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The Health Benefits of Zucchini

Zucchini squash is the favored jewel of the summer squashes. Summer squashes, as well as winter squashes, are native to the Americas and belong to the family of cucurbita.

Archaeologists have traced their origins to Mexico, dating back from 7,000 to 5,500 BCE, when they were an integral part of the ancient diet of maize, beans, and squashes. That pre-Columbian food trio is still the mainstay of the Mexican cuisine and is known today as the “three sisters.”

Many explorers who came to the Americas brought back what they considered strange foods. The zucchini eventually found its way to Italy where it was named zucchino. Many names have been given to this squash. The French call it courgette, a name that has been adopted by the English. The English also refer to a variety that is slightly larger and plumper as marrow.

Zucchinis contain useful amounts of folate (24 mcg/100 g), potassium (280 mg/100 g) and vitamin A (384 IU [115 mcg]/100 g). Zucchinis are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Dark green zucchini also have some beta carotene and all types provide small quantities of minerals. Skin colors range from almost black, dark green, pale green, pale green with gray, and yellow. The darker the squash, the more the nutrients.

With their high water content (more than 95 percent), zucchini squashes are very low in calories. There are only 13 calories in a half-cup of raw zucchini, with a slight increase to 18 calories in the same quantity cooked.

Definitely wash your zucchini but don’t peel because most of the nutrients are in the skin.

Can zucchini be given to babies?

Yes, they can be given to your little ones. But, it is better to wait until your baby is between 8-10 months old, as there is a chance that zucchini might cause allergies to your baby.

Wash the zucchini, remove the top and bottom, then cut it into slices. Steam them for a few minutes, until tender.

If you prefer to boil the slices, you need just a little water – because the water content of zucchini is already so high! Cook only to the point where the zucchini becomes tender – overcooking reduces the nutritional value and turns them to a mush!

Once cooked, transfer the zucchini to a food processor and blend until smooth – you shouldn’t need to add any extra liquid.

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