Zucchini is a low-calorie food that can help you lose weight as part of an overall healthy diet. However, the benefits of this squash go beyond calorie control.
“Because of its rich antioxidant content, zucchini can also protect against a variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, certain types of cancer, and age-related cognitive decline,” explains Gillespie.
Below is a more in-depth look at what the current research says about the potential health benefits of eating zucchini.
May Help With Weight Management
(Zucchini’s high water content also makes it a convenient way to add extra water to your diet, Rizzo notes.)
For example, swap out one cup of pasta or rice for one cup of zucchini noodles (or “zoodles”), and you’ll significantly reduce your calorie intake while still getting the same volume of food.
May Promote a Healthy Gut
Overall, the recommended daily fiber intake for adults ages 19 to 50 is at least 25 g per day for women and 38 g per day for men. If you’re trying to increase your fiber intake with produce like zucchini, do so gradually and drink plenty of water to help reduce gas and constipation.
May Reduce Cancer Risk
One recent study found that cucurbitacin types B and I, which are compounds naturally found in zucchini, pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers, may limit the development of colon cancer by blocking the growth of cancer stem cells.
Additional research analyzing zucchini’s effects on the development of other types of cancer is needed to determine whether this squash could prevent overall cancer risk.
May Improve Cardiovascular Health
Fibrous foods like zucchini may also help you manage cholesterol by preventing your body from taking in some of the cholesterol you consume via other foods. This may help reduce your overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels — and, in turn, your risk of heart disease.
Can Help With Blood Sugar Control
Zucchini and other types of summer squash are nonstarchy vegetables that can also be more satiating than starchier vegetable options.