Zucchini is a marvelous vegetable that’s loved by many for its versatility. Whether mixed in soups and salads, served as a side dish, or sliced into sticks to make a yummy appetizer, it’s a great way to add nutrients into your meals.
One neat trick you can do with zucchini (and I’m sure you’ve heard of this before) is to transform it into delicious, grain-free noodles. Here’s one delicious recipe from my reader Cynthia Machado, a health and fitness coach who also owns the blog MetabolicHealingPower.com.
Her quick and easy “pasta” recipe infuses herbs, spices, and other Asian condiments to create a flavorful oriental dish that will satiate your appetite.
Many people today suffer from insulin and leptin resistance because of the high amounts of sugar in their diet, predisposing them to obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. If you’re one of these people, it’ll be wise for you to avoid grains like pasta and rice, as these also convert to fructose in your body, until you’ve normalized your levels. But since this recipe uses zucchini instead of the usual pasta noodles, this is one dish that you can safely consume.
You also won’t regret using zucchini because of its impressive nutritional content. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and potassium, and rich in flavonoid antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein, and carotene, which play a significant role in slowing aging and preventing diseases. However, most of the antioxidants and fiber in this vegetable are found in the skin, so when using it to make pasta noodles, it’s best to leave the skin intact.
Some of the ingredients for the pasta sauce, like tahini and Hijiki or Wakaname seaweed, may seem exotic, especially if you’re not familiar with Asian cuisine, but they all add a great flavor and incredible health benefits to your dish. For example, miso, a fermented soybean paste with a salty and buttery texture, is a probiotic-rich food that I highly recommend.
The other ingredients are probably a mainstay in your kitchen. Garlic, for example, is an herb that many people use in everyday cooking. A member of the allium family of vegetables, along with onions and leeks, garlic is a proven health tonic with a wide range of healing properties. Studies have demonstrated garlic’s effect on over 160 different diseases, and its benefits can be summed up into four main categories:
- Boosting immune function through its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties — it can even help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- Reducing inflammation to help prevent the onset of inflammation-related diseases, such as osteoarthritis
- Improving cardiovascular health and blood circulation — it helps protect against clotting and plaque formation, while improving lipids and reducing blood pressure
- Can help combat cancer cells, including lung, breast, brain, gastric, and pancreatic
Meanwhile, cumin not only adds color and a peppery flavor to the dish but also has an impressive repertoire of vitamins and minerals that can help improve digestion, promote cognitive performance, fight viral infections, and give your immune system a boost. It even helps prevent premature aging, dispels mucus and phlegm, and may relieve anxiety and depression.
A study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice1 found that cumin may help promote weight loss, decrease body fat, and improve unhealthy cholesterol levels. It was conducted by researchers from Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Iran, who studied 88 overweight or obese women, divided into two groups.
The researchers found that the group of women who were given 3 grams of cumin powder daily lost three more pounds than the group who ate cumin-free yogurt. The cumin group also decreased their body fat percentage by 14.64 percent — almost triple that of the other group, who only lost 4.91 percent.
Lastly, a squeeze of lime adds not only tanginess to the sauce, but a wealth of benefits as well. Loaded with free radical-scavenging antioxidants like vitamin C and kaempferol, limes can help protect against inflammation, atherosclerosis and heart disease, and colds and flu. Limes and other citrus fruits also contain beneficial compounds called limonoids that help fight lung, breast, stomach, mouth, colon, and skin cancers, according to lab research.
Don’t throw out the lime peel just yet! You can actually use it to freshen up rooms and garbage cans, as an insect repellent, or even dry it to use as kindling for your fireplace. Read more about the different uses of lemons and limes in your home.