Gourds used to be a common sight in traditional kitchens but these days they seem to have lost out to the more popular zucchini and other imported vegetables. Their fleshy texture and seemingly bland taste don’t win them friends. But they are great for summer. Gourds have high water and fibre content that helps hydrate the body. And they are useful for those suffering from constipation. Being low in calories, they add bulk to meals and are good fillers.
Various types of gourds are:-
Ram Tori/ Turai or Ridge Gourd-
It is dark green, ridged and, tempering pretty vegetable. It is filled with white pulp and white seeds embedded in spongy flesh. A ridge gourd also commonly known as Turai is a well-beloved in India. Its hard skin is peeled off and chopped and cooked as desired.
Turai or ridge gourd is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and is extremely rich in dietary fibres. It purifies the blood making it good for the liver and skin. It has more vitamin A than other gourds.
Health benefits of Ridge gourd:
Weight loss: This gourd is absolutely low in calories and carbs, thus making it a very virtuous choice for those on low calorie and low carb diet. It has a high moisture content and a decent amount of fibre. All this together helps to satiate you for the long hours while consuming just a few calories.
Digestive benefits: Since this vegetable is full of moisture and fibre with negligible fat, it’s a boon for the digestive system too. Water and fibre are two key nutrients for easy movement of the bowel. So in other terms, it facilitates bowel movement and helps prevent constipation.
Karela or Bitter Gourd-
This vegetable has a distinct warty looking exterior and an oblong shape. This vegetable is hollow in cross section with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith.
Karela or bitter gourd is best known for its ability how to balance blood sugar levels, feathers it is very beneficial for diabetic patients.
Health benefits of Karela:
High on nutrition: Bitter gourd has a good content of vitamins and minerals. It contains iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins like A and C. It contains two times the calcium of spinach and beta-carotene of broccoli. Multiple anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are present in bitter gourd.
Great for diabetics: It also helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s not all. It strengthens the immune system, improves respiratory health, boosts skin health and contains anti-ageing properties.
Karela has an ingredient called polypeptide, an insulin-like compound called and charantin, which has anti-diabetic properties. These components actively help in reducing the blood sugar levels. It also helps to prevent unpredictable spikes and drops in insulin levels by regulating the metabolism and use of sugar the body has consumed. Bitter gourd acts as a hypoglycemic agent. It is a rich source of soluble fibre and is low in the glycemic index, which helps in lowering the blood sugar level.
Parval or pointed Gourd-
This gourd comes under vine plantation with heart shaped leaves and is grown on a trellis. This vegetable is green in Color with white or no stripes. Size can vary from small and round to thick and long around 2 to 6 inches. It can survive well under a hot to moderately warm and humid climate.
Health benefits of parval:
Parval or pointed gourd is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper and potassium.
It is considered as an aphrodisiac. It boosts immunity, bone health and enhances digestion.
From the ayurvedic point of view, pointed gourd is excellent for balancing kapha. It helps purifier blood tissues, enhances digestion and stimulates the liver.
Petha or Ash Gourd-
Ash gourd is vine which is eaten as a vegetable. It has a smooth or finely ripped rind and a light yellow or greenish flesh.
Petha or ash gourd keeps indigestion at bay. Helps in treating acid reflux and due to its alkaline properties, it is used as a diuretic. It has no taste of its own and can be eaten raw.
Health benefits of Ash gourd:
Ash gourd consists of a substantial amount of moisture and a little amount of protein, fat, fibre and carbohydrates. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, niacin and vitamin c.
Due to its diuretic action, it increases the output of urine and washes out waste products from the body.
Its juice, when combined with water, can be given to people who have peptic ulcers.
Could and sweet and ash gourd can help people suffering from heart ailments, anaemia and body heat etc.
Lauki or Bottle Gourd-
Lauki possesses a light green smooth skin and a white inner flesh.
Lauki or bottle gourd is easily digested, it is good for those with inflamed livers. It helps reduce the body’s bad cholesterol. Lauki juice aids in maintaining blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Health benefits of lauki:
When one suffers from severe diarrhoea, diabetes, etc. and is very thirsty, one should consume bottle gourd juice which is medicine for excessive thirst.
Bottle gourd prevents excessive sodium loss and also helps in preventing fatigue.
As it is low in calories, bottle gourd can be used in low-calorie diets.
Kakdi or Cucumber-
This dark green coloured fruit is roughly cylindrical. Cucumber is mainly eaten in the green form that is in salads.
Cucumber is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Being high in fibre it helps regulate the bowel movements. Due to its high water content, it is good for skin and lowers the cholesterol in the body.
Health benefits of cucumber:
The inner content of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, both of which are helpful in soothing skin irritations and reduce swelling.
The cucumber is rich in fibre and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium.
The silica in cucumber is an important component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. cucumber juice is often suggested as a source of silica to improve the skin complexion and fine lines, moreover, cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating – a must for glowing skin.