14 Amazing Benefits of Marrow

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The most important health benefits of marrow include improving digestion, reducing cholesterol levels, improving heart health, and preventing cancer. It also helps in weight loss, reducing the risk of diabetes, building strong bones, improving energy levels and circulation. It also aids in improving the overall health and responsiveness of the immune system.

What is Marrow?

Marrow is a type of summer squash, scientifically, known as Cucurbita pepo. It is typically green in color, somewhat like a fat zucchini. It has stripes, a soft skin, as well as soft flesh inside.

Along with being a specific type of vegetable, it is also a catch-all term for a variety of thin, summer squash varieties in Great Britain. Most people prefer to eat smaller marrow, as they tend to be more flavorful and nutrient-dense, and less watery.

The main regions where this vegetable is found are North America, Central America, and the United Kingdom. However, it is becoming widely available in export stores across the world due to its numerous culinary applications and nutrient-dense composition. These vegetables themselves have dozens of uses, not only as an addition in soups, stews, and as a stand-alone side dish, but also as an element in poultices for scratches, salves for rheumatism, and a variety of other traditional medicine applications. However, as a food source, marrow provides a very high concentration of nutrients, which we will explore below.

Marrow Nutrition Facts

Marrow is a low-calorie vegetable that provides a high level of nutrients and is particularly important in the diets of certain cultural groups. It is a significant source of vitamin A and C, dietary fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and iron.

Close up of an isolated fresh marrow in the farm

Health Benefits of Marrow

Health benefits of marrow include the following:

Reduces Digestive Issues

Like many other varieties of squash, marrow supplies a high level of dietary fiber, which is one of the essential elements of human health. Dietary fiber can guarantee the proper movement of food through the digestive tract and eliminate problems like constipation, bloating, and other more serious gastrointestinal issues.

Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Fiber is also a very important element in heart health, as it can balance cholesterol levels and eliminate LDL or bad cholesterol from the system, which decreases the chances of developing atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. Furthermore, vitamin C in the marrow is an important element for the creation of collagen, which is the fundamental construction material of everything in the body, including blood vessels, muscles, and cells. So, the fiber and vitamin C in marrow help protect the cardiovascular system.

Anticancer Potential

While Cucurbita pepo has been found to be a valuable component of various folk medicine cultures, modern-day medicine is also taking an interest in exploring the remedial potential of this vegetable. A 2016 review of the phytochemistry and pharmacology of this vegetable has highlighted its antioxidant and anticancer properties.

The presence of several cucurbitacins and cucurbitacin-derived compounds is said to be the source of the anticancer potential of C. pepo. The seeds are supposed to be rich in squalene. Lab studies suggest that this compound might prove significant in treating certain types of cancer.

Regulates Kidney Function

The nutrients and the high fiber in the marrow vegetable are able to prevent the formation of kidney stones, therefore helping in improving kidney function.

Eliminates Free Radicals

Marrow, being rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, helps in fighting off the free radicals in the body, thereby preventing various health conditions and promoting skin and hair health.

Rich in Proteins

Marrow has a very high content of protein, which makes it a very beneficial vegetable to fulfill any protein deficiencies in your body, especially after surgeries.

Anti-inflammatory

Due to the presence of various anti-inflammatory compounds in this vegetable like omega 3 fatty acids, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and polysaccharides, it helps in preventing heart and gastrointestinal inflammation, thereby promoting overall health.

Prevents Fever

The amazing nutrient content of this vegetable protects the body from outside pathogens and viruses, thereby preventing sudden fevers and cold.

Boosts Memory

By providing the body with all the essential vitamins and minerals, marrow is able to boost the memory and at the same time refreshes the mind and improves brain function.

Stimulates Hormones

Marrow vegetable also ensures proper secretion and functioning of hormones in the body.

Diabetes Management

Marrow with its rich nutrient profile that contains various B complex vitamins, fiber, omega 3’s, and minerals like magnesium and zinc, helps in regulating the blood sugar levels in the body. It aids in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes by metabolizing the glucose and insulin levels of the body.

Improves Energy & Reduces Anemia

High iron levels in any vegetable, fruit, or meat, and particularly marrow, means that you can boost your energy levels and reduce your chances of developing anemia (iron deficiency). Some of the symptoms of anemia include weakness, fatigue, cognitive impairment, muscle ache. Iron is a key component of red blood cells that boosts oxygenation provided it is present in sufficient amounts in the body.

Health benefits of marrow - infographic

Improves Bone Health

Although marrow doesn’t have many minerals in its composition, it does have a few key minerals for bone health that contribute to bone mineral density. Therefore, if you are concerned about osteoporosis or other bone-related disorders as you age; adding marrow to your diet isn’t a bad choice!

Weight Loss

Marrow is a very low-calorie item that also happens to be delicious. It provides the body with dietary fiber, which makes you feel full, as well as a great deal of water and essential nutrients. All of these factors together should help you avoid snacking between meals and thus, help in weight loss.

How to Choose and Store Marrow?

You need to take care of two aspects before picking up this healthy vegetable and adding it two your diet.

To select

  • While picking this vegetable, choose ones that are smaller in size and heavier in weight. This is because larger marrows are rather dry and bland in taste.
  • Next, look at the color of the vegetable, it should be bright green with no skin blemishes or cuts.

To store

  • They should only be kept for a week and no more than that.
  • Even better would be to consume them within three to four days of the purchase, as with time, their vitamin C content starts degrading, making them a bit toxic.
  • Store them in a dark and cool place, away from the sun, heat, and air.

Side Effects of Marrow

Marrow contains a toxic chemical compound called cucurbitacins, which are found in all the plants of Cucurbitaceae family like pumpkins, cucumber, and zucchini. Cucurbitacin is a chemical steroid which is a natural defense mechanism found in plants. It gives the vegetable a bitter taste. Excess consumption of this toxic compound can be harmful to the overall health. Therefore, caution is advised before digging into this otherwise delightful food item.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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