Did you know that August is National Zucchini Month? Yes, indeed, from late spring throughout the fall, summer squash can provide a ridiculously large harvest of this staple summer veggie. Keep in mind that summer squash differs from fall and winter squash in that it is selected to be harvested before the rind hardens and the fruit matures. It grows on bush-type plants that do not spread like the plants of fall and winter squash and pumpkin.

Fun Fact: Zucchini grows to maturity in only 35- 60 days! I have a personal theory on why zucchini grows so easily, quickly and large: There’s lots of it around so we’ll just plain eat lots of it!  Why?  First, it’s nutrition content is sky high. It’s one of Heavenly Father’s best kept healthy food secrets.  Second, it’s delicious.  Third, cost-wise it is often free with all we grow and what our neighbors gladly provide.  For me the delightful, hidden message from Mother Nature is obvious: “Please eat lots and lots of zucchini! It’s a joyful, easy, exceptional gift for your health, pleasure and pocket-book!”

Now I know zucchini seems very light in color, watery and there’s not much “oomph” to its flavor when served all by itself.  How could there possibly be much nutrition in it to build our bodies? Surprise! Here’s the low-down on zucchini food facts and, drum-roll please — 25 healthy zucchini recipes so we can feast to our heart’s – and health’s content.

Boil ‘Em, Bake ‘Em, Fry’Em In A Pan …
Nothing Can Nourish and Heal Like Zucchini Can!

Zucchini, otherwise called summer squash, is a member of the gourd family. It originated from Central America from where it has spread to the rest of the world. This popular succulent vegetable does well in warm weather, in places with moist, fertile soil. It takes 35 to 60 days from planting to first harvest. The plant grows to a height of two and a half feet. For best flavor, zucchini fruits are harvested when they are 4-8 inches. Darker fruits are usually higher in nutrients. But what are the health benefits of zucchini?

Here are 9 health benefits of zucchini, plus Number 10: a list of the specific nutrition they provide! Get ready to be surprised. I know I was:

1.     Zucchini improves digestion

Incorporating zucchini in your diet can help improve digestion including reducing the incidence of constipation and other digestive issues.  Zucchini is high in water. It also contains significant amounts of fiber, electrolytes and other nutrients that are necessary for healthier digestive systems.  Regular consumption of zucchini can also prevent ulcers, IBS and colon cancer!

2.     Slows down aging

Aging results from the activity of toxins, free radicals and inflammation that the body is exposed to over the years. These poisons and inflammation can be reduced by antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. Zucchini is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients which help to rid the body of free radicals and excess inflammation. Another popular health benefit of zucchini, it lowers blood sugar levels

High blood sugar levels and diabetes are problems that are worsened by a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. By including zucchini in your diet, you increase the intake of fiber. You can also reduce your carbohydrate intake because you will feel full for longer. These diet changes can help reduce your blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. This can mean that your body no longer requires excessive amounts of insulin to process sugar. This can change your risk of developing diabetes. Studies show that including at least 30 grams of fiber in your daily diet lowers your risk of getting diabetes significantly.

3.  Zucchini Face Mask

To continue that anti-aging thought, beautify, clarify and get a happy glow with this zucchini trick. Puree 1/4 of an avocado along with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (the latter of which will prevent the avocado from oxidizing while also helping to tone your skin). Then, finely grate 1/4 of a small zucchini into the mask mixture, incorporating it with a spoon. You know what to do now – just slather it on and enjoy!

4.     Supports healthy circulation and a healthy heart

Zucchini is low in fat and sodium, but high in fiber and potassium. These properties help to maintain healthy blood circulation. Low sodium and high potassium help to maintain healthy blood pressure while fiber such as the polysaccharide in zucchini lowers cholesterol levels. This combination works synergistically to maintain good circulation which is necessary for healthy blood pressure and a healthy heart, all leading to healthy living.

5.     Zucchini improves eye health

Zucchini is a good source of health protecting antioxidants and phytonutrients including vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, zeaxanthin and lutein. Zeaxanthin and lutein are especially useful in maintaining and improving eye health by fighting free radicals. This reduces the risk of developing age-related eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. You can also use zucchini to treat puffy eyes by placing slices of raw zucchini over the eyes. Leave the slices in place for about 30 minutes and repeat several times in a day.  Best Foods for Great Vision

6.     Zucchini boosts energy

Because zucchini is a rich source of B-vitamins, especially folate, riboflavin and B6, it can help to boost energy production in the body. This reduces fatigue and improves moods. The body requires B-vitamins for protein and carbohydrate metabolism. The vitamins also aid in various brain functions including cognition; a great way to a healthy lifestyle.

7.     Zucchini aids in weight loss

Because zucchini is low in calories and high in water and fiber, it is a great food weight management. Extra body weight usually results from regular consumption of carbohydrate and sugary foods. By including zucchini in your diet, you increase the fiber and water content of your food. This means that you will feel full for longer and end up eating less. In the long term, you will lose some of your excess weight.

8.     Improves thyroid and adrenal functions

Zucchini contains high amounts of vitamin C and polyphenols, especially in the peels. Laboratory studies on rats by the Devi University found that the compounds in zucchini peels have positive effects on the thyroid and adrenal glands. Additionally, the compounds helped in the regulating insulin levels.

9.     Protects against oxidation and inflammation

Zucchini is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds including vitamins A and C, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. Large amounts of these compounds are found in zucchini skin. For this reason, you should eat the skin together with the flesh.Eating zucchini regularly reduces oxidation and inflammation within the body. This boosts your immunity and protects against diseases associated with inflammation.

10. Zucchini Nutrition Facts

Zucchini contains zero fat, is high in water and fiber. Zucchini is packed with nutrition, and contains the following highly nutritious vitamins and minerals :

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin
  • Folate
  • Copper
  • Phosphorus
  • Thiamine
  • Potassium
  • Manganese

The summer squash also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.This makes zucchini, also known as courgette, a food rich in nutrition that you should include in your diet.

25 Zucchini Recipes

For a total of 25, here are 2 from Meridian readers, a third from www.ForksOverKnives.com, and a link to an additional 22.  Now that we’re educated and excited, we can really use all these recipes.

Sara’s Quick Zucchini Sauté
• Servings: 2
• Time: 5 minutes

Inspired by the version at The Red Cat.
• 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced almonds
• 1 medium or 2 small zucchinis, cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• Peelings of pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high and add enough oil to coat the pan well. Heat the oil until hot but not smoking, then add the almonds to the pan. Cook them, stirring, until the almonds are
golden-brown, approximately a minute or two. Don’t skimp on this step; they provide a depth of flavor that carries the whole dish.

Add the zucchini to the pan, tossing it with the oil and almonds until it just begins to glisten, about one minute. The idea is not to cook the zucchini so much as warm it so it begins to soften. Season well with salt and pepper, slide onto a plate, top with cheese (if using) and immediately dig in.

Gerri’s Stewed Zucchini

I just wanted to share a Zucchini recipe that my mother-in-law used to make.  This is my favorite side dish to make when the zucchini’s are ready for harvest.


1 medium sized zucchini cut into bite size chunks

1/2 cup or more chopped onion

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped  (I’ve used a mix of Roma & a regular tomato)

1 medium bell pepper

A little garlic fresh or powder to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Put everything into a medium size pot, let it simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until there is less liquid in the pot. For a little kick add some chopped Anaheim, bell, or poblano pepper.

23 More Zucchini Recipes

The third recipe is from 23 Zucchini Recipes from our favorite whole-food plant-based website, www.ForksOverKnives.com. They include breads, soups and salads for us to really have a zucchini party.  I’m printing one of my favorites to give you a sneak-peek into this treasure trove.

Summer Harvest Soup


  • 2 onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup 1-inch pieces green beans
  • 1 cup ½-inch-dice zucchini
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ½ cup dry bulgur or quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup 1-inch pieces green beans
  • 1 cup ½-inch-dice zucchini
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ½ cup dry bulgur or quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large skillet cook onions and garlic, covered, over medium-low 10 minutes. Add water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add 6 cups water and the next five ingredients (through bulgur). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes or until bulgur is cooked and vegetables are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Cook about 2 minutes more or until asparagus is just tender and bright green in color. Garnish with additional fresh basil.

Back to Carolyn:  See what I mean? There’s so much to enjoy, so much to learn and so much to benefit from with our good old plentiful friend, the zucchini.  I know our Heavenly Father will be delighted if we take it to heart and enjoy it as much as He clearly wants us too.Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine since 2007. She has provided mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 through Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Sandy, Utah where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox