Chayote (Sechium edule) is a squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of gourds. It is also known as mirliton squash or vegetable pear. It is native to central Mexico and areas of Latin America, but it is currently grown all over the world. It can be eaten raw or cooked, peeled or unpeeled, and is sometimes compared to a cucumber or zucchini. Its firm, crisp texture makes it a great choice for sauts and salads, and its firmness makes spiralizing a breeze. In purchasing chayote, look for a chayote squash that is uniformly colored, firm, free of blemishes, and tiny spots. The squashes are sold ripe, but they can be kept on a cold kitchen counter or in the cooler drawer of the refrigerator for a few days.
Sauted Chayote Squash
This recipe makes 6-8 servings and contains 86 calories per portion.
4 chayote squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped chives, parsley, and/or grated Parmesan cheese, garnish
Chayote contains a wide range of minerals and antioxidant substances that may provide a variety of health advantages. Here are some of the known health benefits:
Aids in blood sugar regulation
Chayote squash has a low total carbohydrate content and a high soluble fiber content, which may help control blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber decreases your blood sugar response after eating by slowing carb digestion and absorption. Chayote may also help to manage blood sugar levels by influencing insulin.
Aids in weight loss
Chayote squash has a low-calorie count but a high fiber content, which might help you maintain a healthy weight. A 203-gram chayote squash contains 39 calories and 4 grams of fiber. Fiber slows the rate at which your stomach empties, making you feel full and content for longer, which might help you eat less and in turn, lose weight.
Supports digestive health
Chayote has a lot of flavonoids, which are plant components that aid digestion. Furthermore, eating enough fiber-rich foods like chayote can help to maintain good intestinal function and gut bacteria.
Promotes heart health
The leaves and fruits of the chayote plant contain phytonutrients that promote cardiovascular health. Several heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor blood flow, may be improved by eating chayote squash.
Promotes healthy pregnancy
Chayote is a great source of folate, delivering more than 40% of the recommended daily intake in only one squash. Folate, often known as vitamin B9, is necessary for everyone, but it's especially crucial for women who are pregnant or plan to get pregnant. Folate is essential for the correct development of the fetal brain and spinal cord during early pregnancy. Adequate folate consumption may also help to prevent premature births. Thus, incorporating chayote and other folate-rich foods into a well-balanced diet is an excellent strategy to ensure a safe pregnancy.