Zucchini is a lightly flavored, low calorie vegetable that packs a bevy of benefits for those who include it in their diet.  Just one cup has 36 calories and 10% of the RDA of dietary fiber.  Dietary fiber aids in healthy digestion, prevents constipation, helps prevent carcinogenic toxins from settling in the colon, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating. 

Vitamins C and A, as well as folate, found in zucchini act as powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative damage from free radicals which plays a huge role in many of our modern day diseases.  They help prevent and slow the formation of many different types of cancers, muscle and tissue degeneration, heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems. You are exposed to free radicals as a normal bi-product of regular bodily processes, like breaking down the food we eat, taking toxic medicines and exposure to pollutants.  Over exposure to the sun (sunburn) and cigarette smoking can also increase your body’s need to oxidize and create free-radicals. Antioxidants stop this cellular chain reaction of oxidation by neutralizing the free radicals.  Vitamins C and A are also effective anti-inflammatory agents that help deter the development of many hyper-inflammatory disorders such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Zucchini also contains magnesium which helps reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and helps lower blood pressure.  It also is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, improve sleep (insomnia), lessen symptoms of fatigue and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression.  It’s an important factor that allows nerves to send messages in the brain and nervous system, aids and regulates the body’s use of calcium and other minerals, assists in bone and teeth formation, and regulates the metabolism of nutrients such as protein, nucleic acids, fats and carbohydrates.  Magnesium also plays a role in regulating cholesterol production and helping modulate insulin sensitivity, assists in energy production, DNA transcription and protein synthesis.

Another important mineral found in zucchini is manganese; one cup contains 19% of the RDA.  Manganese contributes to a slew of normal physiological functions including helping the body metabolize protein and carbohydrates, participates in the production of sex hormones, and catalyzes the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol.  Manganese is also important for healthy skin, proper wound-healing, healthy bone structure and metabolism.

So why not add zucchini to your regular diet to enjoy these great benefits that will keep you healthy and happier!