Ivy gourd, a common tropical vine that wildly grows in the Indian subcontinent, especially in the southern parts, is great for controlling blood sugar levels. A good source of plant-based fibre, iron, and phytonutrients, Ivy gourd, has caught the attention of the scientific community for a while now due to the possibility of the presence of medicinal qualities. This article talks about why ivy gourd is good for diabetes management, its other uses, including weight loss, tips to choose the gourds to use in cooking, and some really simple recipes.
English name: Ivy Gourd or Scarlet gourd; Botanical name: Coccinia grandis
Also known as:
- Tindora in Hindi
- Kundri in Bengali
- Kovakkai in Tamil
- Tendli in Marathi
- Dondakaya in Telugu
- Kowakka in Sinhalese
- Peppino cimarron in Spanish
- Pepasan in Malay
In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of food choices to prevent and manage the lifestyle condition of diabetes. The simple creeper ivy Gourd that we are talking about in this article seems to help diabetes, and some studies also suggest they could aid weight loss.
Does Ivy Gourd really help in Diabetes?
There is little evidence supporting ivy gourd’s ability to reduce sugar levels. However, ancient medicine systems of Ayurveda and Siddha use the plant in diabetes treatment.
Ayurvedic formulations containing ivy gourd root extract are used to treat diabetes. 15 ml of bimbi (ivy gourd in Ayurveda) root juice is given twice daily before food to control sugar levels in diabetes patients.
Further, the Siddha medicine system uses both the vegetable and leaves of ivy gourd in diabetes treatment.
Though there is still no concrete understanding of how ivy gourd helps with diabetes, it is found to possess insulin-mimetic properties. It means it can mimic the functioning of insulin and seem to contain chemicals that can even increase insulin secretion.
But, there is not enough evidence to show it is likely to help control blood sugar levels on its own yet. So, till we have more information in this regard, being rich in fibre and containing very few calories, it can definitely be a part of the diabetic-friendly diet. So, consuming this simple vegetable can help keep blood sugar levels in check.
How to take ivy gourd?
Ivy gourd is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisines and is eaten widely in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and quite significantly in India. The leaves and the fruit are used in dishes.
To use in cooking: Choose the thin, slender ones that are green and white inside. They taste better in dishes than the mature gourds with red flesh and thick seeds.
As a supplement: Due to growing interest in its medicinal properties, ivy gourds are also available as supplements. However, suppose you plan to take the supplements. In that case, you must consult your doctor for the appropriate dosage, particularly when you are on diabetes medication because ivy gourd supplements can lower blood glucose levels much too low, resulting in Hypoglycemia.
Simple recipes to try to include ivy gourd in your diet easily:
1. Ivy gourd soup:
Soups never fail to impress because they are full of nutrients and easy to make 🙂 And, here is a pretty simple soup recipe with ivy gourd.
Ingredients to serve two persons
- Chopped ivy gourd – 8
- Chopped ginger – ½ inch
- Garlic cloves – 3
- Black pepper – 4 to 5 pods as per spice level
- Salt – As needed
- Olive oil/Butter/Sunflower oil – 1/2 tbsp
Take all ingredients in a cooking pan and fill the water just to cover them. Cook them over a low flame with the lid closed for about 15 minutes or until the gourds are soft. Allow the cooked mixture to cool, strain the broth, and then blend the rest into a puree. Save the broth to use later.
Heat olive oil in a pan over low flame, add the puree and the broth. Warm the soup for a few minutes. Add some fresh cream or cheese and cilantro, and the yummy soup is ready to serve.
2. Simple ivy gourd vegetable recipe:
Ingredients to serve two persons
- Ivy gourd – 10
- Spice powders – chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder
- Oil – a tbsp (If using as part of diabetic diet, use as little oil as possible)
- Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
- Salt – To taste
Chop the vegetable lengthwise or in circles as per your preference. Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, allow it to crackle and then add the chopped vegetables. Add the salt and cook by covering the pan with the lid. Once half done, add ¼ tsp each of the spice powders and cook the vegetables till fully done. And the vegetables are ready!
Typically it is prepared more like a stir fry, in which case it is best sautéed without the lid on low flame to obtain the slightly crispy texture. You may opt for this if it is not a part of the diabetes diet but just to reap the benefits of this wonder vegetable and potentially prevent diabetes in future. It will indeed be tasty, and you are sure to love it!
As a vegetable included in your diet, Ivy gourd does not need any precaution. The vegetable tastes good, is low in calories, rich in beta-carotene and has fibre and hence great for health. It also seems to induce insulin activity and therefore is good for pre-diabetics and diabetics. However, exercise caution when taking ivy gourd supplements for their medicinal benefits. Be sure to consult your doctor before doing so.