Zucchini or courgette, scientific name Cucurbita Pepo, is a plant of the Cucurbitaceae family. Its fruits, the zucchini, are collected and eaten immature and are characterized by an elongated shape. The color of the peel of zucchini is bright green but, depending on the variety, it may also be light green or yellow. Zucchini are a widely used ingredient in cooking, so let's understand their health properties and have also some ideas for tasty and healthy zucchini recipes.
Zucchini are a valuable source of mineral salts, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium, vitamins, especially of the B group and vitamin C, carotenoids, including lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin, and phenolic compounds. Zucchini have antioxidant properties, thus resulting capable of counteracting DNA damage caused by free radicals, but are also anticancer, antiviral, antimicrobial and analgesic (Martínez-Valdivieso et al, Nutrients, 2017). The carotenoids, of which the zucchini are rich, protect the heart, the skin, by helping to prevent the damage of photo-aging such as dark spots, sagging skin and wrinkles, but also the eyesight from diseases caused by aging (Fiedor et al, Nutrients , 2014). The yellow-skinned variety has been observed to contain more carotenoids than the green-skinned variety. Lutein can be present in an amount up to six times higher in the pulp of the courgette with yellow peel compared to the green one (Martínez-Valdivieso et al, Nutrients, 2017). Finally, courgettes contain water, thus resulting diuretics, and are also a source of fiber, which helps to counteract constipation and plays a role in keeping blood sugar values ??under control (FDA Database, Wang et al, J Diabetes Investig, 2016).
Zucchini are very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, they can be eaten raw or cooked and enrich the dressing of pasta, rice and pizza and the filling of wraps. Not only that, courgettes cooked in a pan are an excellent side dish with fish or meat dishes. In the Healthy Food section, you can find several ideas that can inspire you, such as Rice and Zucchini pie of aunt Luisa, a yummy Italian recipe, but also pasta with zucchini, cherry tomatoes and zucchini flowers to fill up on antioxidants. And don't forget the trio of side dishes, which you can find in the Healthy Food section, where courgettes are proposed raw seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, pepper, soy sauce and pine nuts!