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Chayote Squash

Chayote Squash

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Description

10Impressive Benefits of Chayote Squash

Chayote(Sechium edule) is a type of squash that belongs to the gourd familyCucurbitaceae.

It originallyhails from central Mexico and various parts of Latin America but is now grownall over the world. It’s also known as mirliton squash or chocho.

Chayote isloaded with an array of nutrients and antioxidant compounds that provide manypotential health benefits.

Here are 10impressive health benefits of chayote squash.

 

1. Rich innutrients

One of thegreatest attributes of chayote squash is its nutrition content, as it offersvarious essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A singlechayote squash (203 grams) provides the following nutrients (1Trusted Source):

·        Calories: 39

·        Carbs: 9 grams

·        Protein: 2 grams

·        Fat: 0 grams

·        Fiber: 4 grams — 14% of the Reference DailyIntake (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

Notably,chayote is particularly high in folate, which promotes proper cell division.

Alongside itsnutrient density, chayote also happens to be low in calories, fat, sodium, andtotal carbs. As such, it’s quite healthy and makes for a good fit for variousdiets (1Trusted Source).

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

 

2. Containspotent antioxidants

Many ofchayote’s benefits may be attributed to its antioxidant content.

Antioxidantsare compounds found in a variety of foods that protect against cellular damage,reduce inflammation, and lower stress within your body (2Trusted Source).

Chayote squashprovides the antioxidants quercetin, myricetin, morin, and kaempferol (2TrustedSource).

Of these,myricetin occurs in the highest amounts. Research suggests that myricetincarries strong anticancer, antidiabetes, and anti-inflammatory properties(2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Additionally,chayote squash is an excellent source of vitamin C, which serves as anantioxidant in your body (4Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Chayote squash provides multiple antioxidants — including vitamin C andmyricetin — that fight disease and promote health.

 

3. Maypromote heart health

Eating chayotesquash may improve several heart disease risk factors, such as high bloodpressure, high cholesterol, and poor blood flow.

Animal andtest-tube research indicates that chayote compounds may help relax bloodvessels, thereby improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure (5TrustedSource).

Myricetin, aprominent antioxidant in chayote squash, has also been shown to lowercholesterol in some animal studies (3Trusted Source).

Moreover, thissquash is a good source of fiber, providing about 14% of the RDI. Higher intakeof fiber-rich foods like chayote is associated with a reduced risk of heartdisease (1Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Various plant compounds and fiber present in chayote make it a good choice forheart health. These compounds may improve blood flow while lowering bloodpressure and cholesterol.

 

4. Maypromote blood sugar control

Chayote squashis low in total carbs and high in soluble fiber, which may help regulate bloodsugar levels (7Trusted Source).

Soluble fiberslows down your digestion and absorption of carbs, which reduces your bloodsugar response after eating (8Trusted Source).

Chayote mayalso improve blood sugar control by affecting insulin.

Insulinresistance is a condition that occurs when your cells become less sensitive toinsulin — a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

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

Researchsuggests that unique plant compounds in chayote may play a role in increasingyour sensitivity to insulin by reducing the activity of enzymes linked to poorblood sugar control and type 2 diabetes (9Trusted Source).

SUMMARY: Fiberand plant compounds in chayote may contribute to stabilizing blood sugar andimproving insulin sensitivity.

 

5. May supporta healthy pregnancy

Folate, orvitamin B9, is essential for all people — but it’s particularly important forthose who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

During earlypregnancy, folate is required for proper development of the fetal brain andspinal cord. Adequate folate intake may also play a role in preventing pretermbirths (10Trusted Source).

Chayote is anexcellent source of folate, providing over 40% of the RDI in one squash(1Trusted Source).

Thus, includingchayote and other folate-rich foods as part of a balanced diet is a great wayto support a healthy pregnancy.

SUMMARY:Chayote is an excellent source of folate, a nutrient required for proper fetaldevelopment. Therefore, the squash may have appeal for women who are pregnantor trying to become so.

 

6. May haveanticancer effects

Higher fruitand vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of various types ofcancer, including those of the digestive tract (11Trusted Source).

Test-tubestudies note that certain chayote compounds may slow the growth and progressionof some cancer cells, such as those of cervical cancer and leukemia (12TrustedSource, 13Trusted Source).

Although theseresults are promising, current evidence isn’t strong enough to suggest thatchayote has cancer-fighting effects in humans.

Ultimately,more research is needed.

SUMMARY: Sometest-tube research indicates that compounds in chayote may have anticancerbenefits, but more studies are needed.

 

7. May slowvisible signs of aging

One of the maintheories of aging centers on molecules called free radicals that inflict damageon your cells, ultimately leading to reduced functionality over time (14TrustedSource).

Some researchindicates that consuming foods high in antioxidants may slow the aging processby protecting cells from free radical damage (14Trusted Source).

Chayote squashhappens to be full of antioxidants, one of which is vitamin C.

In addition toits antioxidant capacity, vitamin C is necessary for producing collagen, one ofthe primary proteins found in your skin. Collagen is often credited with givingskin its firm, youthful appearance (15Trusted Source).

Thus, adequateintake of vitamin-C-rich foods like chayote squash may help reduce visiblesigns of aging (15Trusted Source).

What’s more, arecent test-tube study revealed a strong protective effect of chayote extracton human skin cells against damage from UV radiation (16Trusted Source).

Ultimately,more research is needed on chayote and skin health.

SUMMARY:Chayote contains several antioxidants, including vitamin C, which maycontribute to youthful-looking skin and reduce visible signs of aging.

 

8. Maysupport liver function

Fatty liverdisease is a condition in which excess fat is deposited into liver tissue. Toomuch fat in your liver can affect its ability to function properly (17TrustedSource).

Both test-tubeand animal studies suggest that chayote squash extract may protect against fataccumulation in the liver, thus potentially preventing or treating fatty liverdisease (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

In one study,rats fed a high-fat diet and treated with chayote extract had significantlylower cholesterol and fatty acid deposits in their livers than control rats.This was due to apparent changes in the function of enzymes involved in fatmetabolism (19Trusted Source).

At this point,more research is needed to understand how chayote squash may support liverhealth in humans.

SUMMARY:Test-tube and animal research indicates that chayote squash extract may reducefat accumulation in your liver, potentially protecting against fatty liverdisease. However, more studies are needed.

 

9. Maypromote a healthy weight

Chayote squashboasts very few calories but a lot of fiber — two attributes which can supporta healthy weight (20Trusted Source).

A whole chayotesquash (203 grams) provides 39 calories and 4 grams of fiber. Fiber slows downthe rate at which your stomach empties, leaving you feeling full and satisfiedfor longer — which may decrease food intake and promote weight loss (1TrustedSource, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

Moreover,research suggests that consumption of dietary fiber may increase fullnesshormones like GLP-1 and peptide YY (23Trusted Source).

Thus, addingchayote squash to your diet may help you stay on track with your weight lossgoals.

SUMMARY:Chayote is low in calories and high in fiber, which can aid weight loss andmaintenance by helping you feel fuller for longer.

10. Maysupport digestive health

Your digestivetract is responsible for a variety of essential functions, including detoxification,immunity, and digestion and absorption of nutrients (24Trusted Source).

Consumption offruits and vegetables like chayote squash can boost digestive function.

Flavonoids,plant compounds which support digestion, are found in high amounts in chayote(2Trusted Source).

Researchindicates that flavonoid-rich foods aid digestive enzymes involved in theremoval and excretion of waste products in your digestive tract (24TrustedSource).

What’s more,adequate intake of fiber-rich foods like chayote can encourage healthyintestinal function and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria.

In turn, thesebenefits promote bowel regularity and may play a role in preventing variouschronic conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer(25Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:  Flavonoids and fiber in chayote boost variousfunctions of your digestive tract, including healthy gut bacteria and bowelregularity.

 

How to addit to your diet

Chayote is veryversatile and relatively easy to acquire and prepare.

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

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

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

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

 

The bottomline

Chayote squashis low in calories but packed with fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrientsthat make it a healthy addition to almost any diet.

Its potentialbenefits include supporting a healthy pregnancy and promoting heart health.

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

 

 

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