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Many dieters swear by low-carb eating. Others must reduce the number of processed carbohydrates in their diet for health reasons, or manage chronic conditions. Those who follow a vegan diet may choose to avoid pasta altogether, to remove the risk of consuming eggs. Adding vegetables to your diet can be simple with creative substitutions. Using "zoodles" or zucchini noodles in place of pasta can help increase your vegetable intake and reduce your simple carbohydrate consumption.

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What is Zucchini?

Zoodles are made form the vegetable zucchini - a "summer squash." These are different from fall squash in that they're harvested before the rind hardens. The nutrient-rich peels of zucchini may be eaten along with the spongy flesh. Zucchini is low in calories due to the amount of water in the flesh. Unlike other summer squashes, zucchini has a mild flavor, thus making it a very versatile ingredient in many foods, as a side dish, or as a replacement for your favorite spaghetti noodles. If you have a spiralizer at home, you can create "zoodles" and take advantage of the many health benefits of zucchini.

What is Zucchini?
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A low-calorie food

Although substituting zucchini for spaghetti noodles or other pasta helps those who follow a low-carb diet, it can aid anyone's weight loss goals. Zucchini is very low in calories at a mere 20 calories per one cup serving. This makes zucchini one of the lowest calorie vegetables out there - even less than broccoli or brussels sprouts. Losing weight means reducing the number of calories - energy - that you consume. Eating zucchini instead of high-calorie pasta or as a filling side dish can help dieters easily achieve their calorie goals. The versatility of zucchini makes it a go-to substitute for wraps or sandwich roll-ups as well.

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Gluten-free, low-carb substitute

Zucchini is free from flour and wheat, making it fit well in many gluten-free diets. For those with Celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities, zucchini instead of pasta or tortilla wraps allows them to satisfy carb cravings healthily. People who manage diabetes through diet and exercise or people who are pre-diabetic may also enjoy the benefits of a zucchini substitute. The fiber in zucchini helps you digest food more slowly, reducing blood sugar spikes and crashes. Zucchini is a natural source of carbohydrates for better nutrition.

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Boost your immune system

Zucchini is a good source of potassium, which helps lower high blood pressure. Balanced potassium and sodium levels are also helpful for those with hypertension or chronic high blood pressure. It's also a good source of folate - an amino acid that reduces the presence of homocysteine in the body, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. Eating zoodles incorporates proper levels of magnesium into your diet. This mineral helps your heart pump smoothly and evenly. It also regulates your blood pressure and maintains proper electrolyte levels - essential to maintaining cardiac rhythm.

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Healthier skin and hair

Zucchini is packed with Vitamin A, essential to improving the regeneration of new, healthy skin and strong, shiny hair. Vitamin A promotes enhanced wound healing and skin regrowth as well as the production of collagen. This leads to plumper, glowing skin.

Zucchini is also an excellent source of antioxidants, especially the verdant rinds. Antioxidants reduce the number of free radicals in your body - cell-damaging molecules that inhibit new cell growth and damage existing cells. This leads to a breakdown of your skin and organs over time. Antioxidants help remove the free radicals and keep them in check.

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Improved brain function

Vitamin B6 occurs naturally in zucchini - as part of the B Vitamin group, it aids in increasing blood flow and hemoglobin production. More efficient hemoglobin allows your blood to carry more oxygen throughout your body - especially to the brain and central cortex. This oxygen-rich blood improves cognitive function and analytical ability. As you consume Vitamin B6 naturally, you'll also experience a boost in energy. B vitamins improve the performance of your nervous system and improve the communication between your brain and your body.

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Aids digestion

Zucchini is high in fiber - important for regulated digestive health. Insoluble dietary fiber helps move your food along your gut at a steady pace, allowing your digestive system to absorb the nutrients from the food. The fiber in zoodles helps with "roughage" - regular, healthy bowel movements, as well. Eating a diet rich in fiber promotes a full, satiated feeling. This leads to healthier stomach function, and a reduction in gas and bloating. For those with dietary restrictions that include wheat and dairy, zoodles are a great alternative that won't cause digestive distress.

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Rich in vitamins and minerals

Zucchini is a vibrant, verdant vegetable, rich in many of the vitamins and minerals that colorful vegetables offer. It's high in potassium and Vitamins A and C - all of which help your body ward off illnesses and boost your immune system. Beta-carotene in zucchini helps reduce swelling and inflammation around the face and joints.

Zucchini also contains moderate levels of iron - essential for healthy blood - and magnesium, helpful for regulating heart function. It also contains riboflavin, Vitamin K, and folate, all of which are critical to your body's ability to repair itself and remain in balance for overall health.

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Making Zoodles at home

You may purchase ready-made zoodles at the store, but it's quite easy to make your own at home, using a device called a spiralizer. Simply wash your zucchini, and place in your spiralizer according to the device's instructions. Once you've created your zoodles, wrap them in paper towels to soak up the excess water, especially if you're planning to use your zoodles in a salad. When cooking zoodles, make sure that you use low heat, to avoid overcooking. Use the smallest amount of cooking oil - zucchini is spongy and will absorb the oil you use.

Making Zoodles at home
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Tasty Zoodle recipes

Zoodles may be used interchangeably with any pasta dish - spaghetti, alfredo, or pesto pasta. You may also choose to simply sautee them and toss with fresh vegetables and herbs for a summer pasta primavera, or top with shellfish or salmon.

Zoodles are also tasty in a cold salad. If you enjoy pasta salads, choosing zoodles reduces the calories and increases the nutritional value. You may also choose to use zucchini as a wrap for small sandwiches - sliced thinly; it can substitute for tortillas. You may even choose to thoroughly dry, then batter and fry your zoodles for a tasty snack.

Tasty Zoodle recipes

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.