Zucchini is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. In England, a fully grown zucchini is referred to as a marrow. Along with certain other squashes and pumpkins, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchinis can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color. It resembles a cucumber in appearance but some varieties are round.
Types of Zucchini:
Almost all the members of the squash family comprise of vegetables that have smooth, tender skin and flesh with small, edible seeds and high moisture content. There are several varieties of zucchini, depending upon their cultivars. Some popular varieties are as follows.
This variety is characterised by brilliant golden yellow to orange skin which retains its colour even after being cooked.
These are dense, heavy and almost seedless with a smooth surface.
Commonly found in Mexico, their features are similar to the round variety except that they have a large oval shape.
Also known as “cocozelle”, this is basically a long and narrow variety with a slight bulge at the bottom end. It has a mottled green skin with pale, raised ribs. When solid and immature, it has a juicy and sweet taste.
These are characterized by thick warty skin with markedly curved necks. They have a crunchy texture and a sweet delicate flavour.
Middle-eastern variety: As evident from their name, this variety is common in the Middle Eastern countries. In India it is referred to as “tori”. They have stocky, pale green, tapering ends with a thick dark green stem. They are characterized by smooth, shiny skin and solid, crispy and flavorful flesh.
Wonderful health Benefits of Zucchini:
Zucchini has high magnesium content with one cup providing over 10% of the RDA. This mineral reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also contains folic acid, a vitamin that is required to break down the dangerous amino acid, homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine in your blood can cause heart attack and thrombosis i.e. blood clotting.
Helps in Weight Management:
Zucchini is effective for weight management due to its healthy combination of high fiber and moisture content and a low calorie content. Zucchinis is a rich source of antioxidants, Vitamin A and C and dietary fiber, you can effectively lose weight by consuming it without depriving your body of vital nutrients.
The high levels of fiber in zucchinis prevent carcinogenic toxins from settling in the colon as well as promote healthy and regular bowel movements. Vitamins A and C are strong anti-oxidizing agents that destroy the carcinogens which can lead to different types of malignant cancers.
Zucchini has a high water content which hydrates your skin. Water in general is beneficial for your skin as it flushes out toxins from your system. Regular consumption of zucchinis helps restore the moisture of your skin, providing you with a glowing skin.
Lowers Blood Pressure:
Potassium and magnesium found in it help in lowering blood pressure levels in the body. Regular consumption of zucchini benefits those suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Maintains Eye Health:
Zucchini vegetable is a great source of Vitamin A which is beneficial for eye health. Vitamin C along with beta carotene, zinc and manganese acts as an antioxidant to protect your eyes. It can also be used externally to remove puffy bags around your eyes which can be caused due to excessive water retention.
Helps Lower Cholesterol:
The high-fiber content in it helps in lowering cholesterol. The high levels of vitamin A and Vitamin C delays the beginning of atherosclerosis by keeping the cholesterol from oxidizing the body’s blood vessels. it rids the body of excess toxins.
Zucchini is a good source of Vitamins A and C which are powerful antioxidants. Vitamin A helps in maintaining a healthy skin whereas Vitamin C fights the harmful free radicals. These free radicals are responsible for causing ageing of the skin, resulting in the appearance of spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
Promotes Hair Growth:
It is rich in Vitamin A and C and Vitamin C is vital for maintaining healthy collagen in the connective tissue and around the hair follicles. Vitamin A, on the other hand, protects your hair from free radicals. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause hair dryness.
Gout is a painful condition of the inflammation of the joints, caused due to excessive uric acid in the body. It is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory carotenoids that can counter the effects of excessive uric acid. Gout affects your knees and feet and often results in difficulties in walking. Its treatment requires a strict diet control which includes an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and zero intake of red meat and fatty foods. The alkaline property of zucchini acts against the uric acid in your joints, thus relieving its symptoms. It also contains powerful antioxidant vitamins, A and C which along with copper prevent the development of many hyper-inflammatory disorders like asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Beneficial in Diabetes:
The abundance of Vitamin B complex in zucchini benefits diabetes Diabetes is caused due to the inability of the body to metabolise and regulate the level of sugar in your blood. There are many types of diabetes and it is particularly effective in warding off type-2 diabetes.
Ways to have Zucchini in your diet:
Zucchini Cutlet (Tikki):
Green zucchini grated 1 medium
Yellow zucchini grated 1 medium
Potatoes boiled, peeled and grated 2 medium
Oil 1 tablespoon
Garlic cloves chopped 7-8
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon
Chaat masala 1/4 teaspoon
Garam masala powder 1 teaspoon
Fresh coriander leaves chopped1 tablespoon
Breadcrumbs ½ cup
- Heat one tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan, add garlic and sauté for ten to fifteen seconds.
- Add green and yellow zucchini, mix well and sauté for two minutes.
- Add salt, mix well and sauté on high heat till the vegetables are done.
- Place mashed potatoes in a mixing bowl, add the sautéed vegetables and mix well.
- Add red chilli powder, cumin powder, one-fourth teaspoon chaat masala, garam masala powder, coriander leaves and half cup breadcrumbs and mix well.
- Divide the mixture into eight equal portions and shape them into tikkis. Coat the tikkis with breadcrumbs and dust off excess.
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan, place the tikkis in it and shallow-fry, turning sides, till evenly done on both sides.
- Sprinkle chaat masala on top and serve hot.