Z: Zucchini, Zinc, Zest


Vitamins A & C, beta carotene, folate, potassium

Zucchini is a popular summer vegetable consumed in North America. The elongated, dark green zucchinis are sometimes mistaken for cucumbers. There is also a golden variety of zucchini, as well as some that have dark green stripes. Both zucchini and cucumbers are a part of the gourd family.

A versatile vegetable

The unobtrusive flavor of zucchini makes it a versatile vegetable. It can be consumed raw, steamed, grilled or baked. It is an excellent add-on to cooked vegetables and salads and is also used in cakes and pies.

Zucchini contains 94 percent water, making it one of the lowest calorie vegetables.
One cup of raw sliced zucchini has less than 20 calories, 28 micrograms of folate, 12 milligrams of Vitamin C and 250 milligrams of potassium.


Interesting facts

  • Almost every cell in the body contains zinc; it is the second most abundant trace mineral in the body.
  • Zinc is a mineral necessary for cell division, growth, wound healing and improving immune function, digestion and metabolism.
  • It plays an important role in the health of the reproductive organs.
  • It is needed for proper maintenance of Vitamin E levels in the blood and aids in the absorption of Vitamin A.
Recommended daily consumption

  • 11 milligrams for men
  • 8 milligrams for women

Adequate levels of zinc are vital to health. Deficiency can cause loss of appetite, reduced resistance to infection. Too much zinc on the other hand, can trigger harmful side effects that include impaired copper absorption.

Zinc sources

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Milk
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Mushroom
  • Soya beans
  • Sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • Wheat germ

Zinc is abundantly found in fish and shellfish. The body is better able to absorb zinc present in animal foods than from vegetable sources.


We spend one third of our life sleeping. Sleep is a form of unconsciousness that is our natural state of rest. It is a period of rejuvenation and regeneration that is essential for promoting physical and mental health.

What happens when you sleep?

During sleep muscles and joints recover from constant use, the blood pressure decreases and the heart rate slows down. At the same time, the body releases growth hormones, restores and repairs itself and the brain receives uninterrupted time to reorganize and store the constant stream of information it takes in everyday.

Sleep – a survival mechanism

Stress, long work hours, fatigue and lifestyle habits can lead to sleep-related problems. Without sleep, the body and mind cannot function, optimally. Lack of sleep can lead to illness; also sleep and rest are necessary in order to recuperate during a bout of illness.

Did you know?

Surprisingly, studies show that most of the brain is just as active during sleep as it is in waking hours. When you are asleep, two patterns of slumber can alternate: dreamless, deep sleep or dreaming while you sleep. Dreams are the brain’s method of sorting information gathered during waking hours for memory storage or disposal.

Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep requirement can vary between six to ten hours, depending on individual needs. It is not possible to function efficiently if the nights are spent tossing and turning without getting restful or enough sleep. You should wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Based on this criterion, do you think you are getting enough sleep?

Sleep well

  • Avoid overindulgence in substances that interfere with sleep, such as caffeine (found in coffee, tea, colas, chocolate), nicotine and alcohol.
  • Take time to relax your mind and body before sleeping – read a book, listen to soothing music or use aromatherapy oils in a bath.
  • Get into the habit of going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day so that the body gets into a correct sleep pattern

Create you goals. Set targets for yourself, ones that you would like to see yourself achieve. Setting small, incremental goals can lead to big, pay-offs.

  • Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and spend five minutes thinking about your goals. Let your thoughts flow naturally.

  • Take a pen and paper. Write one goal you would like to achieve in some of these categories: family and relationships, career, health and personal development. Beside each goal give yourself a time frame of achieving it. Be realistic.

  • Check the list regularly. Stay on track and be determined to succeed. Establish priorities in life. Don’t say ‘I wish’, instead say ‘I intend’.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than anything else.”
- Abraham Lincoln