One of the things you should add to your healthy living goal is eating more vegetables. Some of you are aware of the benefits of organic fruits and vegetables and packed with incredible nutrients but they are so green and so boring. Well, perhaps you are only consuming vegetables commonly found in the market such as spinach, kale and bean. If that so, of course you will get bored easily. That’s why you need to try more types of vegetables, the more unique they are, the better. Have you heard about calabash? Calabash is mostly well known as ‘another variety of gourd’ though in some countries, they consider them as ‘another variety of squash’. Not only the name and the appearance of calabash that is unique, you will be surprised of the health benefits of calabash as well.
What Is Calabash?
You should know that there are some varieties of calabash but the most popular one is well known as bottle gourd due to its unique appearance which is similar to bottle and traditionally used as water container. The young fruit is harvested and consumed as vegetables when the skin is still soft. When calabash has reached mature age, instead of being consumed, the fruit will be dried and used as utensil, bottle or even pipe. The fact that calabash is currently cultivated in Asia, Africa, America and Europe make it difficult to find the origin of this fruit though some researches have stated the possibility of Africa as the origin of this plant which is best to be growth in tropical and subtropical climate.
Nutritional Values of Calabash
Just like any vegetables, calabash is super low in calories and fats but packed with dietary fiber. Just like most of vegetables that come from cucumber family, most part of calabash is water, which is up to 96% of calabash is water. Not only that, calabash is also packed with certain vitamins and minerals. For more information, below is the list of health benefits of calabash.
- Great for Constipation
There are two reasons why calabash is great for constipation. First, calabash is rich of both soluble and non-soluble fiber and second, most of calabash is made of water. The combination of health benefits of fiber and water is great to fight constipation and other stomach problems.
- May Help Fighting Cancer
All vegetables that are packed with antioxidants are great to fight cancer and calabash is among vegetables which contain potent antioxidants. Some studies have been conducted in order to support this claim and the result is positive.
- Great for Diet and Weight Loss
During weight loss diet, consuming more vegetables is highly recommended and calabash is among the low calories vegetables you should add to your diet. Moreover, calabash is packed with several vitamins and minerals to fulfill your daily intake and optimize the metabolism during diet.
- Promotes Heart Health
Calabash contains several minerals like potassium and sodium which have been proven to help promoting hearth health. The main health benefits of potassium and sodium will help in regulating the symptoms of high blood pressure and maintaining the heart health.
- Excellent for Liver
There are several studies have been conducted in order to support the claim that calabash may be excellent for liver health. Those studies also stated that calabash is the natural healing solution due to its anti-inflammation properties found in calabash.
- Prevents Fatigue
One of the common symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Calabash contains enough water to help hydrating your body. Moreover, calabash contains several properties that will keep your body cool during hot days to prevent further fluid loss.
- Balances pH Level
Not everyone knows that imbalance pH level is the root of several health problems. Consuming foods that could help balancing pH level may help prevent several health problems. So, why don’t you add calabash to your diet?
- May Help Reducing Insomnia
There are a lot of factors that could cause insomnia. It is a condition that you should find the root of the problem to deal with it. However, as short term solution, you could have calabash as your dinner and help you having a good night sleep.
- Promotes Healthy Hair
Not everyone knows that calabash contains some active compounds that are actually great for hair. There are claims that stated consuming calabash regularly could help maintaining healthy hair and preventing it from getting gray, though further studies regarding that claim are strongly required.
- Beneficial for Diabetic Patient
Since calabash low in calories, this vegetable is great for diabetic patients. Once a person has been diagnosed with certain types of diabetes, managing the daily diet is the hardest thing that person should do. It is because there is no way to cure diabetes completely but diabetes could be managed through healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.
- Treats Asthma
Asthma is one of the respiratory problems caused by allergic reaction, though not many people realize about that fact. There is no cure for asthma but you could reduce the symptoms of asthma and calabash contains some active compounds that could help in reducing the symptoms.
- Antidote for Food Poisoning
Though further studies about this claim should be conducted but traditionally, calabash has been used by people as antidote for food poisoning. However, one important thing note is, you may use calabash as first aid solution but meeting a doctor is highly recommended when it comes to food poisoning.
Cautions of Calabash
Besides the health benefits of calabash you should aware of the cautions as well. It comes from the same member family of cucumber, gourd and squash with similar characteristic of a trace of bitter taste.
- The bitter taste found in calabash is the indication of cucurbitacins which is very toxic in high dosage. The riper the calabash is the bitter it will be. That is why calabash is harvested when it is still young.
- One of the ways to avoid the toxic properties is by properly cooking it. Some people may try to make it into calabash juice which is quite dangerous especially when you combine it with other types of gourd because they though the bitter the juice is the better. When the fact is the bitter the juice is more dangerous it will be.
- Those who have stomach problem should avoid consuming calabash because cucurbitacins could cause ulcers in the stomach.
The safest way to get all the health benefits of calabash is by making sure it is properly cooked. You could test the taste of calabash first before you cook it and discard it right away if the taste is to bitter. Calabash is among exotic fruit that is commonly consumed as vegetables. If you are currently getting bored with the vegetables you commonly have, adding calabash to your diet is highly recommended.