Sponge gourd is one of the vegetables people eat today. With the scientific name Luffa aegyptica, it is also known as Vietnamese luffa and Egyptian cucumber. It is usually added to various meal recipes for added taste and nutrition. The following are the health benefits of sponge gourd, along with a sample recipe.
One health benefit of sponge gourd is fiber. Fiber is a substance that acts as a sweep, helping the body clean its system. Fiber helps eliminate harmful substances like toxins and free radicals, which cause diseases like heart disease and cancer. It also reduces the amount of low-density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, preventing gastrointestinal disorders like constipation, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids. Also, fiber helps speed up digestion and metabolism, allowing fat loss and weight loss. To cleanse the system and prevent obesity and heart diseases, one may consider adding sponge gourd to the diet.
Aside from fiber, which helps eliminate toxins and free radicals from the body, sponge gourd leaves also help clean the system. According to Food Recap, it can be achieved by preparing a decoction of the plant’s leaves. As per the publication, the decoction can be used to counter amenorrhea (absence of menses) and uremia (accumulation of nitrogenous waste in the blood).
Another health benefit of sponge gourd is its anti-diabetic property. Diabetes, medically known as diabetes mellitus, is a metabolic disorder characterized by prolonged increase in blood sugar. It presents symptoms like polyphagia (frequent eating), polydipsia (frequent drinking), polyuria (frequent urination), and weight gain due to increased sugar in the blood. According to Agroproducts, sponge gourd contains insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels by reducing it. This way, it will help maintain regular levels of sugar in the bloodstream (70 to 120 mg/dl).
Sponge gourd also helps promote eye health. According to Thealth Benefits Of, sponge gourd is rich in vitamin A, which is responsible for promoting vision and integrity of the skin and the mucus membranes. Without this vitamin, the eyes will be weaker, as manifested by poor vision and night blindedness. In addition, the skin and mucus membranes are prone to irritation and damage. As per the study conducted by the National Eye Institute, people who take vitamin A, vtamin C, vitamin E, copper, and zinc have reduced risk of having macular degeneration by 25 percent for six years.
One recipe that uses sponge gourd is Stuffed Sponge Gourd. According to The Novice Chef, the ingredients include sponge gourds, grated onions, grated tomatoes, chopped coriander, garlic cloves, cumin seeds, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder to taste, and vegetable or canola oil.
To prepare, the onions and tomatoes are grated. Next, oil is heated on a pan and cumin seeds are added. Once they become brown in color, the garlic cloves are added and allowed to become golden brown. Then, the grated onion and salt are added and cooked for ten ti fifteen minutes. Once done, the tomato puree is added, along with the chili powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. They are allowed to cook, until the raw smell fades and the oil separates from the others. As per the publication, this shall form the filling, so the vegetable water should dry up while cooking. After that, it is put aside and allowed to cool. Then, the chopped coriander is added. Once done, the sponge gourd is peeled and cut into three-inch long pieces. They are split lengthwise for stuffing. Finally, the filling is added to the sponge gourd pieces.
Sponge gourd is considered nutritious, with its numerous benefits to health. Thus, it can be included to various meals or dishes for the entire family or groups of friends.