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Considered a summer squash, zucchini are a member of the melon family. Other summer squash include crookneck, straightneck, and pattypan squash. Zucchini are native to Central America and have been consumed for over 10,000 years. Squash spread throughout North and South America, from where it was transported by early Spanish explorers back to Europe.

Nutritional Highlights:

  • Zucchini and other summer squash are 95% water, limiting their nutrient qualities.
  • Because of their high water content, zucchini are extremely low in calories with approximately 14 calories per 3½ ounce serving.
  • Zucchini has a fair amount of potassium, carotenes, and vitamin C.

Health Benefits:

  • Zucchini and other summer squash possess anticancer properties similar to those of radishes, pumpkins and leeks.
  • Because zucchini are 95% water, consuming them during summer months helps prevent dehydration.
  • The carotenes found in zucchini can help protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

Zucchini is a unique vegetable because of its ability to be utilized in baking. Muffins and breads made with zucchini are especially moist, with a mild flavor that pairs well with many berries. This summer, try grilling zucchini for a great BBQ dish, or even adding roasted pieces to whole-wheat pasta. For a quick addition to your salad, grate zucchini for a healthy garnish. Check out Good Cacao’s ‘Healthy Eating’ Pinterest board for great preparation ideas!

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