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Can You Eat the Zucchini Skin?

author image Meg Campbell
Based just outside Chicago, Meg Campbell has worked in the fitness industry since 1997. She’s been writing health-related articles since 2010, focusing primarily on diet and nutrition. Campbell divides her time between her hometown and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Can You Eat the Zucchini Skin?
An assortment of green and yellow zucchini. Photo Credit: KOICHI SAITO/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

Americans eat more zucchini than any other kind of summer squash, according to the book “Wellness Foods A to Z: An Indispensable Guide for Health-Conscious Food Lovers.” Unlike winter squash, zucchini is harvested before it matures on the vine -- while its skin is still thin, tender and edible.

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Nutritional Value

For about 20 calories, 1 cup of raw chopped zucchini with skin delivers 37 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and just over 1 gram of dietary fiber. It also supplies about 10 percent each of the daily values for vitamin B-6 and potassium, as well as slightly lower amounts of vitamin K and riboflavin.

Whole Vs. Peeled

Zucchini is about 95 percent water by weight. Because most of this water is found in the vegetable’s flesh, its skin is a more concentrated source of nutrients. Not only is a peeled zucchini is lower in vitamin C and potassium, but it’s also virtually devoid of fiber and vitamin K. The skin itself is a rich source of antioxidant carotenoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.

Serving Suggestions

Raw shredded zucchini is crisp and refreshing, whether tossed into a green salad or added to a sandwich. The vegetable cooks quickly in soups, stews and tomato-based sauces and is also ideal for roasting. Serving zucchini with olive oil or another healthy fat helps your body better absorb the antioxidants in its skin.

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