When many people hear the word “marrow”, they immediately think of bone marrow, but there is another dietary staple in some parts of the world called “marrow” that has nothing to do with animals at all. Marrow is actually a type of summer squash native to Mexico and North America. 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. Scientifically, it is known as Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo, and it is typically green in color, somewhat like a fat zucchini. It has stripes and a soft skin, as well as soft flesh inside. Most people prefer to eat smaller marrow, as they tend to be more flavorful, more nutrient-dense, and less watery.
Although the main areas where these vegetables are found are North America, Central America, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, it is becoming more widely found in export stores across the world, due to its numerous culinary applications and nutrient-dense composition. The vegetables themselves have dozens of uses, not only as a food source in soups, stews, and as a stand-alone side dish, but also as an element in poultices for scratches, salves for rheumatism, and a number of other traditional medicine applications. However, as a food source, marrow provides a very high concentration of nutrients, which we will explore below.
Nutritional Value of Marrow
Marrow is particularly important in the diets of certain cultural groups because it provides a high level of nutrients in a low-calorie vegetable. It is a significant source of vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber, calcium, and iron.
Health Benefits of Marrow
Gastrointestinal Benefits: Like many other varieties of squash, marrow supplies a high level of dietary fiber, which is one of the most essential elements of human health. Dietary fiber can guarantee the proper movement of food through the digestive tract and eliminate problems like constipation, bloating, excess gas, and other more serious gastrointestinal issues.
Heart Health: Fiber is also a very important element in heart health, as it can balance cholesterol levels and eliminate “bad” cholesterol from the system, which decreases the chances of developing atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. Furthermore, vitamin C is an important element in the creation of collagen, which is the fundamental construction material of everything in the body, including blood vessels, muscles, and cells, so the vitamin C in marrow helps to protect the cardiovascular system infrastructure.
Cancer Prevention: The significant levels of carotene found in marrow make this vegetable very beneficial as an antioxidant substance, which prevents the negative effects of free radicals in the body, which can corrupt healthy DNA and cells into cancerous cells. Carotene combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) work as a great one-two punch against free radical damage in the body.
Energy and Circulation: High iron levels in any vegetable, fruit, or meat, 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, and even more serious side effects. Iron is a key component of red blood cells, and therefore boosts oxygenation of the body’s extremities when it is in sufficient amounts in the body.
Bone Health: Although marrow doesn’t have an extremely wide range of 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 Aid: Marrow 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 will make you less likely to snack between meals, and yet eating marrow is a very low-calorie item in your diet, that also happens to be delicious!
I like to eat it diced, raw in salads, I cube it in soups, or dice it in omelettes.
You can also stir fry it.