In this brief article we will answer the query,” Is zucchini a fruit?” We will also discuss the nutritional profile of zucchini. We will talk about the health benefits of zucchini.
Is zucchini a fruit?
Yes, zucchini also known as courgette is technically a fruit although it tends to be widely referred to as a veggie. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) it is categorized in the “Vegetables & Vegetable Products” Food group.
Zucchini comes from seeds and it grows on the flowering parts of the zucchini plant which makes it a fruit. Although from a culinary point of view, most people consider it a veggie since vegetables are not considered as sweet as fruits, which is a flawed perception and not scientifically based.
What is the nutritional profile of zucchini?
Zucchini is choking full of essential vitamins and minerals as well as other beneficial plant compounds. A serving size of 223 grams of cooked zucchini which is about a cup can deliver about:
- Calories: 17
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: < 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 3 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 40 percent of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 16 percent of the DV
- Vitamin C: 14 percent of the DV
Zucchini also has small trace amounts of calcium, iron, zinc and some B vitamins. Due to its good amounts of Vitamin A it is beneficial for good vision and can boost the immune system.
Raw zucchini also contains about the same nutritional value as cooked zucchini with less Vit A & C which tend to be lost in the cooking process.
What are the health benefits of zucchini?
Good source of powerful antioxidants
Zucchini is high in potent antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural plant based molecules that help protect the body from oxidative stress that comes with aging and fight any free radicals by neutralizing any free radicals.
Zucchini contains antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, lutein and Beta-carotene. These antioxidants are good for the skin, eyes and also the heart and can assist reduce the risk of heart related diseases.
Studies have also shown that antioxidants can help protect against some types of cancer such as prostate cancer. The skin of zucchini has the highest amounts of antioxidants and yellow zucchinis have been found to contain slightly more antioxidants than the light green variants.
It helps with good digestion of foods
Zucchini is also good for digestion and it does this in a no. of ways. It contains a lot of water which assists in softening the stool making them easier to move and pass and also decreases constipation.
As evident in the nutrition profile it is a rich source of fiber both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and assists in the movement of food through the intestines easily thus decreasing the risk of constipation.
Soluble fiber on the other hand, feeds good bacteria in the gut and the bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that help in the nourishment of the gut cells
Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) can assist in lowering inflammation and also symptoms of gut disorders such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It can assist with development of good vision
Incorporating zucchini as part of your diet can assist in the development of good vision. This is because it is an excellent source of Vitamin C and beta-carotene which are essential for eye health.
It also has antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which have been found by studies to accumulate in the retina and result in good vision as well as reduce effects of age related eye diseases as you get older.
It can also reduce the risk of macular degeneration which is said to be the no. 1 leading cause of vision loss in the elderly.
Diets which are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein have also been found to reduce the risk of development of cataracts.
It can assist with weight loss
Consumption of zucchini can also assist in your weightloss journey. This is attributed with its high water content and low calories density which all promote satiety.
It also has a high fiber content which assists in reducing hunger and lowering appetite levels.
Studies have also linked regular consumption of fruits and veggies with weight loss and slower rate of weight gain over time.
In this brief article we have answered the query,” Is zucchini a fruit?” We have also discussed the nutritional profile of zucchini. We have talked about the health benefits of zucchini.