Zucchini health benefits include full of Vitamins and other nutrients, is hydrating, promotes bone and teeth health, good for heart, helps regulate blood pressure, boosts your vision, great for weight loss, lowers blood sugar levels, protects against oxidation and inflammation, may reduce stress and muscle tension, may slow aging by ‘rejuvenating biological clock’, helps with digestion, and aids collagen production.
Question: Is there anything heartier and more versatile than zucchini? Answer: Not quite! Also known as courgette, this crunchy cousin of cucumbers and melons is actually a fruit (read: botanically).
Many a time, zucchini is mistaken for cucumber, but it has rough texture compared to the latter. All parts of zucchini are edible, including the skin, seeds, and even the flowers. You can eat it raw, steamed, or fried. You can also add zucchini to muffins, cakes, sauces, soups, and stews. The choices are literally endless – just like zucchini’s benefits.
Speaking of the benefits, zucchini was popularly used in folk medicine to treat colds, inflammation, constipation, and various other ailments. Let us go over a few science-backed health benefits of Zucchini so you can justify your ‘zoodle’ obsession.
Top 15 Stupendous Health Benefits of Zucchini
1. Chock full of vitamins and other nutrients
Zucchini is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are important for overall wellbeing. One medium zucchini (196 g) contains good levels of vitamins including,
- Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)- 1% of the RDI
- Thiamin – 6% DV
- Riboflavin– 16% DV
- Niacin – 5% DV
- Vitamin B6 – 21% DV
- Folate – 14% DV
- Pantothenic Acid – 3% DV
It similarly is a good source of nutrients like,
- Calcium – 3% DV
- Iron – 4% DV
- Magnesium – 8% DV
- Phosphorus – 7% DV
- Potassium – 15% DV
- Zinc – 4% DV
- Copper – 5% DV
- Manganese – 17% DV
2. They’re hydrating
According to SELFNutritionData, one medium Zucchini contains 185 gm of water. That translates to nearly 6.7 oz, just an ounce and a half shy of a cup! This obviously means Zucchini can hydrate you. Here’s another science-backed fact: the lutein in zucchini protects skin’s moisture barrier from the sun.
The result – well hydrated body! No dehydration also means your skin can effectively fight and flush out toxins and irritants. Plus, it gives skin the boost it needs to repair and rejuvenate itself.
Takeaway: Zucchini quenches your thirst. And yes, don’t forget 8×8 rule (eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day).
3. Zucchini promote bone and teeth health
Not just Vitamins A, C, and B-complex, Zucchini also contains Vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. One cup (113g) of sliced zucchini supplies about 6% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin K. Magnesium is another nutrient that makes this veggie good for your bones and teeth. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin play a significant role in increasing bone density.
Takeaway: Eat Zucchini raw or cooked to reduce the probability of osteoporosis and bone fracture.
4. Good for your heart too
All that fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants, manganese, potassium, Omega-3s, can also help fight heart diseases, research shows. From lowering the arterial blood pressure to sweeping LDL from circulation, preventing oxidation of LDL, and reducing cholesterol level, the nutrients in Zucchini ensure optimum heart health. Folate and riboflavin present also support a healthy heart.
Zucchini’s low cholesterol, low sodium, low-fat profile work synergistically to ensure healthy circulation.
Takeaway: Zucchini is a vital veggie/fruit of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
5. Zucchini can help regulate blood pressure
Globally, as much as 1 billion people suffer from hypertension and zucchini is the perfect way to combat it. Zucchini, with more potassium than a banana, helps to maintain fluid balance and flush out toxins that result in high blood pressure. Potassium is vasoactive, that means it affects blood vessel diameter and blood pressure. Potassium is an excellent diuretic, too – releasing excess water and sodium from the body.
Takeaway: Eat zucchini regularly to reduce the chances of developing hypertension.
6. Boost your vision
Zucchini takes the stage with the carrot in keeping your eyes healthy. It is full of Beta-carotene that gets converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A, in turn, reduces the risk of macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma.
The good news is that zucchini also has lutein, the antioxidant that protects the retina from oxidative changes caused by UV rays. Added bonus: High levels of Vitamins A & C and manganese help remove excess toxins and maintain overall health.
Takeaway: Eating zucchini = Healthy eyes now and later!
7. And A great ally for weight loss journey’s
Zucchini by itself is water – 95%. Plus, it is low in calories and high in fiber. So, gaining even an ounce is nearly impossible, if you regularly consume zucchini. It keeps the hunger pangs at bay by keeping you feel full. In the long term, you’ll end up shedding some extra pounds.
Takeaway: Filling up on zucchini = You eat less overall + Healthy weight management
8. Can lower blood sugar levels
B-complex vitamins have been shown to help people control sugar metabolism, and because zucchini is high in vitamins B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, it can help lower blood sugar levels. Zucchini also has a good amount of fiber (5% of your daily value in one cup), which may also help increase insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.
Additionally, animal studies indicated zucchini peel extract’s ability to reduce insulin and blood sugar levels. Researchers say this may be due to high antioxidant levels in zucchini peel extract.
Takeaway: Incorporating zucchini in type 2 diabetes diet = stable blood sugar levels.
9. Protects against oxidation and inflammation
There is a reason why you should eat zucchini skin. They are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds – to be specific, vitamins A & C, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase. As we have already discussed, zucchini also contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and Omega-3 fats – all of which are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Eating zucchini regularly reduces oxidative and inflammatory damages within the body. This, in turn, boosts immunity and protects against inflammatory diseases.
Takeaway: Add more ‘Zoodles’ to the diet to keep inflammation at bay.
10. It is a brain-food, too
Zucchini is a true brain-food thanks to the plenty of water and nutrients like folate, potassium, iron, vitamin C, and omega-3s present in it. Folate can reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Potassium improves cognition and neural activity whereas iron keeps the brain alert by increasing oxygen flow.
Another surprising way zucchini helps your brain is with Vitamin B6 they contain. Vitamin B6 is known for its stimulatory effect on serotonin and norepinephrine – the happy hormones.
Takeaway: Eat one zucchini daily to keep your brain happy and healthy.
11. May reduce stress and muscle tension
Turns out, stress depletes your body of magnesium and vitamins B-complex, C, and E. This can lead to an increase in muscle twitches and cramps, fatigue, mental numbness, high blood pressure, and asthma. Zucchini contains a rich dose of magnesium to boost energy, improve moods, and calm the nerves & muscles. One cup sliced zucchini meet as much as 5% of the daily value, which leads to fewer spasms, less stress, and better mood.
Takeaway: Zucchini is a champion at providing enough nutrients to ward off stress and anxiety related symptoms.
12. May slow aging by ‘rejuvenating biological clock’
Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin – the nutrients we keep mentioning, are also great at slowing down premature aging. It is worth noting that cell damage and aging occur from the additive action of toxins, free radicals, and inflammation. By including zucchini in your diet, you increase the antioxidant content of your food. This means that your cells flush out toxins and rejuvenate themselves faster.
Takeaway: Regular zucchini intake is a logical and natural way to keep your skin young and radiant.
13. Eat zucchini if you’re pregnant
Consuming zucchini offers adequate folate, iron, and magnesium. meaning it is unavoidable in the pregnancy diet. Studies showed that folate helps in the neural tube and red blood cell development in prenatal babies whereas magnesium reduces the risk of premature birth. Additionally, the B-vitamins present in zucchini help to cope with pregnancy mood swings.
Takeaway: Consume zucchini to avoid neural tube defects or spina bifida, in newborns.
14. Helps with digestion
Zucchini is a great digestive aid, too – all thanks to its high water content, fiber, electrolytes, and essential nutrients. Water and fiber enhance digestion and bowel movement to reduce constipation risk. Not just this, the soluble fiber present in zucchini promotes the growth of gut bacteria to nourish gut cell. And, this may help reduce gut ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Crohn’s disease.
Takeaway: Regular consumption of zucchini can keep your gut healthy.
15. Aids collagen production
Besides giving structure to your skin, tissues, and bones, collagen is essential for keeping the elasticity of the skin. But as you age, collagen production declines and signs of aging appear. That’s where vegetables that promote collagen production like zucchini comes into play. Zucchini is high in water, vitamin C, and riboflavin, and is great food for boosting collagen production.
Vitamin C promotes the synthesis of elastin and collagen – the proteins essential for healthy skin. Since zucchini is replete with riboflavin, it promotes collagen maturation as well.
Takeaway: Eat zucchini (and consume more water) for glowy skin.
With zero fats and more essential phytonutrients, zucchini offers undeniable health benefits. Though it is one of the healthiest foods, you shouldn’t overlook the traces of oxalate present in it – especially if you have a history of kidney problems. Because oxalate in excess may increase the chances of forming kidney stones.