Scientific Name: Sechium edule

Bahasa Indonesia: Labu Siam

Batak: Jipang

Basic Information: Chayote is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. The chayote vine can be grown on the ground, but as a climbing plant, it will grow onto anything and can rise as high as 12 meters when support is provided. It has heart shaped leaves and tendrils on the stem. The plant bears male flowers in clusters and solitary female flowers. The plant’s fruit is light green and elongated with deep ridges lengthwise. The chayote is mostly cooked and handled like summer squash. The root, stem, seeds, and leaves are edible as well. It originated in central Mexico and various parts of Latin America, but is now grown all over the world.

Health Benefits:

  1. Fights Disease – the antioxidants found in chayote carry strong anticancer, antidiabetes, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Promotes Heart Health – the plant compounds and fiber present in chayote may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  3. Promotes Blood Sugar Control – fiber and plant compounds in chayote may contribute to stabilizing blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity
  4. Supports Healthy Pregnancy – folate is required for proper development of the fetal brain and spinal cord and plays a role in preventing preterm births.
  5. Anticancer Effects – some found that chayote compounds may slow the growth and progression of some cancer cells such as cervical and leukemia.
  6. Slows Signs of Aging – the antioxidants found in chayote contribute to youthful looking skin and reduce visible signs of aging.
  7. Supports Liver Function – chayote can reduce fat accumulation in your liver, which can protect you from liver disease.
  8. Promotes a Healthy Weight – chayote has few calories and a lot of fiber, which aids in weight loss and helps you feel fuller longer
  9. Supports Digestive Health – flavonoids and fiber boost various functions of your digestive tract, including healthy gut bacteria and bowel regularity.

Fun Facts:

  • Due to its cell-regenerative properties, it is believed as a contemporary legend that this fruit caused the mummification of people from the Columbian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it
  • In Australia, where it is called choko, a persistent urban legend is that McDonald’s apple pies were made of chayotes, not apples. This eventually led McDonald’s to emphasize the fact that real apples are used in their pies.