August is the time of the year for Zucchini. Healthy and delicious, zucchini is more versatile than you would think! By way of “Chocolate Covered Katie” we would like to share a couple healthy zucchini recipes. Zucchini has many benefits – they are low in calories, the peel is a good source of dietary fiber (a probiotic) and they are a good source of potassium, carotenoids, vitamins C, E and K and have no saturated fats or cholesterol.
Up first, a “Zucchini Tortilla Wrap” it makes 2 burritos
- 4 medium zucchini, sliced into coins
- High-quality olive oil (Be sure to store olive oil in a dark container. It loses health benefits when exposed to light)
- 3-4 tsp minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- add beans or other veggies (optional)
- 2 warm tortillas
Heat a pan over high heat for about a minute before putting anything in. Add the oil, quickly followed by the garlic, zucchini and salt (pepper if desired). Try not to stir too often. Once the zucchini has turned translucent, remove from the pan and place in the middle of the tortillas. Roll up and enjoy!
Or try “Raw Chocolate Cream Pie” for a no-bake dessert
- heaping 1/2 cup coconut meat (about 110g)
- 1 1/2 cups raw zucchini (250g) (For a pie with a more traditional “coconut cream pie” taste, or if you don’t want the green color, omit the zucchini and add that much more coconut meat.)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- stevia or sweetener of choice, to taste
- Optional 2 tbsp coconut oil, for a richer taste
- Optional for a mint chocolate chip pie, add a few drops pure peppermint extract
Mix all the ingredients together and blend very well. If you’re using a Magic Bullet, you might want to blend the zucchini a little first so it doesn’t stay chunky. Transfer your mixture to a pie crust (or pie pan, for a crustless pie) and freeze. If you freeze it more than a few hours, thaw before eating.
by Meghan McGillin, UMass Amherst
undergraduate student, selalab.org
Scientists and clinicians have been interested in studying dietary fiber’s potential in treating or preventing obesity. Obesity is a big health problem, afflicting 500 million adults worldwide.
Familiar such as whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables.are naturally high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber gives plant-based foods their structure fiber-rich foods need more chewing to break up the rigid structure of the plant cell wall. Just think about the work that goes into chewing an apple versus eating a piece of cheese. That extra chewing is important! Chewing takes time and makes more saliva. This helps the chewer take up fewer calories over a longer period and feel more full. Simply eating more fiber can help lower weight gain and thus lower the risk of health complications such as type II Diabetes Mellitus and cardiovascular diseases.
But there’s more! Fiber is a vital component of our diet, and has been linked to preventing a range of illnesses and conditions. Unlike sugar and starch, fiber is unique because our own digestive enzymes are unable to break fiber down into simpler sugars. We need the beneficial microbes living in our guts to break up fiber for us. These microbes have the enzymes to digest fibers and when they do they produce nutrients and byproducts that are helpful for our metabolism and immune systems. In fact, scientists have learned that having certain types of microbes reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and other chronic diseases.
To fully understand the antiobesity effects of fiber, it is necessary to examine the role of our resident gut microbiota as a major contributor to our metabolic well-being. The good news is that it appears diet changes can promote a more protective microbiome. Adding more fiber to one’s diet benefits both the person and their microbes.