Certainly bearing an unusual name and not much heard about earlier but the Gac fruit is certainly one that all must get au fait with. Botanically termed Momordica cochinchinensis, it has a Vietnamese origin & harvesting period between the last & first month of the year. Its cultivation is commonly seen all through S.E. Asian regions & China, mostly as decorative plants because of their glorious colour.
Gac fruit is truly a superstar due to the plethora of wholesome qualities & health benefits. It has:
- High antioxidant presence like A-beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene (70 folds richer than tomato).
- The max A-beta-carotene concentration surpassing that present in all fruits & veggies (10-folds than present in carrot).
Conventionally, cooking of Gac fruit is done into sticky rice for creating that vivid carroty rice meal dubbed ‘xoi gac’. It is part of many recipes cooked for unique occasions. It has even been used for the treatment of problems afflicting areas of the skin (wound, burn) & eye. Its juiced form is drunk for improving eyesight, as an immunity booster, improved cardiac & prostate health. The extracts of this fruit in supplemental form have become quite popular in the United States & overseas.
How Gac Fruit brings about overall health benefits?
- Zeaxanthin presence shields eye tissue when exposed to UV rays & lowering oxidation thereby improving general eye health. Moreover, the A-beta-carotene present in it aids in maintaining proper night-time eyesight & lowers dangers of going blind.
- The A-beta-carotene backs optimal reproductive functioning through improved sperm counts. On conversion to vitamin A, it even dons a key part in healthful embryonic growth.
- The A-beta-carotene plus lycopene brings about overall skin improvement via mitigation of oxidative stress.
- Moreover, the varied antioxidant presences improve cardiovascular health by distinctively fighting arteriosclerosis or arterial thickening. The risk of suffering from heart attacks is also reduced by these antioxidants.
- The superfluous lycopene presence in it aids in reducing benign prostatic hyperplasia and there is strong proof that it could also a lower prostate cancer risk.
Gac is a vine-growing fruit and while maturing it transforms from vivid greens to bright reds, appearing spike-bodied & treacherous – definitely, its rind is poisonous though the squishy core resembling reddish intestine-like is what’s the edible part.
A Japan-based trial noted that Gac fruit might even combat cancer. In the laboratory trial, water extracted from it hindered particular cancer cells. Though it does not translate to it being a cure though it would assist in reducing risk for several cancers. Further studies into this aspect is needed.
Prevention & treatment of vitamin A deficits is also accomplished by the intake of this A-beta-carotene laden fruit. Deficits of this vitamin could lead to pitiable night-time eyesight, sightlessness, lowered capability of fighting infection, increased occurrences of maternal deaths, pitiable embryonic development & lowered milk production.
Though Gac fruit wouldn’t be spotted in super marts, but one could certainly find it in the constituents listing of an increasing number of supplements.