Zucchini 101

Summer’s end is quickly approaching, which means the beginning of another beautiful season- Fall! From BBQ’s to baking – zucchini is perfect for this transitioning month.

The zucchini, also known as the summer squash, belongs to the Cucurbita pepo family, and was thought to have start growing domestically in Mexico.  The summer squash comes in different varieties: crookneck, vegetable marrow, and zucchini to, name a few, and are eaten before the seeds harden, as an unripe fruit. Compared to winter squash, summer squashes mature rather quickly and can be harvested within 50days.

This water packed, low calorie veggie makes a delightful addition to a variety of dishes. Pick it up a your local grocery store year round, but for a low cost/best favor purchase during peak season which is from July to late September.

Nutrient Values

½ cup serving  (cooked) – 14 calories

  • 2 g carbohydrate
  • 1 g fiber
  • 1 g protein
  • 0 g fat
  • 57 g water

Health Benefits:

Vitamin C

The zucchini is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a 1/2cup serving (cooked) provides 12mg. Recommendations for this vitamin are 75-90mg/day

Vitamin C benefits: 

• Plays big role in our immune system, Helps keep our immune system healthy.

  • Helps our bodies absorb iron from plant sources

• Antioxidant – scavenges damaging free radicals in our bodies. Since it is water soluble, it destroys free radicals in a lot of different areas of our bodies.

• Helps keep gums, bones, and muscles healthy

Folate

Folate is a B vitamin required during pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Although highly important for women it is also required for men. It is found naturally in a variety food like: dark leafy greens, edamame, oranges, beets, broccoli, liver, flaxseed, and asparagus.

Recommendations for adults (19 years+) is 400 mcg per day, pregnancy changes these requirement to 600mcg/day, and breastfeeding 500mcg/day. A ½ cup serving of cooked zucchini provides 25 mcg of folate.

 Folate benefits:

• Involved in making & maintaining cells and DNA

• Prevents anemia

• Helps make red blood cells

• Prevention of neural tube defects

 Vitamin A

This green veggie is a good source of Vitamin A, adding about 300RAE’s to your diet (per ½ cup serving, cooked). Recommendations call for 700 RAE/day for females and 900 RAE/day for males.

Vitamin A benefits:

• Support healthy eyes, and aids with seeing the dark.

• Contributes to protein synthesis and cell differentiation, for normal growth and development.

• Promotes a healthy defense system (skin, stomach, intestines, and respiratory tracts)

• Supports a healthy reproduction system

 

How to Pick and Store:

Choose zucchini’s that firm, and feel heavy for their size. The skin should be shiny and blemish free. Keep in mind smaller size have better flavor and texture than the larger ones.

Store this veggie in the refrigerator’s crisper and use within one week (depending on ripeness level at purchase)

 

Preparation Method:

Wash zucchini under cool running water. Try fresh, grilled, sautéed, grated and added to baked goods. With its blend of mild flavor and pleasant texture, the zucchini compliments a variety of dishes (see our pinterest board for recipes).

September 11, 2012
Revive Wellness