Oval shaped and green in color, marrow vegetable is an elongated creamy squash belonging to the Cucurbitacea family. The fruit of the plan is used as a vegetable in the culinary world and is used mainly for making savory dishes. It generally has a mild sweet taste but when it becomes overripe, the taste turns from sweet to bitter. Indigenous to Central America and Mexico, marrow is nowadays grown all around the world. Marrow may be undervalued in many places but it is definitely a versatile vegetable that packs a powerful nutritional punch. It can be eaten raw, used in salads, pickled, baked, stuffed, or cooked in a wide variety of other ways.
Nutritional value of Marrow vegetable:
Marrow is low in calories with no cholesterol or fat content. It provides significant amounts of dietary fiber along with vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, vitamin K and B group vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. It is also high in essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, iron and copper. The peel of marrow is rich in beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent the free radicals from causing damage to DNA and cellular tissue. A diet high in these nutrients is extremely beneficial in lowering the risk of various medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Health benefits of Marrow
Given below are some of the health benefits that can be reaped by the regular consumption of marrow:
Dietary fibers in Marrow offers digestive benefits
Just like the other types of squashes, marrow is also loaded with dietary fiber, which has a great influence on the health of the digestive system. Dietary fiber promotes better digestion and helps to move the food easily through the intestines. It improves bowel movements by bulking up the stool and making it soft. Foods rich in fiber, thus helps prevent gastrointestinal problems like constipation, gas and bloating.
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Marrow can help prevent cancer
Marrow is a significant source of vitamin C and carotene, both of which provide amazing antioxidant benefits. It also contains a good amount of other antioxidant nutrients. These antioxidants protect against the harmful effects of free radicals that cause oxidative stress to the cells and mutation of DNA, leading to the conversion of healthy cells to cancerous cells. The effective combination of ascorbic acid, carotene and other antioxidant nutrients makes marrow an anti-cancer vegetable. Studies indicate that the regular intake of marrow can help prevent various types of cancers such as colon, stomach and lung cancer.
Marrow reduces cholesterol and helps heart
High levels of bad cholesterol is one of the factors that increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Fiber is one of the nutrients that is very important for the proper functioning of various organs in your body, including your heart. Foods high in fiber such as marrow can help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol or LDL from the blood. By reducing cholesterol levels, fiber helps lower the risk of developing conditions like stroke, heart attacks and atherosclerosis. Marrow also contains plenty of vitamin C that stimulates the production of collagen, which is used in building blood vessels, muscles, and tissues. Vitamin C also protects the heart from free radical damage.
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Marrow can help weight loss
Marrow is rich in water and other nutrients that help you lose weight. The high fiber content in this vegetable ensures that you feel fuller for a long period of time, thus eliminating the likelihood of frequent snacking and overeating. Marrow is also a low calorie vegetable that can be included in your weight loss diet.
Marrow is good for diabetics
The wide range of nutrients in marrow is highly beneficial in regulating the blood sugar levels in your body. It contains high levels of various B-complex vitamins, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like magnesium and zinc that are essential for the metabolism of sugar in the body. The intake of high amounts of fiber also helps protect against type 2 diabetes as well as offer relief from the problems associated with diabetes. Marrow not only provides a good amount of dietary fiber but also offers polysaccharide fibers such as pectin that play a key role in the regulation of blood sugar levels. According to various animal studies, the chains of D-galacturonic acid called homogalacturonan found in pectin helps protect against the onset of type 2 diabetes by maintaining a balance between the metabolism of insulin and blood sugar levels.
[Read more Health benefits of Cucumber]
Marrow offers anti-inflammatory benefits
The regular consumption of marrow is very helpful in soothing inflammation-related conditions. Various nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, and polysaccharides like homogalacturonan present in this vegetable exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties, which makes marrow an ideal choice for protection against unwanted inflammation. According to several animal studies, squashes like marrow offer protection against inflammation of the cardiovascular system and also the gastrointestinal tract. The anti-inflammatory properties of marrow also plays an important role in preventing type 2 diabetes by preventing unwanted inflammation.
Marrow improves bone health
The marrow vegetable is rich in many key nutrients that help contribute to bone mineral density and thus improve the bone health and strength of your bones. It contains a good amount of calcium and vitamin C that are associated with healthy bones. While calcium increases the strength of the bones, vitamin C ensures the proper absorption of calcium by the bones. So the regular intake of marrow not only improves bone health but also helps prevent osteoporosis and other bone related disorders.
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Marrow helps cure anemia
The high levels of iron in marrow helps lower the chances of developing iron deficiency anemia. Your body requires iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein that is responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of your body. A deficiency of iron in the body leads to anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, chest pain, pale skin and various other symptoms. Eating marrow helps improve blood circulation, which oxygenates the tissues and cells of your body and prevent anemia.
Marrow improves kidney functioning
According to various studies, the regular consumption of marrow vegetable is helpful in preventing the formation of kidney stones. The nutrients in this vegetable eliminate the substances that are responsible for forming kidney stones. They also help improve the functioning of the kidneys.
Caution: Just like other Cucurbitacea members like zucchini/marrows, pumpkins, and cucumbers, fruits contain toxic cucurbitacins (chemically steroids) which are part of natural defense mechanism of the plant. Fruits with bitter taste contain high cucurbitacins and should be avoided.
Marrow vegetables are in season during the summer months and it is at this time that they are consumed best. While selecting this vegetable, make sure that you choose one that is smaller and heavier. It is better to avoid large marrows because they are likely to be dry with a bland or bitter taste. Also, make sure to select marrows that have bright and unblemished skin without any cuts or bruises. This vegetable will keep for up to a week but it is better to consume it within three to four days of buying because the vitamin C content in them will degrade when exposed to heat, light and air. Store them in a cool and dark place. The popularity of marrow is increasing widely across the world because of its high nutrient density, various culinary applications and medicinal benefits.