Chayote, also known as chocho, is a type of edible plant belonging to the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, melons, and squash. It is native to Mexico and Central America and has been cultivated for centuries for its nutritious and versatile fruit. Chayote is now grown in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world and is a staple in many traditional dishes.
But what is the nutritional value of chayote, and is it healthy for you? In this article, we will explore the various health benefits and potential drawbacks of this unique fruit, as well as its nutritional composition and how it compares to other vegetables.
Nutritional Value of Chayote
One of the primary reasons chayote is considered a healthy food is because of its high nutrient content. A 100-gram serving of chayote, which is equivalent to about half a medium-sized fruit, contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 17
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 20% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- Potassium: 5% of the RDA
- Copper: 10% of the RDA
- Manganese: 20% of the RDA
- Thiamin: 10% of the RDA
- Niacin: 4% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 5% of the RDA
- Folate: 5% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDA
It is worth noting that chayote is a low-calorie food, with just 17 calories per serving. This makes it a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. It is also relatively low in carbs and high in fiber, which can help to promote feelings of fullness and prevent overeating.
Chayote is also a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps to protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, while potassium is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure and proper muscle function. Manganese is a trace mineral that is involved in a number of important processes in the body, including the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Health Benefits of Chayote
In addition to its high nutrient content, chayote has a number of potential health benefits. Some of the most notable include:
- Weight loss: As mentioned earlier, chayote is a low-calorie food that is high in fiber. This combination can help to promote feelings of fullness and may help to reduce the risk of obesity and related health problems.
- Heart health: The high fiber content of chayote may also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Potassium, another nutrient found in chayote, has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular events.
- Digestive health: The fiber in chayote can also help to promote healthy digestion by adding bulk to the stool and helping to prevent constipation.
- Skin health: Chayote is a good source of vitamin C, which is important for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to keep skin firm and youthful.
- Bone health: Chayote contains small amounts of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also a good source of magnesium, which plays a role in bone health and may help to prevent osteoporosis.