Chayote Squash Definition
Chayote squash is a type of squash that belongs to the Cucurbit squash family.
It originally comes from central Mexico and various parts of Latin America but is now grown worldwide. It is also known as a mirliton or Chocho squash.
Chayote squash loads with a variety of nutrients and antioxidant compounds that provide many potential health benefits.
10 Excellent Health Benefits of Chayote Squash
1. Rich in Nutrients
One of the most splendid chayote squash is its nutritional content, as it offers several vital vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
A single Chayote squash (203 grams) supply the following nutrients:
Carbohydrates: 9 gms
Protein: 2 gms
Fat: 0 gms
Fiber: 4 gms – 14% of the Reference Daily Intake
Vitamin C: 26% of the RDI
Vitamin B9 (folate): 47% of the RDI
Vit K: 10% of the RDI
Vit 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
In particular, pumpkin is incredibly rich in folic acid, which promotes proper cell division.
In addition to its nutrient density, it is also low in calories, fat, sodium, and total carbohydrates. As such, it is relatively healthy and adapts well to various diets.
2. Contains Powerful Antioxidants
- Many of the benefits of Chayote squash can attribute to its antioxidant content.
- Antioxidants are compounds found in various foods that protect against cell damage, reduce inflammation, and decrease stress within your body.
- Pumpkin provides the antioxidants quercetin, myricetin, morin, and kaempferol.
- Of these, myricetin finds in the highest amounts. Myricetin has potent anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Additionally, it is an excellent vitamin C source, which acts as an antioxidant in your body.
3. Can Promote Heart Health
- Eating can improve several risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low blood flow.
- These compounds can help relax blood vessels, thereby improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
- Myricetin, a significant antioxidant in chayote squash, has also been shown to lower cholesterol.
- Additionally, this is a good source of fiber, providing around 14% of the RDI. A higher intake of high-fiber foods like chayote is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
4. May Promote Blood Sugar Control
- It is low in total carbohydrates and high in soluble fiber, regulating blood sugar levels.
- Soluble fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which reduces the blood sugar response after eating.
- It can also improve blood sugar control by affecting insulin.
- Insulin resistance is a condition that happens when cells become less sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
- It leads to progressively higher blood sugar levels and can eventually result in diabetes.
- It may increase insulin sensitivity by reducing enzymes linked to low blood sugar control and type 2 diabetes.
5. Can Support a Healthy Pregnancy
- Folate, or vitamin B9, is vital for everyone, but it is particularly crucial for pregnant women or planning to become pregnant.
- During early pregnancy, folic acid requires to develop the fetal brain and spinal cord properly. Adequate folate absorption may also play a role in stopping preterm births.
- Chayote is an excellent folic acid source, providing more than 40% of the RDI in a pumpkin.
- Therefore, including chayote and other folate-rich foods as part of a balanced diet is a great way to support a healthy pregnancy.
6. May have Anticancer Effects
- Its higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of several cancers, including those of the digestive tract.
- Certain chayote compounds can slow some cancer cells’ growth and progression, such as cervical cancer and leukemia.
- Although these results are promising, the current evidence is not strong enough to suggest that chayote has anti-cancer effects in humans.
7. Slow the Visible Signs of Aging
- One of the leading aging theories focuses on free radicals molecules that inflict damage to cells and ultimately reduce functionality over time.
- Eating foods high in antioxidants can slow down the aging process by protecting cells from free radical damage.
- Chayote squash pack with antioxidants, one of which is vitamin C.
- Also, to its antioxidant capacity, vitamin C is necessary to produce collagen, one of the main proteins found in the skin. Collagen often credits with giving skin its firm, youthful appearance.
- Therefore, the adequate intake of foods rich in vitamin C like chayote squash can reduce aging’s visible signs.
- A strong protective effect of it extracts on human skin cells against damage from UV radiation.
8. Can Support Liver Function
- Fatty liver disease is a problem in which excess fat deposits in the liver tissue. Too much fat in the liver can affect its ability to function correctly.
- Chayote squash extract may save against fat accumulation in the liver, potentially preventing or treating fatty liver disease.
- Chayote extract had remarkably lower cholesterol and fatty acid deposits in the liver than control rats. It was due to apparent changes in the function of enzymes involved in fat.
9. Can Promote a Healthy Weight
- Chayote squash is very low in calories but high in fiber, two attributes that can help maintain a healthy weight.
- A whole (203 grams) provides 39 calories and 4 grams of fiber. Fiber slows down the charge at which your stomach empties, leaving you full and satisfied longer, which can decrease food intake and promote weight loss.
- Consuming dietary fiber may increase satiety hormones such as GLP-1 and peptide YY.
- Therefore, adding chayote to your diet can help you keep up with your weight loss goals.
10. May Support Digestive Health
- Your digestive tract is responsible for various essential functions, including detoxification, immunity, and the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Consuming fruits and vegetables like chayote squash can stimulate digestive function.
- Flavonoids, plant compounds that promote digestion, find in large quantities in chayote.
- Foods are rich in flavonoids aid digestive enzymes involved in the elimination and excretion of waste products in your digestive tract.
- Additionally, adequate intake of high-fiber foods like chayote can promote healthy bowel function and healthy gut bacteria maintenance.
- In turn, these advantages promote bowel regularity and may play a role in preventing various chronic problems, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.
How to Add Chayote Squash to Diet?
- It is very versatile and relatively easy to acquire and prepare.
- These pumpkins are bright green and pear-shaped, with many ridges on the skin. Its mild flavor lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes.
- Although botanically classified as fruits, chayote squash prepares like vegetables. You can eat every part, including its skin, pulp, and seeds. You can take it raw or cooked.
- When served raw, it makes a crucial addition to smoothies, salads, and salads. Alternatively, it is quickly steamed, broiled, or fried. You might even consider adding it to soups, stews, and casseroles for an added nutrition boost.
- Chayote squash a green, pear-shaped fruit that often uses as a vegetable. Its mild flavor makes it a versatile inclusion to a variety of dishes.
Chayote squash low in calories but pack with fiber, antioxidants, and vital nutrients that make it a healthy addition to almost any diet.
Its potential advantages include supporting a healthy pregnancy and promoting heart health. Colorful and calm to prepare, chayote is worth trying as part of a balanced diet.