Guard your health with gourds

We savour a variety of succulent fruits like mango, litchi and berries during the hot months and look forward to colder times to enjoy veggies like cauliflower, carrots and peas.

In fact, a lot of us even go for frozen cauliflower, peas etc in summers when a nice vegetarian spread has to be prepared. But the different types of gourds, which are available throughout the year, aren’t the preferred choice of most people.

What most don’t know is that these vegetables replenish the body with essential nutrients. A variety of gourds  like snake gourd (parwal), bottle gourd (lauki), bitter gourd (karela), ridged gourd (torai), pumpkin and cucumbers can be prepared in a number of ways and are reasonably priced as well. We disregard their presence in the marketplace putting our own health at peril.

Dr Anu Gupta, a USA-trained weight loss specialist, says, “Different types of gourds such as ridged gourd, teasel gourd, ash gourd, pumpkin, baby pumpkin (tinda) and  squash have a smooth skin, are plump to touch and have high water content.”

“Due to their high water content, they cool the body and cleanse the stomach relieving it of constipation, jaundice, diarrhoea etc. They are also very low in fats, which aids in weight loss.”

Dr Sunita Roy Chowdhury, chief dietician at a hospital, elaborates on the importance of vegetables saying, “Our body processes carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the food we consume with the help of enzymes and co-enzymes. Gourds help us synthesise these and the body cannot do without them.”

   Priya Bharma, a senior dietician says, “Gourds are a storehouse of minerals primarily and some vitamins and antioxidants. They are rich sources of potassium, iron, sodium and magnesium and can ideally be consumed in summer when we lose a lot of nutrients from the body due to sweating. They also prevent dehydration and are natural packets of Vitamin A, K, C and B6.”

“So many of us tend to ignore these veggies because of their bland taste. But there are numerous ways to make tasty dishes with them. I would say they are a much better alternative to vitamin pills. One should go for them as often as possible,” says Bharma.

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