Chayote fruit, properties and benefits

The chayote (Sechium edule) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family like the cucumber, the melon and the watermelon. In addition, it is native, along with the pumpkin, of the American continent.

What is chayote?

The chayote ( Sechium edule)   is a pumpkin type fruit that belongs to the cucurbitaceae family Originally it comes from central Mexico, but is now grown all over the world. It is also known as a mirliton or chocho squash, but we will see it next.

The chayote is a fruit with a high nutritional value, antioxidant compounds that provide us with many health benefits.

What is a chayote in Mexico?

The chayote (Sechium edule) is well known in Mexico which is considered one of the countries where chayote are consumed. In addition, it is cultivated by way of production. Likewise, this food continues to be part of the basic diet. There are about 18 species of the genus Sechium.

What is chayote in Peru?

The chayote is an acidic fruit like orange . It is known by different names that are used for this plant and fruit. They are as follows:

  • chayote
  • chayota
  • cidra
  • guatilla
  • guatila
  • güisquil
  • poor dad
  • papa cider
  • air pope
  • potatoes
  • papa del moro
  • tayota
  • xuxu
  • chuchú

What is chayote in other countries?

The name chayote ( Sechium edule ) in the Nahuatl language ( chayotli ) means prickly gourd. According to INCAP (Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama), in Venezuela they know it as chayota and in Peru it is called cayota, pumpkin or ceciliana. [1]

Also and according to the same INCAP reference in Guatemala and El Salvador they call it güisquil.

Likewise, in Panama, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica they know it as chayote and in Honduras , patate.

It seems that in Colombia this fruit is known as guatila (in the interior) or cidra (in the coffee region). On the other hand, in Brazil its name is chuchu.

In the Philippine community it is called sayote and is cultivated in the mountainous areas of the country.

As you can see, the same fruit has a great variety of names depending on the region that we are in.

In Spain, chayote ( Sechium edule ) is grown in southern regions and is marketed as chayote .

Chayote cultivation

The Challote is a perennial plant with annual renewal and climbing stems. Likewise, its leaves are broad, between 9.5 to 18 cm long and 11 to 21.5 cm wide, ovate or pentagonal. In addition, it has 3 to 5 thick, branched tendrils. Its flowers are small and white and are distributed in compound racemes.

The color of the fruit ranges from dark green to lighter tones, and even reaches yellow. It is fleshy and can be prickly. It measures from 7 to 20 cm of lake, its weight varies between 300 g to 2 kg . Its seed, commonly called pip, is also eaten as a snack .

It is cultivated for its fruit, whose pulp is edible and popular in the national gastronomy.

Chayote cultivation conditions

It also grows best in temperate climates between 13 ° C and 21 ° C with abundant rainfall. As it is a plant that stands tall, when sowing it it is necessary to place it on a fence inclined towards the east. In this way it is able to grow properly.

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It requires that the humidity oscillates between 80% and 85% and they must spend 90 to 110 days to obtain the first fruit. In an area of ​​400 meters, around 14,000 chayotes weighing approximately 350 g can be produced within six months. For each plant, around 47 kg can be produced in a year.

The pulp of the chayote has a flavor between sweet and acid. In addition, it contains a lot of water, so its calorific contribution is only 11 calories per 100 grams. Its roots, similar to those of potatoes, are consumed in countries like Colombia. It is also used as skin, hair and nail care products.

How do you eat chayote?

There are a variety of recipes with which you can eat this fruit. Likewise, these recipes are well known in Latin America.

However, in Spain it is not found in the foods that we normally use in our kitchen. On the other hand, it has nutritional properties that are very beneficial for our health and that we cannot ignore.

It is important to eat a healthy diet, incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into our diet These foods that provide us with a large amount of water.

Chayotes in Mediterranean cuisine

In Mediterranean cuisine, it is common to find different types of fruits and vegetables in our kitchen . Therefore, we can make a multitude of recipes with different flavors. It is ideal to try new natural products, although sometimes it is difficult for us to incorporate them into our daily diet.

Fruits like chayote (Sechium edule)  have many health benefits. However, it is very difficult for us to introduce them into our recipes because these flavors are not familiar to us.

We have to remove the prejudices of the flavors. Those flavors that at first seem tinned to us, just as we used to as children with different types of vegetables that we did not want to eat and that now we like so much.

Chayote properties

This fruit is not well known in many regions of the world. On the other hand, in other areas they have benefited from the properties of this fruit for a long time.

Chayotes are rich in essential nutrients. It should be noted the folate or vitamin B9, while it is low in calories, carbohydrates and fat.

The nutritional properties of chayote are very interesting and very beneficial for our health. In addition, due to its texture, its flavor and the large amount of antioxidants, vitamins and proteins make this food a perfect complement to your diet.

Therefore, do not hesitate to try this delicious fruit and add it to your diet.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of chayote

Energetic value19 kcal
Carbohydrates4,5 gr
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium2 mg
Water94,24 mg
C vitamin7,7 mg
Vitamina K4,1 mg
Vitamin B-993 mg
Football17 mg
Potassium125 mg
Match18 mg
Sodium2 mg

Chayote benefits

Although for many it is a simple acidic fruit, taking chayote regularly provides us with many benefits. The nutritional properties of these products help us maintain good health.

Among the benefits of these fruits, we can distinguish the following:

1. Contributes to weight loss

The chayote provides us with very few calories and a significant amount of fiber. Therefore, it can help you lose weight and keep you feeling full.

Consequently, it is an ideal ingredient for a weight loss diet.

2. Helps regulate blood sugar

It is low in carbohydrates. [2] However, it is rich in soluble fiber. As a consequence, it helps regulate blood sugar levels.

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Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates. Therefore it minimizes the action of blood sugar after eating.

 3. Lowers cholesterol levels

Lacking saturated fat, chayote helps to level and control blood cholesterol. It can be consumed by people with diabetes. However, in the case of having this disease, we always recommend consulting with a doctor or a health professional.

Also, myricetin is a powerful antioxidant that also helps lower blood cholesterol.

4. Favorable for the circulatory system

Eating this fruit can help us prevent heart disease. As a consequence, improve risk factors in these types of diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and poor blood flow.

Additionally, some nutrients in chayote can help improve blood flow by reducing blood pressure. [3]

5. Powerful antioxidant

This fruit provides us with various antioxidant components, among which we can highlight: quercetin , myricetin, [4] morina and kaempferol. In addition, it provides us with vitamin C, which is considered a powerful antioxidant.

Some research indicates that eating foods high in antioxidants can slow down the aging process. This happens by protecting cells from free radical damage. [5]

6. Prevents anemia

Anemia or deficiency of red blood cells occurs when the body is lacking in vitamin B2 and iron. These two compounds can be found in chayote. As a result, they stimulate the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells.

7. Helps treat kidney stones

A study conducted by the University of North Florida found that chayote leaves are helpful in treating kidney stones. They are also efficient in reducing high blood pressure.

8. Helps with constipation

As already mentioned, these acidic fruits have a high fiber content, which facilitates the digestive task and is favorable against constipation.

9. Ideal for pregnant women

Folate, or vitamin B9, is an essential vitamin for all people. In addition, it is an essential nutrient for pregnant women. As we have already explained in other articles, folate [6] is very beneficial for the proper development of the baby brain and spinal cord.

Therefore, among the foods that we can include in a balanced diet, chayote is ideal for a pregnant woman , thanks to vitamin B9.

10. To support healthy digestion

These fruits provide us with flavonoids. These plant compounds promote digestion . Some research indicates that foods rich in flavonoids aid in the elimination and excretion of waste substances. [7]

conclusion

Finally, it can be summarized that chayote, although it is an unknown fruit in many regions, has numerous beneficial properties for our health.

We encourage you to try it both for its taste and its benefits. It is ideal as an ingredient in a variety of recipes.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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