chayote

What Are the Benefits of Chayote Squash?

Chayote is a gourd plant, eaten in similar fashion to the summer squash, cucumbers and melons. You can add raw chayote to salads or cook them in meat or vegetarian dishes. The whole plant including the fruit, stem and leaves contains multiple nutrients and has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in the treatment of high-blood pressure, kidney stones and indigestion. Chayote can also help support weight loss efforts, as it is low in calories and fibrous.

Chayote is a thin-skinned squash originally from Mexico. A member of the gourd family, the bumpy green fruit is commonly available in the Southwestern United States, but it remains a novelty item in much of the country.

Chayote squash (Sechium edule) is technically a fruit but is eaten like a vegetable. All parts of the gourd are edible, including the seeds, skin, and flowers. The chayote’s pale green flesh is crisp when raw and softens when cooked. Beloved for its cucumber-like mild, cool, and slightly sweet flavor, chayote is a refreshing food that packs a nutritional punch.

Rich in nutrients

One of the greatest attributes of chayote squash is its nutrition content, as it offers various essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A single chayote squash (203 grams) provides the following nutrients.

  • Calories: 39
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams — 14% of the
  • Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 26% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): 47% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 8% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 19% of the RDI
  • Copper: 12% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 10% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 7% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 6% of the RDI

Chayote squash is high in many nutrients — especially folate (vitamin B9) — while low in calories, carbs, and fat.

Health Benefits

High in Fiber

A high-fiber diet helps treat constipation and normalize bowel movements. Eating chayote is a good way to increase your fiber consumption. One chayote contains 3.5 grams of fiber, which contributes 14 percent of your daily value of 25 grams. Fiber also helps control blood sugar levels — particularly helpful for diabetics — and lowers cholesterol, which promotes a healthier cardiovascular system.

Heart Health

Researchers have found that phytochemicals in chayote can improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure levels, which supports traditional Mexican use of the fruit to treat heart disease. Chayote is also rich in antioxidants, including myricetin, which can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and protect against free radicals to reduce the risk of developing certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

May promote blood sugar control

Fiber and plant compounds in chayote may contribute to stabilizing blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity.

Chayote squash is low in total carbs and high in soluble fiber, which may help regulate blood sugar levels.

Soluble fiber slows down your digestion and absorption of carbs, which reduces your blood sugar response after eating.

Chayote may also improve blood sugar control by affecting insulin.

Insulin resistance is a condition that occurs when your cells become less sensitive to insulin — a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

This leads to progressively higher blood sugar levels and can eventually result in diabetes.

Research suggests that unique plant compounds in chayote may play a role in increasing your sensitivity to insulin by reducing the activity of enzymes linked to poor blood sugar control and type 2 diabetes.

Healthier Aging

Eating chayote can lead to significant reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress, processes that have harmful effects on body cells. In particular, studies have shown that chayote helps reduce signs of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for cognitive decline and frailty for older adults. Antioxidants and nutrients in chayote, such as vitamin C, may also help to protect your body from cell damage and reduce visible signs of aging.

Aids Weight Loss

A whole chayote only has 38.6 calories and 0.1 grams of fat. The high water content and fiber help keep you fuller for longer without taking in a lot of calories. You can eat chayote as a snack to keep hunger at bay and stay within your daily calorie intake. Due to the fruit’s soft texture, you can use chayote to bulk up a salad or add it to a smoothie.

Provides Essential Vitamins

Chayote is an abundant source of folate and vitamin C. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for female fertility and cancer prevention. Taken before and during pregnancy, it reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects. A whole chayote contributes 189 micrograms of folate to your diet, which amounts to about 50 percent of your recommended daily allowance. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, which may increase the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer. A chayote contains 15.6 micrograms of vitamin C, which amounts to 26 percent of your RDA.

MIMI (Multi ion mask insert)

  • Can be worn with any facemask and provides additional heavy-duty protection.
  • Adult & Youth Sizes Available

Source Of Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are required in small amounts on a daily basis to help maintain a healthy metabolism, immune system and strong bones. Chayote contains the trace minerals zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Trace minerals make up part of the body’s hormones and enzymes. A chayote provides 1 milligram of zinc — 7 percent of your daily value. Zinc plays a role in wound healing and supports proper sense of taste and smell. Calcium and magnesium keep bones strong, and potassium supports nerve and muscle function.

May support liver function

Fatty liver disease is a condition in which excess fat is deposited into liver tissue. Too much fat in your liver can affect its ability to function properly.

Both test-tube and animal studies suggest that chayote squash extract may protect against fat accumulation in the liver, thus potentially preventing or treating fatty liver disease.

In one study, rats fed a high-fat diet and treated with chayote extract had significantly lower cholesterol and fatty acid deposits in their livers than control rats. This was due to apparent changes in the function of enzymes involved in fat metabolism.

Test-tube and animal research indicates that chayote squash extract may reduce fat accumulation in your liver, potentially protecting against fatty liver disease. However, more studies are needed.

 

How to add it to your diet

Chayote squash is a green, pear-shaped fruit often used as a vegetable. Its mild flavor makes it a versatile addition to a variety of dishes.

Chayote is very versatile and relatively easy to acquire and prepare.

These squashes are bright green and pear-shaped, with lots of ridges on their skin. Their mild flavor lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes.

Although botanically classified as fruits, chayote squashes are prepared like vegetables. Every part of the squash can be eaten, including its skin, flesh, and seeds. You can consume it raw or cooked.

When served raw, it makes a great addition to smoothies, slaws, and salads. Alternatively, it’s easily steamed, roasted, or fried. You could even consider adding it to soups, stews, and casseroles for an extra boost of nutrition.

Bottom Line

Chayote squash is low in calories but packed with fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients that make it a healthy addition to almost any diet.

Its potential benefits include supporting a healthy pregnancy and promoting heart health.

Colorful and easy to prepare, chayote is worth trying out as part of a balanced diet.

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