Discover the 21 shocking health benefits of Italian pumpkin.
The Italian squash, also known as zucchini, is a summer squash native to the Americas, belonging to the Cucurbita pepo species, along with some other types of squash.
It is usually dark or light green. Golden zucchini (yellow squash), another variety, is deep orange/yellow.
The Italian squash is generally treated as a vegetable and cooked and served as a side, but botanically speaking, it is a fruit.
Although basically from the Americas, squash varieties developed in the northern part of Italy after the 1850s.
The flower of the Italian squash is edible and is generally used to garnish food. The fruit is also widely used in nations such as Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, and Mexico.
Squash comes in numerous varieties. Some of the popular ones are:
• Aristocrat: Where the fruit has waxy skin and is medium green in color.
• Gold Rush: Where the fruit is golden.
• Black squash, where the skin is dark green, and the fruit has white flesh. This is the most common variety of squash.
• Embassy: Which is a medium green fruit carried by a thornless plant.
• Sweet Gourmet: Which is a Lebanese variety that is very light and has creamy green skin.
• Squash Gadzukes, green fruit with clear light green ridges.
These are some of the popular types. But what is the Italian squash for? Whether eaten raw or cooked, it contains a powerful group of essential nutrients.
Several studies have revealed why this fruit is so wonderful. But is it good for you? Yes absolutely! First of all, the calorie count is very low.
But how many calories does it have? One cup of sliced squash contains about 19 calories. That’s. Oh yeah, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are great, but this one has a much lower calorie count. Given its richness in potassium, it also works wonders for the heart.
It regulates blood sugar, the failure of which can lead to one of the most serious diseases on the planet.
It also contains starch components that can possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Squash is also low in cholesterol. So if you’re on a weight-loss mission, this pumpkin could be a great option.
As you may have imagined, there are many other health benefits of zucchini.
Italian squash (Cucumis pepo), raw with skin
Nutritional value per 100 g.
• Energy 17 Kcal <1%
• Carbohydrates 3.11 g 2.5%
• Protein 1.21 g 2%
• Total fat 0.32 g 1%
• Cholesterol 0mg 0%
• Dietary fiber 1 g 3%
• Folates 24 μg 6%
• Niacin 0.451 mg 3%
• Pantothenic acid 0.204 mg 5%
• Pyridoxine 0.163 mg 13%
• Riboflavin 0.094 mg 7%
• Thiamine 0.045 mg 4%
• Vitamin A 200 IU 7%
• Vitamin C 17.9 mg 30%
• Vitamin E 0.12 mg <1%
• Vitamin K 4.3 μg 4%
• Sodium 8 mg 0.5%
• Potassium 261mg 5.5%
• Calcium 16 mg 1.6%
• Iron 0.37 mg 5%
• Magnesium 18 mg 4%
• Manganese 0.17 mg 8%
• Phosphorus 38 mg 5%
• Selenium 0.2 μg <1%
• Zinc 0.32 mg 3%
• Carotene-ß 120 μg –
• Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 μg –
• Lutein-zeaxanthin 2125 μg –
• Squash is a low-starch fruit. Which means it is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
• This means that it will fill you up and discourage overeating.
• That is precisely what most people looking to lose weight want.
• The fruit is also high in water content that can keep you full for longer periods.
• It is a food with a low glycemic index. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables and low-fat foods has been linked to healthy weight loss and weight maintenance.
• Another benefit of high-fiber foods is that they require more chewing, so the individual takes longer to eat and cannot consume a large number of calories in a short period.
• Zucchini is low in cholesterol, sodium, and fat, and helps maintain a carbohydrate balance, a requirement for optimal heart health.
• Another reason why squash works so well for the heart is the presence of fiber. High fiber intakes have been associated with significantly lower risks of developing stroke, hypertension, and heart disease.
• It is rich in folate, and according to a Chinese study, folate intake is inversely related to the risk of heart disease.
• The fact that it is rich in other nutrients like potassium and magnesium makes zucchini a superfood for the heart.
• Another nutrient in zucchini that deserves your attention is riboflavin, which is a B-complex vitamin essential for energy production.
• The fruit is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that were found to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
• Squash is also a good source of vitamin A that has been shown to improve eye health.
• It is also a wonderful source of beta-carotene that can improve eye health and offer protection against infection.
• Non-starchy foods like squash can help treat diabetes.
• And dietary fiber, which is packed with squash, can slow glucose absorption and help patients with type 2 diabetes.
• A German study claims that insoluble fiber can be very effective in preventing type 2 diabetes.
• Higher fiber intake is also associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is one of the contributing factors to diabetes.
• According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, soluble fiber can improve glucose tolerance in diabetics.
• Squash is one of the few foods that does not contain cholesterol and therefore you can include it in your diet to lower cholesterol.
• Soluble fiber has been found to interfere with cholesterol absorption.
• This helps reduce bad or LDL cholesterol in the blood.
• According to an Iranian study, the high levels of vitamin C in squash help cure asthma.
• The anti-inflammatory properties of squash also contribute to the treatment of asthma.
• Along with vitamin C, squash also contains copper which is much more effective in treating asthma.
• The fiber in squash is the most important reason it can help in the treatment of colon cancer.
• Fiber does many things: it absorbs excess water in the colon, retains enough moisture in the stool, and helps it pass out of the body smoothly, because of all this, fiber works very well in preventing colon cancer.
• Although precise knowledge about fiber subtypes (soluble or insoluble) is important in this regard, dietary fiber as a whole has been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
• According to a study, dietary fiber plays an important role in regulating normal intestinal function and maintaining a healthy mucous membrane in the intestine.
• Although the exact amount and type of fiber are not yet clearly known, an expert panel in the study recommended a fiber intake of 20 to 35 grams per day to prevent colon cancer.
• Lutein can also reduce the risk of colon cancer.
• According to a report published by the University of Rhode Island, green fruits and vegetables, such as squash, promote healthy digestion.
• The dietary fiber in zucchini adds bulk to your diet and aids digestion. Be sure to gradually introduce fiber into your diet though, increasing dietary fiber in your diet too quickly can lead to bloating, abdominal cramps, and even gas.
• Dietary fiber has been found to form the main food components that have a low energy value and are therefore of particular importance.
• The Italian squash, being rich in potassium, is one of the most preferred foods to combat hypertension.
• Surprisingly, zucchini has more potassium than a banana.
• Potassium is vasoactive, which means it can affect the diameter of your blood vessels. And therefore, blood pressure as well.
• In a London study, potassium supplementation was linked to lowering blood pressure levels.
• In addition to controlling blood pressure, potassium also lowers the heart rate and counteracts the harmful effects of sodium.
• Squash is a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenoids exhibit powerful anti-aging properties.
• They protect the cells of the body and skin against free radical damage, which can otherwise cause premature aging.
• In one study, lutein was found to prevent cell loss and membrane damage. It also has photoprotective properties that protect the skin against UV damage.
• The riboflavin in squash maintains the health of skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. It slows aging by increasing athletic performance and preventing age-related memory loss and other related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
• Green vegetables and fruits, like squash, promote stronger bones and teeth.
• Lutein and zeaxanthin keep bones and teeth strong. In addition, they also strengthen blood cells.
• Zucchini also contains vitamin K, which helps strengthen bones.
• Magnesium is another nutrient that squash is rich in. Most of the magnesium in the body resides in the bones, which helps build strong bones and teeth. Magnesium also works in conjunction with calcium to enhance muscle contraction.
• The folic acid in zucchini also protects the bones.
• And so does beta-carotene. Studies show that the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which contributes to bone growth.
• Zucchini is rich in manganese, a mineral that promotes optimal thyroid gland function.
• Dark green vegetables are a must during pregnancy, and squash is one of them.
• In the nine months of pregnancy, the consumption of pumpkin offers adequate B vitamins that help maintain energy levels and mood.
• It is also rich in folic acid which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain birth defects such as spina bifida (the baby’s spinal cord does not develop properly) and anencephaly (the absence of a significant portion of the brain).
• One more reason folate is beneficial to pregnant women is its ability to make red blood cells in the body. This is how you reduce the risk of developmental problems in the baby during pregnancy.
• Another reason squash is good for pregnancy is its magnesium content. According to an Italian study, magnesium is very important for women with a high risk of gestosis or premature labor.
• Diarrhea is a common problem among most children over one year of age. Soft foods work well in this case. And peeled squash can do wonders.
• Pumpkin puree can also be a good addition to your baby’s diet. Because it is light and mild in taste (and since it is packed with nutrients), it will be easy for your baby to consume.
• In a Portland study, vitamin C intake was found to prevent lung problems in babies born to pregnant smokers. The Italian squash, being rich in vitamin C, can help in this regard.
• Although gout generally affects men over the age of 40 or anyone with a family history of the disease, it can occur at any time. To anybody.
• It is caused due to the excessive accumulation of uric acid in the body, leading to its accumulation in the tissues in the form of needle-like crystals.
• One study has linked vitamin C intake to a lower risk of gout in men.
• It does this by lowering serum uric acid levels through a process called the uricosuric effect.
• Vitamin C was also found to prevent not only gout but many other urate-related diseases as well.
• When it comes to men’s health, squash is one of the vegetables that is often overlooked. But, its phytonutrients are rarely known to greatly benefit the prostate.
• Pumpkin’s high carotenoid content also associates it with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
• Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C. Both nutrients, according to one study, were positively associated with prostate cancer. Vitamin C reduces oxidative DNA damage and hinders the growth and capacity of prostate cancer cells.
• Dietary fiber has been found to bind to carcinogens and remove them from the body. It also can prevent the progression of prostate cancer. And phytonutrients protect cells from damage.
• Squash contains riboflavin, the deficiency of which affects collagen maturation.
• One more reason it can be great for skin is its high water content, which has been found to greatly improve skin health.
• Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen, which, as we know, is quite important for maintaining the health of the joints, cartilage, skin, and blood vessels, the vitamin also protects the body from cell damage.
• In addition to collagen, vitamin C also aids in the production of elastin, which is essential for healthy, glowing skin.
• Besides vitamin C, some other nutrients that contribute to collagen formation are potassium, zeaxanthin, and folate.
• There’s a reason why squash is also called summer squash. Hydrates the body (and skin) and helps it cope with the summer heat.
• Lutein stimulates skin health by reducing inflammation responses.
• When the skin is exposed to sunlight, lutein reduces the inflammatory response, this means that the sunlight will cause less damage to the skin, and that means less damage to the skin’s moisture barrier as well.
• Pumpkin is 95% water, which means that it hydrates the skin well.
• Green foods are rich in folic acid and are excellent for brain health, folate also helps in the production of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material. The nutrient, in addition to improving mental health, also improves emotional health.
• Also, our brain is 75% water. When there is adequate water in your system, you will be more focused, think faster, and also display greater creativity.
• Most importantly, sufficient water efficiently delivers nutrients to your brain and aids in the elimination of toxins. This results in increased concentration and mental alertness.
• In addition to being rich in water, squash also contains vitamin C, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which contribute greatly to brain health.
• Although it is not very rich in iron, squash contains the nutrient in acceptable amounts. According to one study, early iron deficiency can lead to permanent neurobehavioral problems despite diagnosis and treatment.
• Early iron deficiency can even affect the physical structure of the brain.
• Iron is also important for making myelin, the fatty sheath that covers the nerves in the brain and speeds up brain communications.
• Pumpkin, being rich in zinc, promotes hair growth.
• The vitamin C in zucchini can treat dry, split hair.
• It also makes your hair strands strong and flexible.
• Lack of vitamin C can result in enlargement of hair follicles, which could eventually delay hair growth.
• Vitamin C is an active form of ascorbic acid that boosts the immune system. And it does it in several ways.
• First, vitamin C develops the body’s T cells (a type of white blood cell) into functional T cells that defend against disease.
• It also helps you make more immune cells.
• The antioxidant properties of vitamin C also prevent cells from dying due to inflammation.
• Low levels of vitamin C are linked to an increased risk of infection. High levels of vitamin C are often recommended for HIV-positive people to improve their immunity.
• In a Swiss study, vitamin C and zinc were found to boost immunity, so much so that they had even improved the health of patients suffering from certain immunodeficiency diseases such as malaria and diarrhea.
Here are some ways to cook squash:
• Just take raw zucchini sticks and chop them with your favorite sauce. You can also pack them in your lunch box for a healthy snack.
• Rinse and mash it. You can then puree other root vegetables and serve.
Cut the squash into 1/2-inch-thick discs, brush with cooking oil (heat tolerant), and season as desired.
Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the inside. Fill empty glasses with minced vegetables, meat, and cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes at 190o C, or until golden brown. Serve while hot
Make your salad healthier by adding squash. If you have any squash leftover after a grill, you can simply add it to your salad.
• It could cause digestive problems in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In such a case, consume with caution. Or avoid altogether.
• Bitter squash can also cause stomach cramps or diarrhea, or both.
• It can cause allergies in people who are sensitive to it.
• These include nausea, itching (severe itching of the skin), and certain types of oral allergies.
• Yes, this may be contradictory to what we talked about earlier in the article.
• Iron helps prevent brain ailments.
• But studies suggest that too much of this can cause neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s.
• Although iron is not abundant in zucchini, it is best to consider its effects.
• Since squash is a very good source of beta-carotene, this could be a concern for certain people.
• Large doses of beta-carotene may be inadvisable for pregnant and lactating women, people who smoke (beta-carotene supplements), people who have been exposed to asbestos (beta-carotene supplements), and people who have undergone angioplasty.
• Beta-carotene may also interact with medications, especially those used to lower cholesterol and other medications such as niacin.
Yes. It is the best way to eat it.
Is squash a fruit or a vegetable?
Fruit. Because it comes from a flower.
If it is eaten raw, yes. This is because it contains cellulose (which forms the walls of plant cells).
When you eat raw squash, the digestive enzymes in your body cannot break down the cellulose.
Thus, the gut bacteria take over. They feed on cellulose to break it down. In the process, they release waste in the form of methane gas.
Cooked zucchini does not cause gas. Instead, it prevents it. This is because heat weakens the cellulose bonds and breaks them down easily.
Yes, you can. You must. This is because, as we have seen, zucchini is 95% water.
And most of this water is found in the meat, which means that most of the nutrients are found in the skin.
Peeling the skin deprives it of vitamins C and K, fiber, potassium, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Are pumpkin seeds edible?
Yes, they are.
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