Luffa is actually a fruit that is eaten as a vegetable, which means that it is commonly added to a variety of dishes, most especially in South and Southeast cuisines. It is harvested and consumed when young, while the ripened fruit is dried under the sun to become the bathroom staple which is known as loofah.
Native to Vietnam, luffa is now grown in many regions on the planet with tropical to subtropical climates. Also known as vegetable sponge, sponge gourd and of course Vietnamese loofah, it is also used medicinally. In fact, traditional healers count on it for treating and preventing diseases concerning the eyes, joints, muscles and even the heart.
The next time you visit, your favorite Asian grocer, buy some luffa. Afterwards, log on the web and check out some tasty Asian recipes that have luffa as one of the ingredients. Below are some of the best reasons why it’s a fantastic idea to whip up a luffa dish and serve it on the table:
It Helps Prevent Constipation and Hemorrhoids
The loofah that you use for exfoliating your skin is a clear proof that luffa is a really fibrous fruit. Of course an immature luffa is more suitable for consumption because the fiber it contains is way easier on the digestive tract, which makes it very good in keeping your bowel movement regular as well as in warding off painful hemorrhoids.
It Detoxifies the Blood and Liver
Antioxidants in luffa make this Asian superfood excellent in neutralizing toxins and other impurities in the blood, thus saving the kidneys from too much work. Boosting the purifying properties of luffa is its ability to cleanse the liver, which is actually your primary organ of detoxification.
It May Keep Anemia at Bay
Luffa is not only beneficial for your circulatory system by helping to purify the blood, but also by encouraging the production of red blood cells or RBCs, which are blood components that carry oxygen molecules. Such is made possible by the vitamin B6 in luffa, a nutrient important for keeping the count of RBCs within the normal range.
It Keeps Your Skin Healthy and Young-Looking
One of the many nutrients found in luffa is vitamin C. And this is exactly the reason why including it in your diet on a regular basis is good for your skin. Vitamin C keeps your skin healthy by getting rid of cell-damaging free radicals. Also, it is important for the synthesis of collagen, a type of protein vital for the structure of your skin.
It May Lower One’s Risk of Diabetes
Studies have shown that manganese, which is a mineral that can be found in so many fresh produce like luffa, is vital for the proper production of insulin. This is the reason why the regular consumption of luffa can help in stabilizing blood glucose levels, which is very beneficial for diabetics and those who are at risk of diabetes.
It Helps Save You From Having Bouts of Migraine
Another nutrient found in good amounts in luffa is magnesium, which contributes a lot of things including the prevention of migraine. According to researches, magnesium helps maintain proper neurotransmitter balance in the brain, which is important for keeping at bay those annoying migraine attacks.
It Helps Prevent Painful and Swollen Joints
Many arthritis sufferers swear by the effectiveness of wearing copper bracelets, which do not come easy on the pocket. Why buy one of those expensive items when you can simply eat luffa? Luffa contains good amounts of copper, and that’s why consuming it on a regular basis can get you the same benefits as wearing a pricey copper bracelet.
It Encourages Sharp Vision and Healthy Eyes
There’s also vitamin A in luffa, which is an antioxidant that’s highly beneficial for the eyes. Vitamin A zaps free radicals that can damage the delicate structures in your eyes such as the retina. Including luffa and other vitamin A-rich foods in your diet, eye specialists say, can help considerably lower your risk of age-related vision loss.