If you read my blog post on pasta substitutes last week you know I promised a follow-up on my beloved zoodles or zucchini spirals. Not only are they a low carb option for a cozy, easy dinner in and a healthy vehicle for my favorite marinara sauce but zucchini is SO much more. A powerful healer, a natural protector, and a nutritional powerhouse.
This fruit (yes, fruit!!!) is also what I like to refer to as “free food” when I’m working with my clients. It’s got virtually no calories, zero fat, no cholesterol, significant amounts of vitamins B6, C, and K, riboflavin, folate, minerals potassium and manganese and it’s full of water and fiber which is great for cleansing your system. Zucchini is a perfectly healthy way to add substance to any meal as the main attraction or side dish.
Copious amounts of research has been done proving the amazing health benefits of consuming zucchini. One of its most significant accomplishments has been zucchinis ability to reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes. It turns out that the manganese, zinc, B vitamins, and fiber found in zucchini support blood sugar metabolism. But, perhaps the most magical component of this natural healer is the pectin found within the zucchini. Pectin is the glue-like substance found around the seeds on the inside. The fresher the zucchini, the more pectin there will be present. Pectin is a form of soluble fiber (D-galacturonic acid) that helps keep insulin metabolism and blood sugar levels in balance. By acting as a gel to decrease the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar, pectin aids in curbing blood sugar spikes. I like to tell my clients struggling with diabetes that because of this, they should always pair carbohydrates like rice and bread with some zucchini in an effort to prevent those carbs from turning into sugar.
Along with having proven to keep blood sugar levels in check, there are more amazing health benefits that eating zucchini provides. Zucchini consumption has proven to:
Improve digestion. Because of its high water content and significant amount of fiber, zucchini helps to flush out the system and keep you “regular.” Regular consumption has also shown to help prevent ulcers, IBS, and colon cancer.
Slow down aging. Zucchini is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which help rid the body of free radicals and inflammation. Because aging results from the activity of toxins, free radicals and inflammation that the body is exposed to, regular consumption of zucchini slows down this process.
Support healthy circulation and a healthy heart. Zucchini is low in fat and in sodium but high in fiber and potassium which helps to maintain healthy blood circulation. Low sodium and high potassium help to maintain healthy blood pressure while fiber helps lower cholesterol levels. The pectin in the zucchini attaches itself to the bile acids that are produced by the liver for digesting fat, lowering cholesterol levels. Zucchini is also high in vitamin C which helps the lining in your blood cells function better protecting against clogged arteries.
Packed with so many crucial healing properties zucchini has truly proven that some of the best medicine we can provide our bodies with truly just grows from the earth. If you’re struggling with diabetes, high cholesterol or any of the above mentioned health issues, I encourage you to turn to some of the natural remedies I’ve talked about over the past year. I truly believe that we can heal ourselves through our diets. Read back on some of my old blog posts for some more inspiration. Before I wrap up today’s post, one last thing….I mentioned above that I refer to zucchini as a “free food” when working with my patients. It’s one of those foods that can really take on a lot of flavor, fill you up and cost you virtually no calories, fat, or sodium. Below I’m sharing my absolute favorite “free food” recipe. I make it weekly, my whole family loves it and I’m even entertaining out of town guests with it as we speak. Eat smart, heal naturally, live fully. Xx Janine
Janine’s Zucchini Pie
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
4 Large Zucchinis – sliced thin
1 large onion – chopped
4 large Organic eggs
2 tablespoons Nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons goat cheese (Optional)
2 Tablespoons Almond flour
Sprinkle cumin and black pepper
In a large sauté pan – sauté onions with 1 tablespoon olive oil until mostly brown about 10 minutes.
Add thinly sliced zucchini with the 2nd tablespoon olive oil and sauté with cover on so it gets very soft approx. 10-15 simmer on low.
Put the pan to the side, off of the heat to cool for 10 minutes – lid off to let the liquid evaporate.
In a large bowl, beat the 4 eggs well, add the Nutritional yeast and goat cheese (if you are using it) along with the almond flour and the spices, mix well.
Add the zucchini to the egg mixture and mix well. Add more pepper to taste.
Spray a 9×9 (approx.) pan well with Pam. Add the zucchini mixture to the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour – less if it seems to be getting too brown.
Let cool – cut into squares and keep in fridge – enjoy!