The other day I wrote about anti-inflammatory herbs and foods you can grow to create a medicine chest in your backyard.
I know many of you reading this don’t necessarily have the time or the space to grow all kinds of different foods.
But if you have a few extra square feet to grow anything… then I highly recommend going with the zucchini.
This vegetable is absolutely great for the backyard gardener.
Zucchini grows like a weed and the yields off just one plant can be astounding. One zucchini plant can easily produce 20+ two pound zucchinis over the course of a summer. All you need is a little bit of soil and water and you’re good to go.
That’s the first reason to get a zucchini plant growing… the other 7 reasons have to do with how zucchinis will positively affect your health.
I made a list of the 7 great reasons to get more zucchini in your diet.
7 Great Reasons
To Add Zucchini To Your Diet
1 – They may help improve adrenal and thyroid function: I believe anything and everything you can do to improve your adrenal function should be pursued with vigor.
Since so many people suffer from adrenal fatigue and the corresponding disruption it creates for other hormone levels, it means it’s one of the most important (and most often neglected) areas of health you could focus on.
Zucchinis may be able to help you get your adrenal gland in tip-top shape. Back in 2008, researchers at the the Endocrine Research Unit at Devi University in India took samplings of the peel of zucchinis and analyzed them. What they found were unusually high concentrations of polyphenols and ascorbic acid in the extract of the peels.
They tested those extracts on rats and found the rats had notable improvement in adrenal and thyroid function as well as an increase in overall insulin regulation. The researchers believe it was the antioxidants in the extract of the skin that helped the rats maintain healthy levels of adrenal and thyroid hormones.
2 – They can help boost energy levels: B vitamins are absolutely necessary for sustained energy. As luck would have it, zucchini is loaded with B vitamins including riboflavin and vitamin B-6, along with folate.
These vitamins are specifically tied to increasing energy levels by keeping your metabolism running at full speed.
They also help digest protein and carbohydrates, both of which are necessary for maintaining constant energy levels through the day.
3 – They help reduce heart damaging inflammation: If you want to feel better and want to avoid the pitfalls many trip up on, then you’d be wise to avoid inflammation.
Some of the most powerful foods that help fight inflammation are turmeric, blueberries, pomegranate…and zucchini! Who knew these oblong green squashes would be vital in helping fight one of the biggest health scourges on the planet?
As you learned above, zucchini were observed to have high levels of polyphenols in their skin. These polyphenols are antioxidants which are known to work against the harm caused by inflammation.
Another compound found in zucchinis that is known to help reduce inflammation is pectin.
Observations of pectin fiber have shown it’s beneficial for improving arterial and cardiovascular health while simultaneously reducing disease-causing inflammation. This reduction in inflammation can also help increase insulin sensitivity which might prevent diabetes (a known risk factor in the development of heart issues).
4 – They’re great for improving digestion: if you’ve ever read about leaky-gut and the problems associated with it, then this should be a great reason to eat zucchini.
Leaky gut is linked to the ingestion of inflammatory foods. When inflammation occurs, it causes intestinal permeability, which allows food particles meant to stay in the digestive tract to migrate into the bloodstream, which may result in chronic inflammation as well as autoimmune responses. These responses include IBS, IBD, Crohn’s and other digestive conditions.
Foods like zucchini are believed to help reduce or even reverse these conditions as they’re rich in antioxidants that reduce the severity of inflammation.
Not to mention, zucchini is high in water content which is necessary for proper hydration…loaded with gut-healthy fiber…and is rich in essential electrolytes.
5 – They keep your eyes healthy: Everyone thinks carrots are the vegetable you want to eat to maintain healthy eyes. While this is true, carrots are high in sugar and aren’t all that great to eat as your main “eye-improver.”
Zucchini is rich in vitamin A, the nutrient carrots are known to have in boundless supply.
But it’s not just vitamin A keeps that eyes healthy.
“All types of summer squash (and winter squash, too) offer a good dose of phytonutrients like vitamin C, manganese, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin that protect eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoid antioxidants found in zucchini that often get attention for defending the eyes from age-related diseases, thus offering natural treatment for macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.
They work by protecting the retina, cornea and macula from UV light damage and oxidative stress that can lead to loss of vision and even blindness. In addition to protecting the delicate tissues of eyes, they can keep skin youthful and free from signs of aging, too.”
6 – They can help you lose weight: A diet filled with zucchini is a diet that could certainly lead to losing weight.
The reason why is zucchini is filled with appetite-suppressing fiber. 1.5 cups of zucchini provide roughly 3 grams of fiber, which will make you feel fuller, longer. 1.5 cups of zucchini also is loaded with a lot of water.
Many times people mistake dehydration with hunger and eat to quench their thirst. By eating zucchini, you’ll not only fill up on a healthy, low-calorie, low carbohydrate food… you can also satisfy thirst and avoid overeating other foods that might make you gain weight.
7 – They may help boost immune function: Zucchinis are really high in vitamin C, which means you don’t need to turn to the OJ to get your fill of this immune-boosting antioxidant. The interesting thing here is most of the vitamin C you get from zucchinis comes from the seeds. This is one reason you’ll want to eat the whole vegetable.
One serving of zucchini has roughly 50% of the daily amount of vitamin C you need for maximum health. Vitamin C can positively affect your immune health in a number of ways.
Dr. Axe continues:
“ Vitamin C foods can help maintain the crucial lining of your blood cells, lower blood pressure, and protect against inflammation and clogged arteries.
Seeds from squash plants also have a long history of use in traditional and folk medicines when it comes to immune system boosting. Historically, seeds from squash were believed to be antimicrobial and offer antiparasitic properties, so populations believed that zucchini nutrition positively benefited gut, nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.”
And Did I Mention It’s Easy to Grow?
Easily one of the best reasons to have zucchini in your diet is because you can grow it with little trouble.
That’s the number one reason I would consider making it a staple.
You can get it from the grocery store, no doubt.
But nothing’s better than enjoying the fruit (or the vegetable) of your labors and with growing zucchini being as simple as it is, this vegetable should be a mainstay on your table if you want to improve your health.