Bottle gourd, also known as calabash or white-flowered gourd, is one of the common vegetables eaten by man. With the scientific name Lagenaria siceraria, the plant is grown for its fruit, which is obtained either young or mature. One of the first cultivated vegetables in the world, the bottle gourd has several health benefits.

General Nutrients

Bottle gourd is rich in vitamins and minetals. According to Nutrition and You, the vegetable contains vitamin C, with 100 grams raw frit having 10 mg or 17 percent of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is known to boost the body’s resistance against infection and illness and it is also associated with collagen, which acts as cement to bind cells and tissues together. Thus, eating bottle gour leads to firmer and youthful skin, delaying the signs of aging. Also, bottle gourd is a source of B vitamins like thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine, which primarily promotes cellular and tissue function. Moreover, the vegetable is rich in minerals, such as magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, and potassium, which all contribute to overall cardiovascular health.

About zinc, it is revealed that a cup of bottle gourd juice contains 1.8 milligrams of zinc, which is equivalent to 23 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and then 16 percent for men. This information comes from the Institute of Medicine, as per SF Gate. As a mineral, zinc is primarily responsible for the maintenance of healthy cell membranes, along with protein regulation in cells. According to the publication, proteins that contain zinc promote gene activity in cells, which further facilitates cellular communication and body hormone level regulation.

Digestion and Anti-Diabetic

Bottle Gourd is a vegetable and vegetables have fiber, which aids in digestion. According to Nutrition and You, this facilitates easy movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract until it is excreted from the body. Therefore, it is capable of relieving digestive problems, such as constipation and indigestion. Also, fiber helps the body get rid of toxins and free radicals that lead to the development of cancer. Thus, including bottle gourd in the diet empowers a person against cancer. The vegetable is also less in sugar content, but has more water content than other vegetables; hence, consuming bottle gourd makes a person have a sense of fullness and stop his food cravings. As a result, blood sugar will not elevate, preventing or controlling diabetes mellitus.

Stress Reduction

Bottle Gourd helps relieve stress and promote sleep. According to Beauty Health Tips, the vegetable has adequate water content, which cools the body in the process, Such mechanism facilitates regulation of stress hormones like cortisol. Also, bottle gourd has sedative properties, which allows the body to feel well. In addition to stress reduction, the vegetable’s juice can be mixed with sesame oil, which can be used by people who are suffering from insomnia or difficulty in sleeping.

Sample Recipe

Like other vegetables, bottle gourd can be easily added to meal recipes, such as the Bottle Gourd Curry. As per Indian Healthy Recipes, the dish is easy and quick to prepare, as it does not need too many ingredients. The ingredients for the meal include two cups of bottle gourd (chopped), one to two green chilis (slit), a sprig of curry leaves, a pinch of mustard, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of turmeric, oil, a teaspoon of chana dal, a teaspoon of urad dal, two to three teaspoons of vepudu karam, one to two tablespoons of grated fresh coconut, and salt.

To prepare, oil is heated in a heavy bottomed pan. Next, the mustard, cumin, and dal are added and fried until the dals becomes golden in color. Then, chili and curry leaves are added and fried until the leaves become crisp. After that, the bottle gourd is added and salt and turmeric are sprinkled. Once done, the food is fried on a medium to high heat for three to five minutes; stirring should continues to prevent the food from burning. The pan is covered and cooked to fully cook the bottle gourd, if not tender and less juicy. Finally, the vepudu karam and coconut are added and stirred well to mix. The dish is served with rice and sambar or rasam.

Above all, bottle gourd is considered one of the nutritious vegetables because of its health benefits. With such benefits, the vegetable can be easily added to weekly menu plans for an individual or for the entire family.

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