7 Health Benefits of Zucchini

Last updated June 20, 2016

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Zucchini or courgette is a summer squash, which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Zucchini is treated as a vegetable, cooked in savory dishes, even though it is a fruit. Zucchini, like all squash, are native to the Americas.

Here are the 7 health benefits of zucchini:

1.     Zucchini is low in calories.

Zucchini is very low in calories. One cup of zucchini has only 20 calories. This low-calorie nutritionally dense food is perfect for weight loss.

2.     Zucchini can help fight off cancer.

Zucchinis, especially golden skin varieties, are rich in flavonoid antioxidants, such as carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds help eliminate harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species that play a role in making natural cells turn into cancer cells.

3.     Zucchini can help individuals fight infections.

One cup of zucchini contains 35 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements per cup. Vitamin C is a potent natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

4.     Zucchini is great for the hair and skin.

Adequate vitamin C intake does not only improve the immune system, can also create and maintain collagen, an essential protein found in hair and skin. Also, one cup of zucchini contains 5 percent of recommended vitamin A. Vitamin A has been known to keep the hair moisturized through increased sebum production.

5.      Zucchini can help improve the heart’s health.

Fiber, vitamin C, and B6, and potassium have been known to improve the heart’s health. Zucchini is rich in potassium with 325 milligrams per cup. The recommended 4700 milligrams (mg) of potassium are not obtained by many individuals in the United States, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, despite the benefits of increased potassium intake. One study suggested that individuals who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (approximately 1000 mg per day).

6.     Zucchini may improve brain function.

Several components of zucchini, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Potassium has been linked to increasing blood flow to the brain and heighten cognition, concentration, and neural activity. One cup of zucchini contains 9 percent of the recommended daily needs of folate.

Also, zucchini contains vitamin B6. A deficiency has shown depression and nausea. Be sure not to consume too much. The vitamin B6 upper limit is set to 100 milligrams for adults over the age of 18, but adults do not need that much unless directed by the doctor. One cup of zucchini has 14 percent (0.2 milligrams) of the daily need for vitamin B6.

7.     Zucchini can help prevent neural tube defects.

Folate has shown to help in neural tube formation and red blood cell formation in prenatal babies. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects, or spina bifida, in newborns. 

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 18, 2014
Last updated: June 20, 2016

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