Chayote is green, pear-shaped fruit that belongs to gourd family. Even though Chayote is a fruit, people use it as a vegetable. There are so many names of this fruit such as vegetable pear, christophene, cho-cho, mirliton, chouchoute, pipinola, pear squash and choko. Chayote is a Spanish word that comes from “chayohtli”. You can find different varieties of the fruit which range from smooth to extremely ridge and from cream to apple green in color. The white flesh of the fruit is quite crunchy and has mild sweet flavor. There is one soft seed in the middle of Chayote which is usually thrown away. The nutty flavored seed can be consumed along with the fruit. It is consumed all over the world but it is more popular in the United States. It is very nutritious and has many health benefits.
Image source: specialtyproduce.com
Chayote is used in South and Central American cuisine as a popular ingredient. It can be eaten in both ways: raw and cooked (boiled, baked, steamed, fried, or sautéed). Also, its stem, leaves, root and seed can be eaten. Chayote is cooked just like the Summer Squash and you can even use it in many recipes in place of squash. It can be added in soups, salad, stews, pies, salsa and pickled in escabeche sauce. In any form (raw or cooked), chayote has good amount of amino acids and vitamin C. You can also consume the root’s tuberous part similar to yam. Diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties are contained by leaves and fruit.
Chayote Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Total weight of Chayote: 132 grams
- Protein – 0.82 g
- Carbohydrate – 4.51 g
- Fiber -1.7 g
- Sugars – 1.66g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.13 g
- Folate – 93 mcg
- Vitamin K – 4.1mcg
- Vitamin C -7.7mg
- Vitamin B3 – 0.47 mg
- Vitamin B5- 0.249 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.12 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.076 mg
- Vitamin B2 – 0.029 mg
- Vitamin B1- 0.02 mg
- Choline – 9.2 mg
- Selenium – 0.2 mcg
- Potassium – 125 mg
- Phosphorus -18 mg
- Calcium – 17 mg
- Magnesium – 12 mg
- Sodium – 2 mg
- Zinc – 0.74 mg
- Iron – 0.34 mg
- Manganese – 0.189 mg
- Copper – 0.123 mg
Health Benefits of Chayote
1. Prevent cancer
There are various vitamins and minerals in this fruit helps to prevent cancer. Vitamin C, folate, Calcium, selenium, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin B6 all protect against cancer. Vitamin C, folate, selenium and Vitamin B6 prevent cervical cancer. Vitamin E prevents bowel cancer while Vitamin C prevents stomach, breast, oral, uterus, colon ovary and lung cancers. All these vitamins and minerals neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals that lead to genetic mutations and increase the growth and development of cancer.
2. Helps the Body to Produce Energy
You can consume chayote omelet to provide the rush that your body wants for performing daily activities. Manganese and Vitamin B6 in chayote, helps the body to produce energy by converting protein and fat.
3. Prevent constipation
People suffering from constipation should include chayote in their diet in order to promote bowel regularity. The fruit contains dietary fiber that prevents constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber softens the stools by drawing water into them & making them smooth. Thus, it prevents constipation.
4. Good for the heart
Chayote is rich in folate, magnesium and potassium which are necessary for heart health. Folate decrease the homocysteine levels in the blood and thereby reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. According to a study, higher consumption of folate decreases the risk of heart attacks or other heart diseases by 55%. Potassium decreases the high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. As per the major study, high blood pressure patients who consumed potassium supplements can reduce their systolic blood pressure by around 8 points. Magnesium prevents blood clots formation, maintain a normal heartbeat and increase good cholesterol levels.
5. Good in Pregnancy
Folate is necessary for pregnant women as woman’s blood levels of folate decrease during pregnancy. Folate deficiency causes Neural tube defects, birth defects, limb malformations and certain heart defects. Folate deficiency also linked to low birth weight. As per a study, pregnant women who consumed folic acid supplements decreased the occurrence of infant neural tube defects by 3.9 times. So, including chayote can help to prevent these problems in the newborn babies.
6. Healthier Skin
These days, everybody wants healthier skin. You can get healthy skin easily just by incorporating chayote in your diet. Chayote contains Vitamin E, Folic acid/folate, Vitamin C and zinc which help you to get healthy skin. Zinc controls the skin’s oil production and keeps the skin acne free, Vitamin C delays the aging process, Vitamin E protects and repairs the skin while Folic acid increases firmness of the skin.
Anemia is caused by Vitamin B2 and iron deficiency. Chayote is packed with Vitamin B2 and iron which are required by body for the production of red blood cell and thereby increase hemoglobin levels. Folate in this fruit is very important for the creation and maturation of RBC and Vitamin K is necessary for anemia patients as it help the blood to clot properly after an injury. Vitamin C, Copper and zinc help the body to absorb iron so the iron intake would not be wasted.
8. Helps in Weight Loss
Chayote is rich in dietary fiber and very low in calories which make it a perfect food for weight loss. It also has no saturated fats or cholesterol. Dietary fiber produces a feeling of fullness so you feel fuller for longer period. This helps you to prevent overeating.
- Chayote consumption prevent bone loss as it has Vitamin K
- Protects you from depression and fatigue
- Enhances the health of teeth, gums, lung and spine
- Vitamin B6 in the fruit helps to improve memory performance
- Improves wound healing and immune system
- Decreases irritability, insomnia and gingivitis
- Magnesium prevents muscle cramps
- Copper and manganese in chayote help to keep the thyroid healthy.
- It prevents Alzheimer’s disease, cells damage as well as frequent colds & infections