Zucchini squash (courgette) is one of the most popular summer squashes in Americas and Europe. Like in other gourd vegetables, it also belongs in the Cucurbitaceae (Cucurbita-pepo) family of vegetables.
Some popular varieties are:
Golden zucchini features bright golden-yellow skin that retains its colour even after cooking.
Round types are dense, heavy, and nearly seedless with a smooth surface.
Tatume, which is common in Mexico, has similar features of round variety but has the large oval shape.
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Health benefits of zucchini (courgette)
Zucchini is one of the very low-calorie vegetables; provide only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is an excellent source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
Zucchinis have antioxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 180 Trolox Equivalents (TE) per 100g, the value which is far below to some of the berries, and vegetables.
Nonetheless, the pods are one of the common food ingredients included in weight reduction and cholesterol control programs by the dieticians.
Furthermore, zucchini nutrition, especially golden skin varieties, is rich in flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the body that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
Courgette hold relatively moderate amounts of folates; provides 24 µg or 6% of RDA per 100 g. Folates are important in cell division and DNA synthesis. When taken adequately during early pregnancy it can help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
It is an excellent source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure effects of sodium.
Fresh pods, indeed, are an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin-C. Provide about 17.9 µg or 30% of daily required levels per 100 g.
Also, they contain moderate levels of the B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.