Vegetables belonging to the gourd family are very beneficial from the health point of view. There are different varieties of gourds cultivated throughout the world. In India, the commonly consumed ones are bitter gourds, bottle gourds, ridge gourds, and snake gourds. Ridge gourd is also known as turai or luffa. It is a dark green, ridged vegetable having white pulp with white seeds embedded in its spongy flesh. It is very fibrous to eat.
Ridge gourd is very low in saturated fat and calories. It is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamin, iron, and magnesium. It is known to contain insulin like peptides, alkaloids that help to reduce blood sugar levels. It helps to relieve constipation and prevent piles as it contains cellulose. This vegetable also purifies, rejuvenates, and nourishes the liver and tries to protect it against alcohol intoxication.
Snake gourd is a natural laxative, antibiotic, and expectorant. It has a cooling effect on the body and is useful in treating bilious fever. The heart is most benefitted by this vegetable as it can reduce the pain and palpitations of a stressed heart. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can stimulate the production of body fluids, thereby relieving symptoms caused due to dryness. Snake gourd is considered to be useful in treating diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. It is also known to keep the calorie count low for weight-watchers.
Bottle gourd, like ash gourd is very low in cholesterol and fat, whilst being high in iron, fiber, vitamin C, and minerals. It has a very important place in Ayurveda and Unani medicine as it is known to soothe the nervous system, besides being very useful for inducing weight loss. It helps the body to fight against gas, indigestion, acidity, and peptic ulcers. It also prevents premature graying of hair.
Although the bitter taste of the bitter gourd makes many of us grimace at the very thought of eating it, the fact still remains that it is one of the most potent vegetables offered by nature to us. It is a natural remedy for diabetes as it can effectively control the blood sugar levels by virtue of its insulin-like enzymes. It is loaded with beta carotene that improves eyesight. It is invaluable in the treatment of stomach disorders, gastrointestinal infections, and piles. Bitter gourd has blood cleansing properties, which can help to ward off a gamut of diseases.