Zucchini and Its Benefits
In terms of healthy foods, I am frequently looking for recipes that contain vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and zucchini. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, so when browsing through its benefits and what variety of foods can be made with this ingredient, I discovered that it turns out that we can cook zucchini not only as a side dish but also as a pasta or noodles substitute. In addition, it can be used as a dessert like zucchini cake or bread, muffins, and we can even make zucchini chips as healthy snacks.
Zucchini squash or courgette is categorized under the Cucurbitaceae (cucurbita-pepo) family of vegetables. A courgette is a summer squash that is very popular in America as well as in Europe, and it is believed that it originally comes from Central America and Mexico. Here in Saudi I can only find light green zucchini, however there are several kinds of zucchini with dark green or yellow skins.
According to Nutrition and You, zucchini has many benefits such as:
- It is a vegetable that is low in calories, which is only 17 calories per 100 grams, and it contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. It is rich in fiber to prevent constipation, as well as to protect against colon cancer.
- It has an anti-oxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 180 Trolex Equivalents (TE) per 100g. Courgette is popular as a menu suggestion by dieticians to reduce weight and cholesterol.
- Zucchini that has golden skin is rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin. These combinations help remove unsafe oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the body that take part in aging and many disease processes.
- It contains fairly moderate quantities of folates; offers 24 µg or 6% of RDA per 100 g. Folates are essential in cell division and DNA synthesis and if eaten at the beginning of pregnancy in sufficient quantities, it can help avoid neural tube defects in the fetus.
- Courgette contains a very good supply of potassium, a vital intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart-friendly electrolyte and it helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by neutralizing pressure-effects of sodium.
- The fresh fruit contains a good source in vitamin A (200 IU per 100 g), while fresh pods provide a good supply of anti-oxidant vitamin-C (17.9 µg or 30% of daily-required levels per 100 g).
- Zucchini contains moderate levels of the B-complex group of vitamins such thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
For more information visit: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/zucchini.html