It’s a summer wonder you can’t do without.
Last week, I went overboard with my love for lauki. And for lunch there was lauki or doodhi (bottle gourd in English, literally because it looks like a bottle) all the way.
The menu was channa dal with lauki, chilled lauki raita, and lauki peels and sprouts subzi to complete the lauki special meal. Yes, I love this underrated vegetable this much!Why?There are loads of reasons for that, besides the basic fact that I simply love its mild, sweetish taste, and versatility.
Firstly, it is a quintessential summer veggie that delivers lots of water (bottle gourd packs 96 per cent water), is inherently cooling, loaded with potassium that helps keep the blood pressure down and the electrolyte balance in check.
It prevents fatigue and keeps the body cool and refreshed during summers. We tend to sweat a lot during summers, and this also helps in replenishing the water and electrolyte loss actively. For these reasons, it is a good detoxifier, and helps prevent nose bleeding, pimples or ulcers.
It delivers essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, folate, and manganese, too. It is in fact an unsung source of vitamin C â€” 250 grams of lauki delivers 25 mg of C, which is almost half of what we need daily.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant activity shields our cells from damage, regulates our blood cholesterol levels, plays a role in brain function and helps us make collagen, a protein important for tissue strength.
In addition, C and zinc in lauki prevent premature ageing of the skin and wrinkles, and the B vitamin in it helps delay the greying of hair. Zinc plays a role in nerve health and the prevention of cold and flu, too.
It is very easy to digest, so it a perfect food for the summer months when our digestive system is usually a little unpredictable. In fact it boosts digestion as it is loaded with fibre, both soluble and insoluble â€” hence it helps cure constipation, flatulence and even piles, besides cutting nausea and queasiness. The water and fibre content in lauki help in cleaning the digestive track and allow easy bowel movement.
It also has anti-bilious (reduces bile and stops indigestion) properties.
It actively promotes weight loss. For starters, 100 grams gives just 15 calories. Plus, the vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre in lauki keep the body well-nourished and help curb cravings. Vitamin K in it helps boost the metabolism, too.
Itâ€™s apparently our liverâ€™s friend, too. This is one organ that needs a lot of help in todayâ€™s highly toxic times. Ayurveda recommends lauki for balancing the liver function, and taming its inflammation.
And you might find it difficult to believe (appearances can be deceptive) but lauki has the effect of a sedative on us (calms and relaxes us). Thatâ€™s because it contains a good amount of choline â€“ a kind of neurotransmitter that improves the functions of the brain and helps prevent stress, depression and other mental disorders.
Yes, eating lauki could be your best (and cheapest) bet to chase away those blues and keep your brain in good shape.
Besides eating it, you can just juice the veggies and drink itâ€™s goodness to. In fact, lauki juice is one of the easiest ways to have more of this veggie. This juice is good for everyone, especially for diabetics as it stabilises the blood sugar level and maintains blood pressure too.
How to make it
Just peel the lauki, cut it into pieces, and blend in a blender. Add black pepper, salt and mint leaves. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste to the juice. Finally, squeeze some lemon juice in. Have it quickly as it oxidises quite fast.
Drinking the juice helps lower blood cholesterol levels and is one of the best natural remedies to treat urinary tract infections as it is alkalising and has a diuretic effect. It also helps lower creatine and uric acid levels. The best time to have it is in the morning, in order to neutralise acids in the stomach and reduce hormonal imbalance.
This juice is a perfect post-workout drink, as the natural sugars in it help restore glucose levels and replace the carbs lost during the training session, besides getting the electrolyte balance up to the mark right away!
Besides this, the combination of bottle gourd and ginger also aids quick muscle recovery, as it delivers potassium and antioxidants that can nourish and relax your muscles.These are enough reasons to have lauki twice or thrice a week when in season. Right!