Eating more fruits and vegetables, such as zucchini, may help lower your risk for health conditions such as heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These foods provide a variety of beneficial nutrients. In the case of zucchini, this includes at least small amounts of all the essential vitamins except for vitamin B-12. The main vitamins provided by zucchini include vitamins A, C and K and folate.
You need vitamin A for proper immune function and vision. The type of vitamin A found in zucchini is beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body turns into the active form of vitamin A. Each cup of raw, sliced zucchini provides you with 5 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, while each cup of cooked zucchini contains 40 percent of the DV for vitamin A, making cooked zucchini a more concentrated source of the vitamin.
Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C, with each cup of raw zucchini providing 34 percent of the DV, and each cup of cooked zucchini giving you 39 percent of the DV. Some vitamin C is lost during the cooking process since it is heat-sensitive and also leaches out into cooking water, but you can fit more zucchini into a cup by weight after cooking, resulting in similar amounts of vitamin C per cup before and after cooking. You need vitamin C for forming collagen and healing wounds, and this essential vitamin also acts as an antioxidant and helps limit cell damage from harmful substances called free radicals.
Consuming sufficient amounts of vitamin K is essential for healthy bones and blood clotting. Vitamin K isn't affected by heat, so cooking your zucchini won't limit your vitamin K intake. Eat a cup of raw zucchini and you'll have met 6 percent of the DV for this essential vitamin, and a cup of cooked zucchini contains 9 percent of the DV.
Folate is essential for forming DNA. Pregnant women need to pay special attention to their folate intake since it is necessary for limiting the risk of neural tube birth defects. Raw zucchini provides 7 percent of the DV for folate in each cup, and cooked zucchini contains 13 percent of the DV per cup.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Improve Your Health While Enjoying the Season's Colorful Produce
- HealthALiciousness.com: Squash Summer Zucchini Includes Skin
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Folate