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The Surprising Nutritional Benefits of Chayote Squash: A Powerhouse Fruit for Your Health

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Chayote squash, also known as mirliton, vegetable pear, or choko, is a pear-shaped fruit that is commonly used in Latin American, Caribbean, and Asian cuisine. While most people only know about the taste and texture of chayote squash, it’s also a nutritional powerhouse, offering an array of health benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional benefits of chayote squash and how it can contribute to a healthier diet.

What is Chayote Squash?

Chayote squash is a member of the gourd family, which includes squash, melons, and cucumbers. While it is commonly used as a vegetable in culinary dishes, it is technically a fruit. It is native to Mexico but is now grown in many tropical and warm temperate regions around the world, including Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Chayote squash generally has a light green, smooth skin and a white flesh, similar in texture to that of a crisp pear. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste that makes it a versatile ingredient in many dishes.

Nutritional Benefits of Chayote Squash

Chayote squash is a low-calorie food, and a one-cup serving of cooked chayote has only about 38 calories. It is also low in fat, with only 0.2 grams of fat per serving. Here are some of the other nutritional benefits of chayote squash:

  • Fiber: A one-cup serving of cooked chayote squash has around 3 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for good digestive health, as it helps to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Chayote squash is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, which can help boost immunity and protect the body against diseases. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure and supports good heart health. Folate is essential for healthy fetal development in pregnant women.
  • Phytochemicals: Chayote squash contains several phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and carotenoids. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties and have been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Low Glycemic Index: The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how fast a food raises blood sugar levels. Chayote squash has a low GI, which means it doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels after eating. This makes it a good food choice for people with diabetes, who need to be mindful of their blood sugar levels.
  • Low Sodium Content: Chayote squash is naturally low in sodium, with only 2.4 milligrams of sodium per serving. A diet high in sodium can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. Incorporating chayote squash into your diet can be an excellent way to reduce your sodium intake.

How to Incorporate Chayote Squash into Your Diet

Chayote squash is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate chayote squash into your diet:

  • Salads: Slice chayote squash thinly and add it to salads for a refreshing crunch.
  • Stir-fries: Cut chayote squash into thin strips and add it to stir-fries with other vegetables and lean proteins.
  • Soups and Stew: Add chayote squash to soups or stews, such as chicken noodle soup or vegetable stew.
  • Roasted: Cut chayote squash into bite-size pieces and roast it with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic and herbs.
  • Grilled: Cut chayote squash into thick slices and grill it for a flavorful side dish.
  • Spiralized: Use a spiralizer to turn chayote squash into “noodles,” and use them as a low-carb alternative to pasta.

Tips for Buying and Storing Chayote Squash

When selecting chayote squash, look for firm, unblemished fruits. Avoid fruits that are soft, have dark spots, or have cuts or bruises. You can store whole chayote squash in a cool, dark place for up to a week, or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Chayote squash is a delicious and nutritious ingredient that can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and essential vitamins, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporating chayote squash into your meals can help you meet your nutritional needs while adding variety to your diet. Whether used in salads, soups, or stir-fries, chayote squash is an excellent ingredient to add to your repertoire.

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