chayote is very important for pregnant women

Although the shape is not exotic, chayote lot of benefits for human health. Cheap vegetables is a healthy food for the heart, able to ward off cancer, and very good for pregnant women.

Chayote was first discovered by Patrick Browne in Jamaica in the year 1756. This plant species widely planted in the area the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In Mexico, the chayote plants are not only used as vegetables, fruits, tubers as well as food sources of carbohydrates.
Chayote vegetables is not foreign to most Indonesian people. Chayote is known by some title, such as pumpkin jipang (Central Java), manisah (East Java), and pumpkin siamese (West Java). Internationally, this vegetable called chayote.

In everyday life, chayote is known as a healthy fruit vegetables. The fruit can be cooked as fresh vegetables, vegetable ve, oseng-oseng, or vegetable acids. Stems and leaves of young shoots used to make salad or other vegetables.
Chayote (Sechium edule Sw) is a plant belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family. These plants include vines that can grow on land or highland plain, without much need special care.

Based on the appearance of the fruit, chayote is divided into two varieties, namely varieties of squash and pumpkin varieties of wine. Squash varieties have large fruit size, can be harvested at the stadium was old enough to vegetable material, or a very young stage (baby) as raw fresh vegetables. Pumpkin wine varieties have small fruit size, generally harvested at a very young stage (baby) to be used as fresh vegetables.

Fiber Rich
Chayote nutritional composition can be seen in the table. Chayote fruit have good fiber content, ie 1.7 g per 100 g. Consumption of fiber in sufficient quantities to overcome the constipation is very good and safe for sensitive stomach or intestinal inflammation. Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of cancer caused by the digestive system is not perfect.

Dietary fiber can reduce the residence time (transit time) of food from the oral cavity until the remaining food was issued in the form of feces. During his stay in the digestive tract, fiber food will be binding carcinogenic substances (causes cancer). Thanks to the short transit time of food remaining in the digestive tract, carcinogenic time residing in the body is also getting shorter, so the chances of cancer is very small.

Folic acid content in fruit squash is also quite good, ie 93 mg per 100 g. Consumption of 100 grams squash enough to meet the body's needs will be 23.25 percent of folic acid.

Folic acid vital for pregnant women because it can reduce the risk of birth defects. Low consumption of folic acid in pregnant women is closely linked to low birth weight and incidence of neural tube defects (brain disorders).
Folic acid deficiency is characterized by symptoms of anemia, namely the number of grains of red blood cells decreases. Folic acid requirement in adults is 400 mg per day. This needs to be doubled in women who are pregnant, and increased 50 percent in women who are breastfeeding.

Lower Cholesterol
Chayote fruit is also rich in potassium. Potassium is useful for the body to control blood pressure, high blood therapy, and clean carbon dioxide in the blood. Potassium is also beneficial to the working muscles and trigger ganglion. High potassium will also facilitate the delivery of oxygen to the brain and help to facilitate fluid balance, so the body becomes more fresh.

In addition, chayote fruit also contains high vitamin component. Niacin is part of the vitamin B complex known as vitamin B3, is used to decrease the production of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the liver, thereby producing cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and triglycerides can be decreased.

Niacin contributes to the enzymatic reactions in the body for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, named as coenzyme I and coenzyme II. Niacin is needed for energy supply in normal tissue. Severe niacin deficiency after a few months would result in pellagra, and dermatitis, skin disorder that is distinct and symmetrical, especially the parts that are not covered entities, such as hands, arms, elbows, feet, skin, and neck.

Chayote is also rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the metabolism of protein. Vitamin B6 is very essential to the process of deamination and transamination and decarboxylation of amino acids. Needs to reach 0.02 mg per day for adults; 0.015 mg for infants; 0.2 to 1.2 for children, and 1.4 to 2 mg for adolescents.

The content of selenium in chayote is also quite good. Selenium plays an important role to improve your mood. A study in the United States (1996) prove that the person most low body selenium content showed the worst mood. Consumption of about 55-70 micrograms of selenium per day is recommended.

Prof. dr Made Astawan
Food Technology and Nutrition Experts IPB