Said to be domesticated in Souther Africa, bottle gourd holds a special place in the Indian Kitchen due to its ‘easy on the palette’ taste and innumerable nutritional health benefits.
Bottle gourd, also known as lauki or ghiya is a light green colour vegetable that is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can be round, curved, uniformly cylindrical, bulbous, short, or extremely long. The flesh internally is creamy white with small seeds.
Nutritional facts of Lauki
Bottle gourd contains a small quantity of folate, vitamin B & C, zinc, calcium, and iron. It contains low calories.
116 gm of lauki contains 16 kcal, 0.72 gm of proteins, 0.6 gm of fiber, 3.9 gm of carbohydrates, 30 mg of calcium, 0.23 mg of iron, 174 mg of potassium, 13 mg of magnesium, 15 mg of phosphorus, 2 mg of sodium, 0.8 mg of zinc, 0.2 µg of selenium, 0.3 mg of niacin, 7 μg of folates, and 11.7 mg of vitamin C.
Potential Health Benefits of Bottle gourd ‘Lauki’
1/5. Promotes weight loss
1. The fibre content of lauki helps in keeping the stomach full for longer periods. Fibre curbs unnecessary appetite thus promoting weight loss.
2. Lauki is low in calories and contains no fat.
2/5. Keeps the body hydrated
1. The high water, sodium, and potassium content of bottle gourd replenish the body thus beating the heat.
2. The fibre and water content of lauki cools the body temperature. The internal mechanism of the body soothes on consuming ghiya.
3. Ghiya prevents fatigue and also keeps the body refreshed and cool during summers.
3/5. Helps in digestion
1. Bottle Gourd helps improve digestion and maintains a healthy digestive system.
2. The fibre content of lauki helps in smooth movement of the bowel and boosts the digestive system thus, treats constipation, flatulence, piles, and acidity.
3. The high water content of ghiya helps in cleaning the digestive tract thus, promoting easy digestion.
4/5. Reduces stress
1. Lauki contains choline – a kind of neurotransmitter that enhances the brain functions thus, preventing depression, stress, and other mental conditions.
2. Ghiya soothes the body and mind thus, beating stress.
5/5. Other possible Benefits
Bottle gourd produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as cleanses the skin, controls skin disorders,regulates blood pressure, protects against kidney stones, prevents urinary disorders, treats urinary tract infections, acts as a natural sedative, facilitates liver health, reduces the risk of several types of cancers, beneficial for diabetics,prevent the risk of heart ailments,treats sleeping disorders, and prevents premature greying of hair.
Health experts, nutritionists, traditional medicine healers and Ayurveda practitioners promote it as a must-have due to its nutrient healing properties.
How to use Ghiya in the diet?
Ghiya can be consumed in several ways. They can be consumed only in the cooked form. They can be easily added to various dishes. Some of the ways by which they can be incorporated into the diet are as follows:-
- As juice.
- As dishes.
- Added in Raita.
- Added to soups.
- In cooked salads.
- Added to stews.
- To prepare chutney.
- Consumed as parathas and thepla.
- Used to prepare desserts such as lauki halwa or lauki kheer.
How to prepare Lauki Juice?
Take one lauki, wash it, and then peel the entire skin. Cut it into small pieces.
Blend these pieces in a blender.
Add a pinch of black pepper and salt.
Add little mint leaves.
Few pieces of lemon can be added to make the juice taste better.
Pour the lauki juice and have it.
A Word of Caution: Do not consume lauki juice, if the taste is even slightly bitter, as it can cause toxicity and can be damaging for health. Personally, I prefer cooked bottle gourd than it in a raw juice form.