Luffa aegyptiaca (Patola) has been titled to various names in different countries but is commonly called as Sponge Gourd, Ridge Gourd, Turai, Turiya, Chinese Okra, Vegetable Sponge, Smooth Luffa, or in some country like Philippines it is locally called ‘Patola’.
Sponge Gourd has been cultivated across the world but mostly in Asia specifically in India, China, Philippines then in Middle East and even in United States.
This plant grows best in tropical or subtropical climates and thrives in well-drained soils. It is a coarse, vigorous, monoecious and annual vine that bears fruit. And the fruit is what we call Sponge Gourd.
Sponge Gourd is smoothly cylindrical that features a thin and smooth green skin, white flesh and flat ovate seeds. Its taste is quite similar to zucchinis.
Sponge Gourd is commonly used in Asian cooking and for its healing characteristics in many health problems such as constipation, lowering blood sugar, hypoglycemia, detoxing and so on.
Sponge Gourd contains various antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, nutrients and lipids. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A and carbohydrates. It is also a great source of Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Total Dietary Fiber.
All parts of the Luffa plant possess the medicinal properties. It is no wonder why it is used to treat various health ailments.
See the list below for more health benefits of Sponge Gourd:
1. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Sponge gourd contains a decent amount of Vitamin B5 that is helpful in reducing the bad cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides which reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases.
2. Improves Brain Function
Sponge gourd contains iron that helps in receiving the oxygen in the brain to function properly. The absence of iron may lead to poor memory, apathy, restless, inattentive and decrease productivity.
3. Boosts Immune System
The extracted juice in sponge gourd can help in conditioning the defense mechanism in your body and allowing it to combat in the better way against infections and viruses.
4. Prevents Diabetes
The manganese in sponge gourd is an essential component for the production of digestive enzymes which is responsible for a process called gluconeogenesis. The manganese helps in promoting the secretion of insulin, reducing the lipid peroxidation and enhancing the mitochondrial function.
5. Prevents Eye Problems
Sponge gourd is rich in Vitamin A that is helpful in preventing the macular degeneration than can lead to blindness. Adding sponge gourd in your diet may help in preventing eye ailments.
6. Prevents Muscle Pain
The potassium present in sponge gourd is a great help in balancing the fluid levels and relaxing the muscles. Low presence of potassium may lead to muscle cramps, spasms and pain. It also helps in assisting to break down the protein and carbs on which the muscle depends for the repair and energy.
7. Treats Arthritis
Sponge gourd is a great source of copper that helps in providing anti-inflammatory properties which soothe the stiffness and pain. The copper also helps in assisting with muscular strength and helps in repairing cognitive tissue.
8. Treats Anemia
Sponge gourd contains a high amount of Vitamin B6 that is essential in producing hemoglobin in the blood which helps to transport the oxygen to the cells and mobilizes iron. Adequate consumption of Vitamin B6 can help in reducing the symptoms of anemia and prevents its occurring.
9. Acts as Blood Purifier
Sponge gourd can help helps in eliminating poisonous element in the blood. Sponge gourd actually looks after the liver health and lessens the side effects cause due to the prolonged consumption of alcohol.
10. Maintains Sugar Level
This veggie contains insulin-like alkaloids and peptides that help in maintaining the sugar levels both in blood and urine. Enriched with magnesium, sponge gourd also looks after the glucose metabolism.
11. Possess Laxative Properties
Sponge gourd has been recognized for having healthy laxative properties that may serve as a highly effective alleviation towards the constipation problems and may even be utilized to cure pile diseases.
12. Aids Weight Loss
Sponge gourd is extremely lower in saturated fats, possesses a lower consumption of cholesterol towards the body, has a reasonable amount of fat and calories and contains a high amount of water that is beneficial in managing your weight loss program.
13. Improves Skin Health
The Vitamin C in sponge gourd can help in reducing the skin dryness, wrinkles and even slowing down the aging process. Vitamin C is essential for the production of protein to form tendons, skin, blood vessels and ligaments and can also help in assisting the healing process of the wound.
14. Treats Migraine Headaches
Magnesium is one of the component in sponge gourd that helps in assisting to balance the neurotransmitter in your body, adequate intake of magnesium can help in lowering the recurrence of migraine headache.
15. Cures Jaundice
The juice extract of sponge gourd has been known as the medicinal properties in healing jaundice.
16. Prevents Acne
Sponge gourd is high in water content means it is helpful in hydrating the skin. Sponge gourd also has a blood purifying properties that helps in preventing several conditions of the skin by removing the toxins especially acne.
17. Anti-inflammatory and Anti-biotic
Anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic properties found in sponge gourd is an excellent natural method of eliminating the toxic compounds through the entire body. It may also be utilized for liberation from intoxication.
All the varieties of the sponge gourd should be ingested just before they mature otherwise they are too woodsy and also fibrous to consume.
Sponge Gourd is safe when taken by mouth in food amounts but excessive intake of sponge gourd should be avoided. Though, possible side effects of sponge gourd are still unknown.
Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important but it depends on several factors such consumer’s age, health and other conditions.
Be sure to follow relevant directions and consult your physician first before using and consuming this particular veggie.
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- Mills, Josephine. 2017. “Sponge Gourd Health Benefits”. 22 August
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- RxList. “Luffa: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects”.