Zucchini, otherwise called courgette, is a summer squash popularly prepared fried, grilled, baked, or cooked in soups and stews. Though we’ve come to know of squash as a solid and starchy vegetable that needs lengthy cooking, zucchini differs in that the entire vegetable, from its flesh, skin, and seeds, are all tender and therefore may all be consumed even when raw. This is because zucchini is harvested while still immature. It is one of the types of squashes that are not hardy. The vegetable was not stored for the cold months and was eaten while in season back when storage technology was absent, hence the name summer squash. Undoubtedly a nutritious vegetable, zucchini should be included in your diet, though only in reasonable amounts.
Continue reading and discover more about the pros and cons of zucchini and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this vegetable.
Zucchini belongs to the Cucurbita pepo species which was the subject of an India-based study. As it turns out, this species of summer squash protects against the development of ulcer of the stomach and the duodenum, which is the section of the small intestine that connects it to the stomach. In the study, said ulcers were induced in laboratory rats by giving them aspirin. After fourteen days of administering the extract of ripe Cucurbita pepo, mucosal thickening of the stomach and duodemun was observed, confirming the gastroduodenum-protective and overall anti-ulcerogenic mechanism of Cucurbita pepo.
Squash has also been found to contain measurable amounts of pectin, a type of polysaccharide that shows potential for dietary therapy for diabetes. The Cucurbita species of squash, of which zucchini belongs to, has been studied in Slovakia, and it’s been found that the pectin in this species of squash has antitussive effects. In the study, coughing was induced in guinea pigs by administering citric acid. Afterwards, pectin polysaccharides were given orally to the subjects and their coughing reflex decreased. The results were then compared to the antitussive effects of codeine, a type of opiate, and pectin polysaccharides had comparable, and in some cases even higher cough-suppressing activity than codeine.
Phytonutrients are abundant in zucchini as well and continued research has brought forth discovery of various phytochemicals present in Cucurbita pepo. These compounds have shown multi-targeted prevention of cancer by scavenging and killing free radicals and preventing chronic inflammation as well.
Zucchini has oxalates, compounds which naturally occur in our body and which tend to crystallize when in excess amounts. Individuals with impaired kidney and gallbladder functions must first consult with their doctors prior to incorporating zucchini in their diet to avoid aggravating their respective medical conditions.
Zucchini is one of the fifty fruits and vegetables with alarming levels of organophosphate residue as well, this according to the Environmental Working Group. Minimizing exposure to petrochemicals is crucial as it’s been shown to bring about birth defects and various illnesses like cancer.
Zucchini’s Practical Uses:
Opt to choose organically grown zucchini whenever you can. For one, doing so will minimize your exposure to dangerous pesticides. For another, organically grown zucchini is superior in terms of flavor and nutrition than its conventionally farmed counterpart.
Steaming has shown to be most suitable cooking method in terms of nutrient retention. Using this method to prepare zucchini doesn’t take long, too. Just make sure the water in the steamer pot is briskly boiling first prior to putting in the steamer basket with the sliced pieces of zucchini and it should take no more than three minutes to complete.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of romaine lettuce and how to moderately use it in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the vegetables on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Bok Choy
Also avoid if autoimmune disease or nightshade sensitivity:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of zucchini, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of zucchini.