Were you one of the thousands who planted a pandemic garden? If so, by now, you probably have a harvest that is overflowing with zucchini, carrots, peppers, kale, and more. As we all stayed closer to home last year, gardening became a significant trend in the U.K., U.S., and Canada. In fact, seed company Burpee Co. recently reported that they sold more seeds in 2020 than any time in their 144-year history.
In this blog, we will be discussing:
- Why nutrition is a crucial component to health, wellness, and pain reduction
- The role of nutrition in The Hache Protocol for Pain Reduction™
- How gardening benefits your health
- Why you should buy locally grown produce if a garden isn’t in the cards for you
- Why zucchini is an excellent in-season option for the health-conscious
- And, lastly, three delicious – and healthy – zucchini recipes to try out today!
So, if you’re asking yourself, “what can I do with all this zucchini?” Read on because you’re in the right place.
Nutrition: A Key Component to Health, Wellness, and Pain Reduction
Many of us take nutrition for granted and don’t realize that healthy foods can add years to our lives, while unhealthy ones can actually subtract years. We all know to pay attention to nutrition when watching our weight or boosting energy. Still, meaningful healing can only occur once we consider our diets and how they affect our ability to mend from injury or trauma.
Your gut is in control of many biological and psychological processes in your body. Did you know that your gut sends 80% more signals to the brain than the brain does to the gut? Your gut is running the show. If you nurture your gut with whole foods, you’re directly affecting its connection with your brain and keeping the entire body functioning at an optimal level. And the best way to nurture your gut? A healthy balanced diet. And that’s precisely why we’ve made nutrition one of the five pillars of The Hache Protocol for Pain Resolution™, our approachable yet powerful system for safely and effectively relieving acute or chronic pain without drugs, needles, or unwanted side effects.
If pain is a significant concern in your life, following a nutrient-rich diet will help eliminate potential sources of pain that may aggravate your body’s inflammatory response. And the great news is, eating fresh, locally grown produce like zucchini is an excellent way to get started.
How Does Gardening Benefit Your Health?
A trend we can get behind! Gardening is a wonderful hobby to get into as it has excellent ramifications for your health and wellbeing. Let’s examine some of the critical ways in which gardening can promote a healthy body and mind.
Top 5 Health benefits of gardening:
- It’s good for your cardiovascular system. All that digging, lifting, weeding, and planting strengthens your heart and burns calories.
- Gardening helps to reduce stress. As we previously mentioned, stress is a significant trigger for the onset of illness and disease. Fortunately, there is increasing scientific evidence to suggest that gardening can positively impact mental health as it helps reduce stress.
- Getting in the dirt can make you happy. Inhaling healthy bacteria that live in the soil can reduce anxiety and increase serotonin levels, according to The University of Colorado Boulder.
- It boosts levels of Vitamin D. Gardening out in the sun can help increase vitamin D and calcium levels in the body, which benefits your immune system and bones. Just make sure not to forget your sunscreen!
- Growing a garden can help you eat a healthier diet. By harvesting your own food, you know exactly where it came from and that it wasn’t sprayed with hormone-interrupting pesticides.
If you’ve wanted to get in on the “farm-to-table” food trend, a home garden is about as good as it gets. Next, let’s talk about how you can benefit from fresh produce, like zucchini, without having to till, dig, and sweat.
Why Buy Local Produce?
If a garden is out of the question due to mobility issues or the fact you live in a densely populated city – don’t worry – you can still benefit from freshly grown produce by shopping at a local farmer’s market, food cooperative, or produce stand. We’ve been loving the fresh, nutritious, and organically grown produce that has started to roll into our area’s markets here in British Columbia.
It’s always such a pleasure to taste the season’s freshness, but we’re excited about the harvest for more reasons than just flavor. The fact is: locally grown, freshly picked produce is more nutritious than something that’s been sitting on your grocer’s shelves for weeks. Researchers from Montclair State University in New Jersey found that the vitamin C content of broccoli was reduced by half when it was shipped from out of the country compared to when it was locally sourced.
Additionally, local produce is better for the environment as it cuts down on fossil fuel expenditure due to its shorter travel distance. So if you’d like to benefit from locally grown produce and its superior nutritional value, gardening isn’t your only option.
Zucchini – How to Make the Most of this High-Yielding Crop
But you’re probably wondering, “is zucchini even healthy?” The answer is yes! Zucchini, also known as courgettes, have loads of health benefits, including:
- Zucchini can help fight free radicals in your body by providing a dose of antioxidants in every bite. Research has shown zucchini to be high in carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin.)
- Balances blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may want to swap out your typical pasta for zucchini noodles (or zoodles) to help lower blood sugar levels naturally. A low-carb, high-fiber diet that involves simple swaps like this has been shown to reduce insulin and keep blood sugar in check.
- May aid in weight loss. Because zucchini is waster-rich, high-fiber, and low calorie, you may feel full longer after eating it which could keep your appetite at bay until it’s time for your next meal.
- Promotes healthy digestion. Keep your digestive tract in tip-top shape by eating zucchini. Because this fruit is rich in water, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber, it ensures the healthy elimination of waste while also feeding good bacteria living in your gut.
And the list goes on. We could sing the praises of zucchini for hours on end, but you probably want to get to the recipes – so let’s dive into some delicious, inflammation-fighting meal ideas that will help you make the best of your surplus stock of zucchini today.
3 Healthy Zucchini Recipes
Below, you will find some of the recipes the Pain Free For Life Team has loved this summer. Try one (or all) of these recipes to start reaping the numerous health benefits of zucchini.
- Coconut Sauteed Zucchini with Buckwheat
- Turmeric Zucchini and Squash
- Healthy Cream of Zucchini Soup (Vegan + Paleo)
If you have any favorite zucchini recipes, please share them in our Pain Free for Life Support Group on Facebook. We’d love to see how you’re making the most of this nutritious fruit!
Eat In-Season for Radiant Health
We hope we’ve helped encourage you to enjoy in-season, local produce, whether you grow it in your own garden, get it from friends’ and neighbors’ gardens, or pick it up from a local food cooperative or farmer’s market. If you’d like to learn more about how nutrition may affect your health and healing, we encourage you to read through some of our other blogs on the topic.
The pandemic propelled gardening to new heights. Will the trend last? | Agweek
Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis – ScienceDirect
Study linking beneficial bacteria to mental health makes top 10 list for brain research | C.U. Boulder Today | University of Colorado Boulder
Nutritional quality of organic, conventional, and seasonally grown broccoli using vitamin C as a marker – PubMed (nih.gov)
Use of visible and near-infrared spectroscopy for predicting antioxidant compounds in summer squash (Cucurbita pepo ssp pepo) – PubMed (nih.gov)
Efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – PubMed (nih.gov)
Coconut Sauteed Zucchini with Buckwheat – FOODHEAL (foodnheal.com)
Turmeric Zucchini and Squash – BriGeeski
Healthy Cream of Zucchini Soup (Vegan + Paleo) – The Loopy Whisk