Thursday, August 8, 2019

Every gardener knows that zucchini is plentiful during the summer months!  August 8th is celebrated as national “Sneak Zucchini to Your Neighbor’s Porch Day”.  While you’re gleaning over-production in your garden, you may sneak some health benefits to your neighbor as well.

Brittany Baird, Registered Dietitian, WellSpan Weight Management shares the benefits of eating Zucchini.

One cup of cooked zucchini contains the following:  17 calories, 0 grams fat 3 grams carbohydrate, 1-gram of fiber, and 1-gram protein

Zucchini contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. Cooked zucchini is particularly high in Vitamin A which supports good vision and immune function.

Other health benefits:

  • Zucchini is rich in antioxidants which are beneficial plant compounds that help protect your body from damage by free radicals. Zucchini, particularly the skin, is full of carotenoids which benefit your eyes, skin, heart, and offer protection against cancer cell development.
  • Zucchini contains significant water and fiber, two compounds which can promote healthy digestion and regularity.
  • The fiber in zucchini may also aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels, potentially reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Fiber is also beneficial in promoting weight loss, as it helps you to feel full and more satisfied for a longer period of time.
  • Pectin, one type of soluble fiber found in zucchini, has been shown to reduce total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
  • Zucchini is also high in potassium, which may help reduce high blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cooking Zucchini

 I use a zoodle maker to cut the zucchini into spaghetti-shaped noodles. I then sauté until they’re semi-soft and use just like regular spaghetti noodles. This is probably one of my favorite ways to prepare zucchini because it doesn’t get soggy. I add lean ground beef to my tomato sauce and sprinkle with low-fat cheese to increase the protein content. This recipe makes a lower calorie, high volume meal that is quite filling.