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Nutritional Benefits of Zucchini

on August 7, 2012

Zucchini is by far one of the most popular summer squash varieties.  They are affordable, easy to find, and versatile to cook with.  The peak season for zucchini is July-September.  Anyone who has grown them in their garden will tell you that they usually have more zucchini than they know what to do with every summer, which also helps with their popularity since they are easy to grow.

Zucchini is one of the very low calories vegetable that is used during weight reduction and cholesterol control programs. Zucchini has only 17 calories per 1/2 cup. They contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. The peel is good source of dietary fiber, which is why it is recommended to leave it on when cooking.

Zucchini is relatively moderate source of folates, consists of 24 mcg or 6% of RDA per 100 g. Folates are important in cell division and DNA synthesis. When taken adequately before pregnancy, it can help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.

It is a very good source of potassium, which is a heart friendly electrolyte; helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.

Zucchini, especially golden skin variety are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species from the body that play a role in aging and various disease process.

They are also great sources of  B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and potassium.

Easy Ways To Add Zucchini Into Your Diet

– Throw slices on the grill at the next BBQ

– Saute shredded zucchini with your favorite spices and top with a little parmesan

– Take your favorite toppings for traditional stuffed peppers and put them in hollowed zucchini halves for a healthy side!

-Add diced zucchini to your favorite pasta sauce for an added veggie bonus.

Source:

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com

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