As the culinary chameleon of the produce world, zucchini is known for its versatility. The mild flavor of this summer squash pairs well with a wide variety of recipes. Many enthusiasts prize zucchini for its limited calories and high nutrient content.
While it is often thought of and used as a vegetable, zucchini is technically a fruit. As a variety of summer squash, it is harvested and eaten while immature. This sets it apart from other types of squash, as does its soft rind.
Squash is native to Central America and Mexico, but it has also been integral to a wide variety of international cuisines for centuries. Elongated varieties of squash began to appear in Italian kitchens as early as the 1600s, but the first description of the produce with the name “zucchini” did not appear until the early 1900s.
Zucchini is packed with many important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has a high fiber content and a low calorie count. Fiber plays an important role in digestion and may limit the likelihood of suffering from a variety of GI issues.
Zucchini contains zeaxanthin and several other compounds that can play a role in preventing oxidative stress. This, in turn, may limit the likelihood of developing cancer.
Diabetes Prevention and Management
Zucchini is rich in vitamin B6. Research suggests that this vitamin can help with regulating blood glucose. The vitamin may even play a protective role against diabetes.
IMPROVED EYE HEALTH
Compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eye’s cells by filtering blue light wavelengths. A diet rich in these compounds may reduce the risk of developing cataracts or other eye-related health problems.
Zucchini is rich in multiple antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. Despite packing a punch with several important nutrients, Zucchini is low in calories, fat, and sugar.
Zucchinis are also a wonderful source of:
• Vitamin A
Things to Look Out For
Zucchini is often used as a substitute for pasta or other carb-dense ingredients. While this can dramatically decrease a meal’s calorie count, recipes including zucchini can still feature heavy sauces high in calories and fat.