Chayote Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Chayote

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Chayote (Sechium edule) is a gourd that is often referred to as a vegetable, but technically this bright, green pear-shaped food is a fruit. Chayote squash—also called mirliton—is commonly grown in Mexico or other warm climates and can be consumed either raw or cooked. The root and leaves of this plant are also edible.

If you're looking to experiment with interesting new fruits and veggies, chayote is a smart choice. Chayote is a nutritious food that contains several vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin C, and is an excellent source of fiber. The fruit is versatile, easy to use, and provides a boost of healthy nutrition along with an interesting flavor and texture.

Chayote Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (132g) of raw 1" chayote pieces.

  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 2.6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Sugars: 2.2g
  • Protein: 1.1g
  • Folate: 122.8mcg
  • Vitamin C: 10.2mg

Carbs

Most of the calories in chayote come from carbohydrates. There are a total of 6 grams of carbs in a one-cup serving and over two grams of healthy fiber. You'll also get a small amount of starch and just over 2 grams of naturally occurring sugar.

Chayote is a low-glycemic food. The glycemic load of a single cup serving is estimated to range between one and two, regardless of whether it is cooked or raw. A low glycemic food is digested and metabolized slowly and therefore raises blood sugar at a slower rate than foods with higher glycemic indexes.

Fats

There is less than one gram of fat in a cup of raw chayote and the very small amount is polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats come from plant sources and are considered to be a healthier source of fat than saturated fat. Health experts advise replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats when possible to boost heart health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

If chayote is prepared with fats (as many recipes suggest), the fat content will increase, and if butter or another animal fat is used in the preparation, you'll also increase your intake of saturated fat.

Protein

Chayote is not a significant source of protein, providing just over one gram per serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

Chayote provides a number of health-boosting vitamins and minerals. A single serving of chayote provides 123 micrograms of folate, or 31% of the recommended daily intake. You'll also get over 10 grams, or about 17% of your recommended intake, of vitamin C. Other vitamins in chayote include vitamin K, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E.

Minerals in chayote include manganese, copper, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. There is also a small amount of calcium, iron, and phosphorus in chayote.

Calories

One cup (132g) of raw chayote provides 25 calories. Chayote is a high-volume food containing 95% water and few calories. Carbohydrate is the main calorie source with 5%, followed by 1% from protein and 0% from fat.

Summary

Chayote is a low-calorie food that is high in fiber, folate, and vitamin C. It is a source of several other nutrients. It is full of water and contains mostly carbohydrate with minimal protein and fat.

Health Benefits

Ongoing research suggests that consuming chayote may offer several health benefits.

Satiety

Like many other types of squash, chayote is a good source of fiber. Fiber helps you to feel full and satisfied after eating so that it is easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Fiber is also an important nutrient for a healthy digestive system. Studies have established the use of chayote and chayote roots as a quality source of both starch and fiber.

Source of Polyphenols

A 2019 review published in Food Chemistry investigated chayote's nutritional, phytochemical, and pharmacological properties. Researchers determined that the fruit provides a broad spectrum of polyphenols including phenolic acids, tannins, and stilbenes.

Polyphenols are known to have antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticarcinogenic, and hypoglycemic effects in the body.

Researchers also note that clinical and epidemiological studies have established an inverse relationship between the consumption of chayote and the prevalence of chronic diseases. However, the study authors noted that more research is needed to fully understand the medicinal and nutritional potential of chayote and chayote byproducts.

May Fight Inflammation

Another 2019 study investigated the potential benefits of chayote consumption in older adults. The research published in the journal Antioxidants concluded that consumption of dried chayote may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in older adults with metabolic syndrome.

However, the study was small in scope and study authors acknowledge that further studies are needed.

May Reduce Blood Pressure

There is some evidence that consuming the juice of chayote may reduce blood pressure in hypertensive adults. Researchers believe this is due to the potassium content in chayote which is 365 milligrams per 100 grams of fruit. More research is needed.

May Reduce Blood Glucose

A study on the effects of chayote on blood sugar in pre-diabetic people showed that blood glucose was significantly reduced when provided with chayote. This was a single study that needs to be reproduced to draw definitive conclusions.

Allergies

While medical sources don't cite specific chayote allergies, there are some anecdotal reports of cooks experiencing contact dermatitis after handling the fruit. According to published studies, contact dermatitis can be caused by exposure to butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata).

Some people who handle chayote describe a similar irritating, tingling sensation after handling the fruit. If you experience any symptoms, reach out to your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

When It's Best

Chayote is harvested in the fall and is typically available from October through March. However, with modern agriculture is it likely you can find it any time of the year, although you might need to seek it out at a specialty grocery store.

Storage and Food Safety

Choose chayote that is even colored and has no blemishes such as cuts, dark spots, or soft areas. Store chayote in the fridge for up to one month before cutting or preparing it.

How to Prepare

Chayote should be peeled and can be eaten either raw or cooked. You can exchange it for squash in some recipes.

It can also be julienned or diced and added to fresh summer dishes like salads or slaws. This versatile fruit can also be stuffed, sauteed, pickled, deep-fried, stewed, mashed, roasted, or baked like a potato. Some people use chayote instead of zucchini or other types of squash in their favorite dishes.

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8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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