Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Zucchini (aka Courgette)

Scientific name: Cucurbita pepo

Description: Zucchini is mainly used as a vegetable and is closely related to squashes & pumpkin. It has a long, cylindrical body with thin, soft skin and soft edible seeds. The color is usually dark or light green while the related hybrid has the golden, deep yellow or orange color.

Health benefits:

Zucchini has high water content and low in calories, carbs and sugars. It is, however, high in essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, calcium, , zinc, niacin, and protein. It also has antioxidants like vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSHpx) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) as well as other vitamins like vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B2.  Zucchini contains about 1.16% of proteins and provides up to 29% of the recommended daily intake in a 100 gram serving.

Traditionally, the seeds from zucchini were believed to be antimicrobial and offer antiparasitic properties.

Medicinal properties:

1. Good for the heart

Since zucchini contains a good amount of potassium & magnesium that help in keeping blood pressure at a normal rate. It also has folate that breaks down amino acids like homocysteine that cause heart attacks and strokes. Zucchini also includes a good amount fiber called pectin, which is linked to improved cardiovascular health and has the ability to lower cholesterol naturally.

2. Helps lose Weight

Zucchini has a low calorie count and helps to fill you up. One of the best things about zucchini is that they are very high in water - with 95 percent water content. The high fibre content also helps in burning the fat in the body.

3. Helps Maintain Eye Health
Zucchini has phytonutrients like vitamin C, manganese, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin that protect the eyes and defend the eyes from age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.

4. Can Help Control Diabetes

Zucchini are low in carbs and sugar but rich in pectin which have special benefits for blood sugar regulation and helps prevent insulin spikes and dips.

5.  Balance Thyroid and Adrenal Function
The high amount of polyphenols and ascorbic acid in the peel of zucchini can have beneficial effects to thyroid, adrenal and insulin regulation.