Zucchini has long been loved for its versatility. You can eat any number of ways: Sauté it as a dinner side, include it in a stir fry, spiralize it into pasta, or do something completely different. But while you likely knew it was a healthy veg, it has several specific health benefits that might surprise you.
Heart Health Benefits
Research shows that zucchini is effective in reducing the body’s cholesterol, specifically targeting “bad” cholesterol that’s often responsible for heart problems, weight gain, and unstable blood sugar levels.
Additionally, it’s high in potassium, which helps dilate blood vessels. This enables cells to open and accept as much oxygen as possible in one swoop, improving blood circulation and overall heart health.
Moreover, studies indicate that plant-based foods rich in compounds called carotenoids — which zucchini has plenty of! — play a special role in fighting signs of aging in cells.
Weight Loss Benefits
Because zucchini has a low caloric density and is high in water content, it will fill you up quickly while simultaneously delivering the key nutrients your body needs for optimal functioning. And since it’s extra fibrous, it also ensures that food is moving through your digestive tract and properly expelling excess waste and toxins.
Zucchini is rich in two key ingredients for eye health: Vitamin C and beta-carotene. They help keep your vision sharp over time and protect it from age-related deterioration.
It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin. These vital antioxidants lower the risk of contracting macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of irreversible eye damage in older adults and can result in permanent vision loss. Plus, research shows that people who eat diets high in both of these compounds are less likely to develop cataracts down the line.
The next time you’re looking for a delicious veggie with big health benefits, reach for a zucchini or two.