants
against free radicals. Excess generation of free radicals results in fine lines, wrinkles and spots.
Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin
Zucchini also contains manganese, which is required for formation of choline, an amino acid involved in collagen production.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
The fiber content in zucchini lowers cholesterol levels by binding itself with the bile, which forces the liver to produce more bile. Since cholesterol is a component of bile, more cholesterol is utilized for bile production.
Promotes Healthy Eyes
Zucchini is a treasure chest of beta-carotene, which promotes development of the eye cells, thus promoting better vision. It also contains anti-oxidants like zinc, manganese and Vitamin C, which provide protection for your eyes. Topical application of zucchini can remove puffy bags around your eyes.
Prevention and Treatment of Gout
Zucchini is a rich source of anti-inflammatory carotenoids,
which counteract the effects of excessive uric acid, which can lead to gout. It lowers the uric acid build-up in the joints, thus relieving the symptoms of gout.
Helps in Digestion and Detoxification
Zucchini is a power-packed food, which promotes proper digestion and also aids in detoxification. Zucchini has a detoxifying effect on the digestive tract, particularly the intestines. It acts as a mild laxative keeping constipation
at bay and prevents the build-up of carcinogenic toxins in the colon.
Good for Pregnant Women
The nutritional requirements increase considerably during pregnancy. Zucchini is a rich source of folic acid and potassium, which are important nutrients for pregnant women. Deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy can result in neural tube defects like spina bifida in the fetus.
Facilitates Weight Loss
Zucchini is a must include in your diet if you are on a weight loss program. It is extremely low in calories and packed with fiber, which provides satiety keeping hunger pangs at bay. It satisfies your appetite without drastically increasing calorie consumption.
Good for Prostate Health
The extracts of zucchini possess certain compounds, which effectively treat an ailment in men called benign prostatic hypertrophy
(BPH). BPH is a condition in which the prostate gland gets enlarged in an odd shape and size and causes trouble with both sexual and urinary function.
Diabetic Friendly Food
Zucchini is brimming with the goodness of fiber and pectin, which play a vital role in lowering blood sugar levels. It also contains B complex vitamins which stabilizes glucose levels thus keeping Type 2 diabetes
Zucchini bread is one of the most popular zucchini based recipes. An interesting recipe to enjoy the goodness of zucchini is:
Stuffed Zucchini - Indian style
- 6 medium zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups diced peeled baking potato
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons gram flour
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 1/2 cups green peas
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Cut each zucchini into half length-wise and scoop out its pulp. Place the zucchini halves with the cut sides facing up, in a plate. Sprinkle with salt.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
- Cook potato in a pan of boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes and drain.
- Heat butter and oil in a non-stick skillet till the butter melts. Add onion, ginger, garlic and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add gram flour and all the spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Keep stirring frequently.
- Mix salt, potato, peas, and coriander leaves.
- Place around 1/3 cup potato mixture into each zucchini half.
- Cover and bake at 375° F for 18 - 20 minutes.
- Serve hot.