Ridge gourd is a soft, fleshy, nourishing vegetable that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae botanical family of gourds, that also includes pumpkin, snake gourd and cucumber. Although quite bland in taste, it is widely cooked, seasoned with spices and savoured in the form of curries, dals, chutneys in almost every region in India, for the myriad astonishing health benefits it confers. These comprise improving eyesight, treating constipation, lowering blood sugar levels, keeping diabetes in check, rectifying iron-deficiency anaemia, ameliorating liver wellness and accelerating weight loss.
Bearing the scientific names Luffa aegyptiaca or Luffa cylindrica – the variant having a smooth outer skin and Luffa acutangula – that is covered with a grooved surface, ridge gourd is locally called many distinct names in the Indian subcontinent. These consist of “Turai” in Hindi, “Peerkangai” in Tamil, “Beerakaya” in Telugu, “Peechinga” in Malayalam, “Dodka”, “Ghosavala” in Marathi, “Hirekayi” in Kannada and “Jhinge” in Bengali.
The ridge gourd plant flourishes in warm countries of India, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand that have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. The climbing vines are very bushy, usually sprouting to a medium height of 9 meters, with twisting branches extending from the bark and holding deep-coloured foliage of glistening leaves. The flowers are vivid yellow, which upon budding, give rise to the ridge gourd fruit – eaten as a vegetable. These lush bounties are elongated, with tapering ends, an exterior green peel, white furry interior pulp and small black seeds in the middle.
Ridge gourd showcases a spectrum of key nutrients, being intrinsically low in calories, simple carbohydrates or simple sugars, saturated fats, cholesterol and high in proteins, dietary fibers. Moreover, this wholesome veggie possesses tremendous water content, making it rather easy to digest and integrate within the gut. Abounding in vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, besides calcium, phosphorous, iron and iodine, ridge gourd also encompasses a treasure trove of antioxidants like flavonoids, saponins and luffangulin, that exhibit useful anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and antimicrobial traits. Not only is ridge gourd a healthy addition to the daily diet, but it also delivers outstanding advantages for alleviating diabetes symptoms.
Uses Of Ridge Gourd For Managing Diabetes:
People with diabetes usually experience delayed digestion, fluctuations in body weight, gut complaints like bloating, constipation, gastric problems, owing to high blood glucose and insufficient amounts or improper mechanism of the hormone insulin. They also experience a sudden spike in blood sugar concentrations post eating meals.
Ridge gourd is a water veggie that houses massive amounts of liquid content. This makes it a perfect choice for a weight loss diet, tackling obesity, overweight conditions in diabetes, as well as a very simple foodstuff to break down in the stomach, intestines and assimilate in the gastrointestinal tract.
Furthermore, it is laden with dietary fibers, that not only uplift digestion and bolster metabolism but also maintain optimal body mass, regulate appetite and facilitate unobstructed bowel and bladder functions. Imbued with phytonutrients that display hypoglycaemic qualities, besides comprising negligible calories, simple carbohydrates, ridge gourd is useful in reducing elevated blood sugar levels and keeping diabetes under control.
How To Include Ridge Gourd In The Diabetic Diet:
Make a ridge gourd stir-fry, by cooking in minimal oil, with condiments for added flavour.
Simply boil the fleshy veggie, sprinkle some salt, pepper and have it as a salad.
Prepare soup, dal, curry, kootu, sambar, chutney or juice with ridge gourd and have it along with regular meals for lunch or dinner.