Bitter gourd aids in stabilising blood sugar levels. Photograph by Miwok/Flickr
Nobody liked these uber healthy gourds in various shapes and sizes – the light green bottle gourd, the spiny ridge gourd and the gnarled bitter gourd – until green juices came long. But these gourds have been cooked in Indian kitchens long before the health juice fad and for good reason. Gourds are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre that help stabilise the body’s metabolism and fight infections. They are also all low in calories and help control cholesterol levels in the blood. Here are some of the benefits of various gourds
Bitter gourd is an excellent antioxidant and helps repair damaged cells
Traditional Bengali cooking features the ridge gourd as a prominent ingredient in stir fried dishes. The gourd is known to have blood purifying properties besides being good for the eyesight since it contains high levels of beta-carotene.
Ridge gourd is also beneficial to boost the immune system.
Since the vegetable is alkaline in nature, it helps reduce acidity and alleviate conditions such as ulcers in the digestive system.
The tender snake gourd is popular in South India and has been highly recommended for those prone to heart disease as it improves blood circulation levels.
Snake gourd is also known to treat hair and scalp related disorders such as dandruff.