Technically a fruit, but used as a vegetable, zucchini is a great way to bolster health. It is imperative that you buy organic, though, as non-organic varieties are known for having high levels of pesticide residue.
While we may think of zucchini as a vegetable it is, like tomatoes, technically a fruit. Whether you want to call it a fruit or vegetable, the fact is eating a zucchini can benefit your health in a variety of ways. First, let’s take the water content. Zucchini is about 95% water. This is more than a watermelon (which is about 92% water) and just under that of lettuce (around 96% water). Water it is important in muscle flexion, transporting oxygen to the cells, and a host of other biological functions. Not only is eating zucchini a good way to rehydrate, it also provides natural sugars and electrolytes such as potassium that are lost during a workout.
Zucchini also contains a high amount of antioxidants, chemicals that fight damage caused by free radicals. Of these antioxidants, zucchini contains over 40% of the daily goal for lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help promote healthy eyes. Another nutrient important in the fight against free radicals is vitamin C. One cup of zucchini contains well over 20% of the daily recommended value for this immune system-boosting vitamin. Vitamin C is also essential in the production of collagen, which gives skin its elasticity and youthful look. Manganese, of which around 10% of the daily value is present in a one-cup serving of zucchini, is also essential in collagen production and as an antioxidant. Furthermore, it is involved in the production of bone tissue.
Manganese isn’t the only mineral found in zucchini that promotes healthy bones. Also gained from eating zucchini are magnesium, which is essential in bone metabolism, and phosphorus, which teams up with calcium (also found in zucchini) to strengthen bones. These bone-friendly minerals help prevent problems such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
One risk associated with consuming zucchini is that it contains oxalates. While oxalates are produced naturally in the body, excessive amounts can crystallize, leading to kidney stones. Therefore, it is not generally recommended to eat too much zucchini in one sitting. Another potential problem related to zucchini is that of pesticide residue. Zucchinis are known to contain high amounts of residue, which have been linked to a wide range of side effects including ADHD and CNS damage. To avoid this, we recommend buying organic and making sure to thoroughly wash the zucchini before use. Soaking your produce in a 10% / 90% vinegar-water solution is a surefire way to wash away most of the residue.
Possible short-term side effects
- when consumed in excessive amounts, oxalates can crystallize, leading to an increased risk of kidney stones
Possible long-term side effects
- pesticide residue:
- adhd (in children)
- colon problems
- alzheimer's disease
- nervous system damage
Ingredients to be aware of
- pesticide residue
- help rehydrate
- promotes eye health
- promotes bone health
- promotes skin help
- fights free radicals
- reduces the risk of cancer
- reduces risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-27-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
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