Snake gourd is a vine with palm-shaped leaves, leaflet-like branches and wiry stems known as tendrils. This unripe fruit appears green in colour, has a soft, fleshy texture and bland flavour. However, the ripe fruit is long, appears red and becomes inedible because of the bitter taste. Snake gourd is wholesome and provides a surplus of nutrients. It has a high water content that gives a cooling effect to the body. Furthermore, it contains various vitamins and minerals that facilitate crucial metabolic functions of the body. In addition, it possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, owing to the presence of essential plant compounds like carotenoids and flavonoids.
It grows in the wilderness of South-East Asian countries like Sri Lanka and India. It also grows in Nepal, China and the warm regions of Australia. Snake gourd has been known to provide significant medicinal value since ancient times. It is a common vegetable used in preparing different staple Indian dishes like various sabzis, dals, curries and kootu. In addition, it is a vegetable that offers therapeutic and remedial traits.
Nutritional Value of Snake Gourd
More or less the same as any other flora of the gourd family, this vegetable, along with its seeds, juice and leaf extracts, is rich in various essential dietary compounds such as fibres, fats, carbohydrates and proteins. In addition, it also contains healthful antioxidants like vitamin E and C.
The nutritional content of snake gourd as per a 100 g serving are as follows:
- Calories: 86.2kcals
- Protein: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 12.5g
- Fibre: 0.6g
- Fat: 3.9g
Vitamins and Minerals
Snake gourd also contains fair amounts of the following vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Health Benefits of Snake Gourd
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Being a vegetable low in calories and packed with essential nutrients. Snake gourd can be consumed daily. It is particularly beneficial for people trying to lose weight. They are also helpful for people with diabetes. It also provides a surplus of dietary fibres which are easy on the stomach and reduce food cravings. It gives a feeling of fullness for longer.
A study shows that fibre helps control blood sugar. It does so by slowing down the digestion process. This in turn prevents spikes in blood sugar levels. Especially after a carb-dense meal.
2. Snake Gourd Improves Heart Function
Snake gourds have nearly zero cholesterol content. Thus they are safe for regular consumption. They are especially beneficial for people with heart problems. Snake gourds in a boiled form can be easily incorporated into various homemade dishes of Indian cuisine. It is great heart-healthy food.
3. Helps in Detoxification of the Kidneys
Snake gourd helps in getting rid of stone-forming substances. It helps in flushing out wastes alongside ensuring proper hydration. Drinking snake gourd’s juice helps support daily functions of the bladder and kidneys.
A study found that antioxidants present in snake gourd help in kidney stones. They protect the cells from damage due to free radicals. Additionally, they prevent the build-up of these harmful substances in the kidneys.
4. Improves Digestion
The fibre content of snake gourd helps with stomach issues. It reduces constipation, stomach cramps and bloat, especially after a heavy meal. Fibre is also known for its laxative properties as it absorbs water and softens the stool, making it easier to pass and thus relieving constipation.
5. Strengthens Respiratory Processes:
Respiratory diseases can cause exertion and pain. However, antioxidants have a major role in improving such conditions. They reduce oxidative stress by reducing free radicals. Additionally, they also strengthen the immune system. Therefore, the bacteria or virus is destroyed.
A study suggests that antioxidants in snake gourd help with asthma.
6. Snake Gourd are Ketogenic
A ketogenic diet includes foods that are low in carbs and fat. This makes them an ideal add-on to the diet. Snake gourd also helps flush out the toxins from the body. One can boil, season and consume it with meals.
7. Helps With Anxiety and Depression
Snake Gourds consist of numerous antioxidants such as flavonoids and organic amines. As we know, antioxidants prevent cell damage by free radicals. Snake gourd is rich in gallic acid. It is a bioactive compound that owns psychostimulant and neuroprotective properties. A study suggests that gallic acid can help reduce the risk of depression and also help in its treatment.
8. Helps with Acid Reflux
Snake gourds have no cholesterol and have amazing water content. This helps with various digestive conditions like acid reflux. The undigested food can cause pain, heartburn, nausea. This can also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease. A research study demonstrated that fibre helps in reducing acidity and since snake gourds contain good amounts of fibre it may be beneficial in treating peptic ulcers, gastritis, heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
9. Reduces PCOS Symptoms
Snake gourds are composed chiefly of water. They are low-calorie and fibrous. PCOD is characterised by unhealthy weight gain. Studies suggest that women with PCOD may benefit from a fibre-rich diet. Fibre aids in weight loss by reducing hunger. Women who are on PCOD medicines tend to binge eat. Fibre helps in feeling full for longer. This makes snake gourds an ideal choice.
Additionally, it is a wholesome vegetable with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and nutrients like vitamin B that are known to improve digestion, preserve optimal energy metabolism.
Benefits Of Snake Gourd Seeds
1. Helps Relieve Hypertension
Snake gourd seeds are rich in potassium. It is a chief element that helps in maintaining electrolyte balance. They also contain isoflavone antioxidants. A study showed that isoflavone prevents a sudden rise in blood pressure. Snake gourd seeds help relieve excess tension in the arteries. Thereby, promoting a smoother flow of blood. Therefore, reducing blood pressure and the risk of stroke.
2. Snake Gourd Seeds Help Prevent Diarrhea
Filled with enormous antibacterial potential. Snake gourd seeds help fight against pathogens invading the gastrointestinal tract. Parasites, toxins, viruses and bacteria reside in the gut. The cause is food poisoning or irritable bowel syndrome (IBD). It may also cause irregular bowel movements such as diarrhoea or constipation. Snake gourd seeds help in flushing out toxins as well as harmful particles from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract that helps restore digestive health.
3. Helps In Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
Individuals with diabetes may have higher levels of oxidative stress. Snake gourd seeds contain an abundant amount of antioxidants that reduces oxidative damage. In diabetics, high blood sugar levels increase free radicals in the body and vitamin C present in snake gourd may be beneficial.
Uses of Snake Gourd
Natural Skin Moisturiser
Snake gourds are an amazing source of VItamin E and C. These vitamins help smoothen and moisturise the skin. Additionally, they also have antioxidant properties. The gel extract of the vegetable can be applied on rashes and sunburns which can soothe irritated and dried up skin. Ultimately, snake gourds can help give you supple, soft and glowing skin.
Fights Skin Infections
The remains obtained from snake gourd leaves have astringent characteristics. They help in reducing inflammation. We already know that snake gourd has antibacterial properties. Thanks to their rich antioxidant profile, it may prevent skin infections and allergies.
Boosts Hair Growth
Snake Gourds are enriched with various nutrients. These nutrients provide nourishment and strength to our roots and hair strands. Furthermore, it can be applied as a gel on the scalp. Snake gourds are an exceptionally ideal choice for an add on to your diet if you want to gain long and strong hair and boost hair growth. They contain good amounts of vitamin C. Studies show that vitamin c helps in collagen formation. Collagen helps in maintaining healthy hair. Therefore, snake gourds may work wonders from the inside out.
Relieves Dandruff Issues
Snake gourds have potent compounds that can lessen the intensity of dandruff and flakiness on the scalp. It also protects the hair roots called follicles, from dirt and dust particles that set off dandruff. Its gel can be regularly applied to an itchy, dry and peeling scalp which will effectively recondition the strength and appearance of dry, dull hair, and add an incredible shine to it.
Side Effects of Consuming Snake Gourds
The key is to purchase only fresh produce from your local store. Harmful pathogens and pesticide residues often reside in old stocks. They may also be unhygienic if left uncovered for long periods. Pathogens may enter our bodies through them and cause infections.
Snake gourd contains relatively high amounts of fat. They may be a great low-calorie high-fat option. However, excess consumption may increase the fat intake. This may lead to weight gain. It is important to be aware of portion sizes.
Snake gourds are extremely helpful in promoting physical wellness. They also help in improving skin and hair health from the inside out. Moreover, enhancing the healthy traits in individuals, snake gourds are also known to be used in Ayurveda, as a natural remedy for numerous ailments. They help in many diseases such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They may also contribute to weight loss. Especially in women with PCOD. Additionally, they make a great keto food option. Altogether, it is quite safe to consume snake gourds. However, you must keep in mind to buy only from fresh and hygienic stocks.
The bottom line is that snake gourds can be consumed daily. But it is important to keep the quantity in mind.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of eating snake gourd?
A. Snake gourds are rich in certain nutrients. These include Vitamin A, B, C, calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine and potassium. They are also rich in antibiotic qualities. Snake gourds are known to improve digestion and immunity. Applying its gel to the scalp may help you get rid of dandruff.
Q. Is snake gourd rich in protein?
A. Snake gourds have a negligible calorie and cholesterol content. They are rich in protein as well as fat. Additionally, they hold a high water content that helps provide a natural cooling effect to the human body.
Q. What vitamins are in snake gourd?
A. Snake gourds are rich in Vitamins A, B & C and also have a good content of the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and iodine.
Q. Can we drink snake gourd juice daily?
A. Mostly, it is completely safe to drink snake gourd juice. But remember to purchase only fresh stocks from your local market. It is best if you drink snake gourd in moderation. You can also incorporate certain other vegetables like spinach, carrots. This can enhance the nutritional content of the juice.
Q. Is snake gourd high in potassium?
A. Yes, snake gourds are rich in potassium along with other essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and iodine.
Q. Is snake gourd good for health?
A. Snake gourds provide a myriad of health benefits. Apart from being rich in certain essential nutrients, they are also high in fibre. It helps to keep digestive issues like constipation at bay. Additionally, it also helps clean blood vessels, supports the immune system and improves blood circulation.
Q. Can I eat snake gourd seeds?
A. Yes. Snake gourd seeds are edible and provide several health benefits. They help in relieving hypertension. Additionally, they fight against microbes in the gut. Thereby, preventing food poisoning and indigestion.