Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo Zucchini) or courgette, is a variety of summer squash. This category also includes yellow crookneck, pattypan, scallop and yellow summer squash. Yellow-fleshed winter squash such as acorn, butternut, or spaghetti squash are covered under pumpkins. Zucchini is a good source of vitamin A (through its beta-carotene content) and also contains some vitamin C and lutein. Zucchini also is a good dietary source of the lignan secoisolariciresinol (a precursor of enterolactone), as well as cucurbitacins B & E, which have been linked to lower risk of breast cancer. Zucchini consumption has been found to be associated lower risk of gastric cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating zucchini
Postmenopausal women with breast cancer and a high intake of enterolactone have been found to be less likely to die from their breast cancer than those with a low intake. Enterolactone has also been found to increase the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to radiation, thereby potentially enhancing the treatment effects of radiotherapy.
Numerous studies have found an inverse association between breast cancer risk and high dietary levels of carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. A Korean case-control study comparing the diets of breast cancer patients with a healthy control group found that the breast cancer patients consumed a significantly lower quantity of zucchini, among other foods, than the controls.
Boiling or frying zucchini significantly reduces its antioxidant capacity.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on zucchini.