Zucchini’s versatility has given it quite the name in recent years, as people seek to become more health conscious, but in a way that doesn’t sacrifice flavor, or promote cravings for unhealthy foods. Whether eaten raw or cooked, zucchini is a great alternative to carb-heavy meals and can therefore also have benefits for weight loss. But there’s more to this particular squash than that! Chock-full of health benefits, it not only gives way to a guilt-free plate, but nourishes the body from the inside out. Here are seven incredible health benefits of zucchini:
It promotes heart health.
Zucchini is high in potassium, which is known for its ability to help reduce blood pressure. It also has good levels of folate for breaking down amino acids such as homocysteine, responsible for causing heart attacks and strokes. And the magnesium found in it stabilizes blood pressure, ensuring the heartbeat remains in proper rhythm.
Related: 9 Health Benefits of Beets
It improves digestion.
Because zucchini is so hydrating, and full of essential electrolytes and nutrients, it is often recommended as a food for combating digestive issues. It’s even been found to offer anti-inflammatory protection in the GI tract, which can help reduce IBS, leaky gut syndrome and ulcer issues.
It protects against asthma.
A good source of vitamin C, zucchini is a natural way to fight asthma, since the antioxidant is known for its ability to keep the immune system healthy and ward off respiratory issues.
It strengthens teeth and bones.
Zucchini is a good source of calcium, which has been shown to decrease bone loss while also improving tooth retention. One study found that participants who took calcium and vitamin D supplements had a decrease of losing one or more teeth by 40 percent.
It aids in weight loss.
One of the biggest benefits people enjoy from zucchini is its super low calorie count that makes it a great addition to any weight loss diet. Swapping out calorie- and carb-rich foods with a good portion of zucchini will fill you up without weighing you down. It’s also full of fiber, which is beneficial for helping burn fat in the body. And because it’s 95 percent water, it will rehydrate you and keep you feeling full for longer.
It helps maintain eye health.
Zucchini’s good amount of phytonutrients, including vitamin C, manganese, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are great for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, are carotenoid antioxidants known for warding off age-related diseases that affect the eyes by way of shielding the retina, cornea and macula from the damages of UV light and oxidative stress.
It can help control diabetes.
Zucchini offers polysaccharide fibers like pectin that work to regulate blood sugar. For people suffering from diabetes, zucchini can control blood sugar levels, as it’s an extremely low-carb, low-glycemic food that keeps insulin from spiking and dipping.
Try these 11 zucchini recipes to enjoy its many benefits:
1. Low-Carb Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats by Sugar Free Mom
When tacos are on the brain, try this low-carb, protein-packed version using zucchini boats as an alternative to tortillas. The result is a delicious, spicy and savory taco that’s totally guilt-free.
2. Mexican Zucchini Noodles and Jalapeno Popper Turkey Meatballs by Food Faith Fitness
Noodles, jalapeño poppers and meatballs can all be indulgent bites, but if you’re craving a big bowl of meaty saucy pasta, why not try a healthier version? A big bowl of low-carb, high protein and gluten-free deliciousness, this recipe will make you think twice about loading up on the carbs and calories.
3. Zucchini Pizza Boats by Chocolate Covered Katie
Simple ingredients come together to make this savory snack or lunchtime bite that gives you the flavors of pizza without the guilt. Red sauce, cheese and zucchini are all you need to whip up these adorable boats in no time.
4. Zucchini Cakes by Get Healthy U
If a potato pancake is on your mind, try out these zucchini cakes that will surely satisfy your need for comfort food. A variety of herbs, spices and even some cheese come together to form something seriously scrumptious. Top with Greek yogurt for a creamy finish.
5. Low-Calorie Shrimp Alfredo by Get Healthy U
When you can’t kick the craving for a big bowl of pasta, opt for this shrimp Alfredo recipe instead. The sauce is a low-fat version of the usual high-calorie one, and, along with the delicious shrimp, is served over a bed of healthy and filling zucchini noodles.
6. Caprese Zucchini Noodle Pasta Salad by Sugar Free Mom
Rather than pasta salad, try swapping in zucchini noodles more a more nutritious recipe. This caprese version is incredibly fresh, delicious, and requires just four ingredients to make!
7. Pepper Jack Stuffed Turkey Zucchini Meatloaf by Ambitious Kitchen
Healthy doesn’t have to be bland or boring, and this delicious recipe proves it. This turkey zucchini meatloaf is stuffed with ooey gooey pepper jack cheese that’s simply to die for.
8. Coconut Oil Zucchini Bread by Fit Foodie Finds
Whether you’re looking for breakfast on the go or a quick snack, whipping up this healthy coconut oil zucchini bread is sure to fill you up while also curbing your sweet tooth.
9. Crispy Healthy Baked Zucchini Fries by Chocolate Covered Katie
Fries seem like one of those irresistible snacks, but they’re typically just junk food that does your body more harm than good. Next time the craving comes on, opt for these healthy baked zucchini fries instead. At just 35 calories, they’re the perfect guilt-free comfort food.
10. Cashew Pesto with Zucchini Noodles by Get Healthy U
Craving something creamy and rich? It can be healthy too! This recipe is full of flavor, packed with vegetables and is easy to whip up. Add it to your meatless Monday for something comforting and delicious.
11. Turkey Zucchini Pizza Lasagna by Food Faith Fitness
When a recipe has “pizza” and “lasagna” in the title, it’s bound to be bad for you, right? Not this time. Gluten-free, low-carb and packed with nutritional value, this meal is extremely healthy and heavenly to the taste buds.
- One of the easiest ways to get zucchini into your diet is to simply grill it. All it needs is a little olive oil and salt and pepper for an easy, nutritious side. P.S. we love cutting our zucchini lengthwise or at an angle into 1/2 inch strips rather than into circles. It makes for a bit more fun presentation and holds together nicely.
- Zucchini makes a great ingredient when baking to keep all your treats moist. You can replace it 1 for 1 with oil.