Chayote is a plant from the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. With the scientific name Sechium edule, it is a relative of squash, cucumber, and melon. It is known by many names like cidra, sayote, sousout, mirliton, and vegetable pear. As a vegetable, chayote has the following health benefits.
Chayote is rich in vitamins and minerals. According to Nutrition and You, the vegetable contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. Vitamin A is great for vision and integrity of the skin and mucus membranes. On the other hand, vitamin B boosts the functions of the brain, such as learning, thinking, memory, and sensation. Then, vitamin C raises the body’s defenses against illness and infection. It also promotes the function of the substance collagen, which acts as cement to connected loosely associated cells and tissues. Vitamin E, just like vitamins A and C, acts as an antioxidant to the cells and helps the body get rid of unwanted elements like toxins and free radicals. Meanwhile, vitamin K helps in blood clotting, which prevents excessive bleeding, blood loss, and shock.
In terms of minerals, chayote contains calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, sodium, and potassium. Calcium and phosphorus promote bone and teeth strength while iron plays a role in cellular and tissue oxygenation. Magnesium boosts neuromuscular function while selenium prevents cellular breakdown or damage by releasing antioxidant enzymes. Manganese promotes metabolism and cellular and tissue growth and development while zinc boosts digestive health and wound healing. Finally, sodium and potassium work together in maintaining the fluid volume in the body and the latter also helps prevent cardiovascular diseases like hypertension by relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels.
Chayote and Weight Management
Chayote helps manage weight, specifically weight loss. According to SF Gate, the vegetable is also rich in fiber, which aids in constipation management. As per the publication, the vegetable also contains 3.5 grams of fiber, which adds 14 percent of a person’s daily value if fiber. In addition, fiber promotes control of blood glucose levels, and cholesterol reduction. Moreover, chayote also has rich water content, which promotes a sense of fullness without consuming huge amounts of calories. Chayote can also be eaten as a snack to satisfy hunger without compromising the daily calorie intake.
Chayote and Pregnant Women
Chayote also promotes a healthy pregnancy. According to Sweet Additions, chayote contains folate, which is important for pregnant women. As per the publication, the inclusion of folate in the diet helps prevent congenital anomalies like neural tube defects and heart defects. To add, it also prevents low birth weight. In a trial, the results showed that pregnant women who took folic acid supplements reduced by the occurrence of infant neural tube defects by 3.9 times.
Chayote can be added to various meal recipes, such as Chayote and Squash Side Dish. As per All Recipes, the ingredients include one chayote squash (cut into half-inch strips), a teaspoon of olive oil, one clove garlic (minced), half-teaspoon of salt, ground black pepper, half teaspoon of white sugar, one-fourth teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional), and one tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
To prepare, according to the publication, olive oil is heated in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Then, the garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar, pepper, salt, and squash are added when the oil is hot. The ingredients are stirred together and are cooked for two to three minutes. Next, the vinegar is added to the squash mixture and is cooked for two to three minutes longer, until the squash is slightly wilted, but crunchy and firm. Finally, the food is tasted and more sugar or salt is added if needed.
Chayote is one of the healthiest foods people have today. Its nutritional contents will allow promotion of a person’s health and well-being.