courgette - chipped, sliced and spiralised

Courgette health benefits

Courgettes are a delicious and versatile veggie that can work well in so many recipes, but did you know the summer squash also boasts many impressive health benefits?

Sometimes called zucchini, courgette comes from the cucurbit family, which also includes melon, pumpkin, squash, and cucumber. Whether you love yours in stews or soups, roasted, grilled, or pickled, there are plenty of health benefits to eating delicious courgettes. Here we’ll look at just a few.

Why are courgettes healthy?

Are you looking for more reasons to enjoy courgettes? These are some of the most significant health benefits of eating the vegetable.

Key nutritional values

These are the key nutritional values for one cup of cooked courgette:

  • Calories: 17

  • Protein: 1g

  • Fat: less than 1g

  • Carbohydrates: 3g

  • Sugar: 1g

  • Fiber: 1g1

High water content

Courgettes contain a lot of water and are relatively low in calories2, which means they’re a great way to eat your way to better hydration. They’re an excellent choice for dieters, and thanks to their sweet and mild flavour they’re an easy way to get kids more hydrated too.

High in antioxidants

We’re all trying to eat more antioxidant-rich foods, and courgette is a great way to boost your intake. Courgettes contain plenty of carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene, which can benefit your eye, skin, and heart health.3

Fibre

There’s plenty of soluble and insoluble fibre in courgettes, which is excellent news for gut health and digestion. Soluble fibre can feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, which can, in turn, help reduce inflammation and symptoms of gut disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s4. Meanwhile, insoluble fibre helps add bulk to stools and makes digesting and passing food more straightforward5.

Vitamin C

With lots of immune system supporting vitamin C, particularly in the skin, eating courgettes may help to protect cells and keep them healthy. Vitamin C is also essential for maintaining healthy skin and bones. Because our bodies can’t store vitamin C6, you need to make sure you’re getting enough in your daily diet. Hitting your vitamin C levels shouldn’t be too tricky, but incorporating a few tasty courgettes into your weekly routine is a great way to boost your intake.

Potassium

Courgettes also contain significant levels of potassium7. Most of this is in the dark green skin of the vegetable, so be sure to use the whole thing in your recipes! Potassium is good for controlling blood pressure and can also help maintain healthy water levels, digestion, and heart health8. Your body can’t produce potassium naturally, so you must make sure there’s plenty in your diet; courgettes are a fantastic source!

There are lots of exciting ways to add courgettes to your diet. Whether you dice them up and mix them into your go-to pasta sauce or experiment with pickling and fermenting to achieve a sharper flavour, use your imagination and make this easygoing vegetable a staple part of your weekly diet. Your body will thank you!

Last updated: 19 May 2020

Sources
  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jul/29/good-for-you-courgettes-food-and-drink-health-and-wellbeing
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits#section2
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits#section3
  5. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/nutrition/insoluble-fibre.html
  6. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-c/
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jul/29/good-for-you-courgettes-food-and-drink-health-and-wellbeing
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/potassium
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