Eating habits based on the consumption of vegetables and fruits offer a multitude of benefits. Among them, the properties of zucchini they are considered very positive and beneficial, due to their high content of water, antioxidants and minerals.
In this article we wanted to carry out a scientific review of the positive effects of including zucchini in our diet.
In addition, there are many recipes that incorporate this vegetable in it, so it will not be difficult for you to introduce it in your everyday life.
The properties of zucchini are closely related to what any food can bring us from the family of cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae), so they have a similar mineral and nutritional composition and share many active ingredients and antioxidant substances.
Therefore, we wanted to gather 12 properties attributed to zucchini, with clinical trials and scientific studies that have endorsed its benefits.
Properties of zucchini to improve our lifestyle
1. Zucchini has a balanced nutritional composition
Most of this vegetable is water. Therefore, all the vitamins it contains are in a soluble state and directly available to the body. It also contains a very good nutritional ratio of minerals and antioxidants.
As it is a vegetable, its fat content is very low and does not contain cholesterol.
This is what 100 grams of zucchini would give us.
- Energy: 17 kcal
- Proteins: 1.21 g
- Total fats: 0.32 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.11 g
- Dietary fiber: 1 g
Minerals provided in zucchini (100 g)
- Calcium: 16 mg
- Iron: 0.37 mg
- Magnesium: 18 mg
- Phosphorus: 38 mg
- Potassium: 261 mg
- Sodium: 8 mg
- Zinc: 0.32 mg
Vitamins provided (100 g)
- Vitamin C: 17.9 mg
- Thiamine: 0.045 mg
- Riboflavin: 0.094 mg
- Niacin: 0.451 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.163 mg
- Folate: 24 μg
- Vitamin B12: 0 μg
- Vitamin A: 200 IU
- Vitamin E: 0.12 mg
- Vitamin d: 0 μg
- Vitamin k: 4.3 μg
2. High antioxidant content
As with many other fruits and vegetables, many of zucchini’s properties are attributed to its antioxidant content.
Among them, we find the presence of carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. [See information additional]
This is very important since daily we introduce (through other foods) oxidizing substances known as free radicals. Without the presence of antioxidants, these substances can become harmful to the body and cause diseases in the medium and long term, including cancer.
The habitual intake of this type of substances has positive effects on the human being, especially in the prevention of diseases, as shown by many scientific studies.
By reducing the oxidative stress at the cellular level, the reactivity of oxygenated carcinogenic substances is reduced. We are talking about reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disorders by a significant percentage.
3. Offers advantages in cardiovascular health
A scientific review of high-fiber, low-fat foods has shown that they have a direct influence on the health of the cardiovascular system. In turn, it prevents cardiorespiratory diseases, such as heart attacks, ischemia or stroke.
Pectin, a soluble fiber present in zucchini, has direct action in reducing levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), increasing the levels of healthy fatty acids (HDL) [See study scientific]
A diet high in fiber (at least 10 grams daily) for a period of 60 days, can reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 2.2 mg / dl, something very interesting and that we can implement in our healthy living with very little effort. [See study conclusions]
Foods rich in potassium, like many fruits and vegetables, are linked to a reduction in blood pressure, while offering greater dilation of blood vessels.
This favors a significant reduction in heart disease and even strokes. In addition, products rich in antioxidants, such as carotenoids present in the properties of zucchini, have a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
4. Improves digestion and the presence of healthy microorganisms
We find a food that contains a good source of water, sugars and digestive fiber.
This mixture is very effective in facilitating bowel movement and softening bowel movements, reducing constipation considerably.
In turn, it has been scientifically proven how fiber collaborates with maintaining a positive microbiological load, and this is closely related to health and the prevention of a multitude of diseases and disorders.
To such an extent, that the future is in the hands of fecal transplants, with the aim of balancing the microbiological base that we have in the stomach and other organs, and that in turn is capable of attacking and eliminating pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
The consumption of foods such as zucchini encourages the reduction of intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. [See information additional]
5. Possible anticancer effects
Although it is still too early to reach sufficiently truthful conclusions, studies carried out in the laboratory and with animals have concluded a positive response of some active substances present in zucchini against cancer cells.
Future steps will be to check its effect when applied, either through the intake of zucchini or the synthesis of its main antioxidants on cancer cells in humans, and what type of organs it can protect or prevent.
6. Improves vision functionality
Within foods, there are compounds that promote vision and improve eye health. Some of them are antioxidants (such as beta-carotene) and the famous vitamin C.
Antioxidants have positive activity on vision, as they can accumulate in the retina, reducing the risk of degenerative vision diseases, and this is important over the years. [See study]
In addition, antioxidant compounds such as zeaxanthin and lutein are directly related to it, reducing the risk of muscle degeneration, and decreasing the properties of cataracts.
7. Can regulate blood sugar levels
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that continues to advance, and increasingly in younger people, according to statistics figures.
This means that more and more healthy alternatives and use of natural products that can have some positive effect on diabetes are sought.
Analyzed in clinical trials the properties of zucchini, has no direct effect on the reduction of sugar in the bloodstream, but it has been shown that low-carbohydrate diets achieve a greater balance in sugar levels.
The fiber contained does have direct action on the fluctuations of sugars between periods of fasting and meals. The ideal is to have values that do not fluctuate and that is attributed to a healthy life with a diet rich in fibers from fruits and vegetables.
8. Keep obesity at bay
This property related to diet and health in nutrition is attributable to virtually all fruits and vegetables.
We will not discover anything if we accept that the Mediterranean diet and all the variants where vegetables, fruits and vegetables form an important pillar favors staying at our ideal weight and reducing obesity.
Foods rich in fiber and water satiate with small amounts, in addition to having high concentrations in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Reducing the intake of fatty and saturated foods, with bad cholesterol (LDL), increase lipid mass and can clog arteries and cause cardiovascular problems.
9. Bone health
Foods with a good mineral profile, especially magnesium, calcium and vitamin K, promotes good assimilation of these nutrients and strengthens bone health. This is interesting to prevent diseases such as the well-known osteoporosis.
In addition, it is implying minerals are accompanied by their respective ‘catalysts’, such as vitamin K or vitamin D. With this, a good assimilation is achieved through the bones.
If in spite of everything, we do not manage to raise the levels of calcium necessary to avoid osteoporosis problems and lack of bone density, we can also resort to food supplements. Concentrated tablets that we can take during meals and that are supported by the medical community.