You must have heard the names of many vegetables and also tasted them. One of them is pointed gourd (parwal). This vegetable is small in size, but it has incredible benefits for health. In this article, we will discuss about the health benefits of pointed gourd, its nutritional value, how to use pointed gourd and its side-effects for health.
WHAT IS POINTED GOURD (PARWAL)?
Pointed gourd is also known as parwal or green potato. The scientific name of pointed gourd is Trichosanthes dioica. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants. Many researches have found that many medicinal properties are found in this green vegetable including antihyperglycemic, antihyperlipidemic, antitumor, anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrheal. All these properties can be beneficial for health in many ways and can also reduce the symptoms of many diseases.
POINTED GOURD PLANT DESCRIPTION:
Pointed gourd is one of the important vegetables of India. It can be made alone or with other vegetables. Mainly, pointed gourd is made as a gravy and also as a dry dish. In some parts it is also used for making sweets.
The leaves of the pointed gourd plant are heart-shaped, 7–10 cm long, and 4–8 cm in width. Its plant grows like a vine plant, and its length is 5-6 meters. Vines start fruiting 80 to 90 days after planting. It thrives well in hot or humid climates. During the winter season, its plant dries up, but later again new shoots start coming out in the spring. There should be proper arrangement of water for the pointed gourd plant.
POINTED GOURD NUTRITIONAL FACTS:
Per 100 gram serving of raw pointed gourd (parwal) contains:
- Calories: 20 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 2.2 gram
- Protein: 2 gram
- Total Fat: 0.3 gram
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Dietary Fiber: 3 gram
- Calcium: 30 gram
- Iron: 1.7 mg
- Phosphorus: 40 mg
- Beta Carotene (β-Carotene): 2.24 mg
BENEFITS OF POINTED GOURD (PARWAL):
There are many health benefits of eating pointed gourd and a few people know about it. It is considered one of the most nutritious foods in a variety of vitamins tended to get as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. Very few calories are found in it, so it also keeps cholesterol level under control. Pointed gourd is also used in Ayurveda to treat gas problems and improve sex life. Some of the popular health benefits associated with pointed gourd may include:
1. In Diabetes:
Consumption of pointed gourd can be beneficial for people with diabetes. Many researches have found that it has antihyperglycemic properties. This property may be beneficial in reducing the levels of glucose present in the blood.
In an another scientific research, rats were fed the extract of pointed gourd for about 28 days. A decrease in the glucose present in the blood was observed in the rats during this study. On this basis, it can be said that the use of pointed gourd can be helpful in preventing diabetes.
2. Pointed Gourd Protects Ageing Skin:
Wrinkles and dead skin are most common on our face. Pointed gourd is rich in healthful antioxidants, Vitamins A and vitamin C which help in fighting the radical molecules. Aging is a matter of concern for every person. In such a situation, pointed gourds can help to some extent. To prevent aging, it is necessary to include parwal in your daily diet. (ALSO READ: 10 Best Anti-Aging Foods For Younger Looking Skin)
3. For Improved Digestion:
Consuming pointed gourd rich in medicinal properties can help improve appetite and digestive system. In addition, it also has anti-ulcer effects, which can prove to be helpful in keeping the stomach away from ulcers.
At the same time, health experts believe that it is rich in fiber, apart from this, the consumption of seeds present in it can be very beneficial in constipation. However, it is not yet clear which properties are beneficial in curing the digestive system.
4. Help Control Cholesterol:
The benefits of pointed gourd can also be seen in removing the problem of cholesterol to some extent. As we have already mentioned above in the article, parwal has antihyperlipidemic properties that help reduce cholesterol. This property may be beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels. (ALSO READ: High Cholesterol Diet : Foods to Eat and Avoid)
Apart from this, according to a scientific research, pointed gourd extracts can be beneficial in reducing the problem of cholesterol. These extracts may reduce total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and may be beneficial in increasing HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) levels.
5. Pointed Gourd for Jaundice:
The benefits of pointed gourd can also be seen to stay away from diseases like jaundice. According to a research conducted by the Bengal School of Technology, West Bengal, the roots of pointed gourd (parwal) are traditionally used in India as Hydrogogue Cathartic, tonic and febrifuge and jaundice, used in the treatment of anasarca and ascites.
Apart from this, an another research mentions that according to Charaka Samhita, extracts of pointed gourd leaves and fruits can be beneficial in relieving jaundice. (ALSO READ: 18 Effective Home Remedies for Jaundice)
6. Natural Blood Purifier:
According to the Ayurveda, pointed gourd (parwal) can help in purifying the blood and cure many diseases related to it. It has blood purifier properties, which can help in purifying the blood and can also protect against many types of serious diseases. Purification of blood is important to keep the body free from many serious diseases.
7. To Overcome the Problem of Alcoholism:
Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, due to which there can be many types of mental or physical problems. Pointed gourd can help alleviate this problem to some extent. (ALSO READ: How Much Alcohol Is Safe to Drink?)
According to a scientific study, the use of pointed gourd leaves and fruits can reduce the problem of alcoholism. At the same time, accurate scientific evidence is needed to confirm this fact.
8. Pointed Gourd for Weight Loss:
It can also beneficial to overcome the problem of obesity and increasing weight. According to a research conducted on hyperglycemic rats for about 14 days, consuming pointed gourd extracts can be beneficial in reducing cholesterol and body weight. It can be estimated from this research that it can be beneficial for reducing body weight. However, which properties of pointed gourd are beneficial in reducing weight, it is still not clear.
HOW TO USE POINTED GOURD?
Pointed gourd (parwal) can be used in many ways; including:
- It is used as a juicy vegetable.
- Dry vegetables can be made with potatoes and tomatoes.
- In South India, it is used to make Sambar.
- In many places, parwal sweets are eaten with great fervor.
HOW MUCH TO EAT (RECOMMENDED INTAKE):
There is no scientific research available on how much parwal (pointed gourd) should be eaten, but still consuming it in limited quantities can be beneficial for health. Also, be sure to consult a dietitian about its safe dosage.
BUYING AND STORAGE:
Keep some things in your mind before buying and storing pointed gourds:
- Avoid mature, tough-skinned, oversize, flabby and sunken fruits as they may be old-stocked.
- Avoid buying pointed gourds with cut, cracks, bruised or broken surfaces.
- You can store fresh pointed gourds in the refrigerator. It should be used within two or three days of purchase before they begins to lose their nutrition and lustre.
TRADITIONAL USE OF POINTED GOURDS (PARWAL):
The traditional uses of parwal include:
- It is used to treat digestion, skin and fever.
- Pointed gourd seeds are used to reduce cholesterol and sugar levels.
- It helps in reducing obesity.
- It is useful for removing gas in the stomach and for the liver.
- It is good for increasing sexual power.
- It is used to treat jaundice, viral infections, and skin diseases.
- It also cures cough, blood impurities, eczema, excessive phlegm and flatulence.
- It helps in curing worms and constipation from the stomach.
SIDE EFFECTS OF POINTED GOURD:
Pointed gourd side-effects include:
- Eating too much of pointed gourd can cause stomach upset.
- For those who have the problem of low sugar, the consumption of pointed gourd can be harmful. Its antihyperglycemic property can reduce the level of sugar present in the blood.
- Many people have sensitive skin, they may be prone to allergic reactions to pointed gourds.
Now you must have known about the benefits and uses of pointed gourd through this article. According to the scientific studies, if it is used properly, then its health benefits can be obtained. Also, if you are considering using it as a medicine, be sure to consult a doctor.
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