Botanical Name:Momordica cochinchinensis
Species: M. cochinchinensis
Synonyms: Momordica macrophylla Gage
Common Name: Gac Fruit, Baby Jackfruit, Chinese Bitter Cucumber, Chinese Cucumber, Cochinchin Gourd, Gac, Giant Spine Gourd, Spiny Bitter Cucumber, Spiny Bitter Gourd and Sweet Gourd.
The species name ‘‘cochinchinensis’’ derives from the Cochinchina region in the northern part of Vietnam, although it is grown and consumed in many parts of the world
Habitat: Gac Fruit is native to Southeast Asian region from South China to Northeastern Australia, including Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Gac fruit plant is perennial and it is a dioecious vines, meaning its male and female flowers are on separate plants, producing flowers typically 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) in length. The plant has an angular robust, glabrous stem and tuberous roots. Tendrils are simple and stout. Leaves are fairly large, alternate and deeply 3–5 palmately lobed with faintly dentate margins, cordate bases, glabrous, dark green above and lighter green below and petiolated. Flowers are monoecious, unisexual, solitary in leaf axils, white to ivory yellow. Female flowers have small bracts and a scabrous ovary while male flowers have broad reniform bracts, calyx tube is short with triangular lobes, and corolla has 5 yellow, ovoid-oblong petals and stamens. Flowering normally takes place from June to September. Plants survive for 10–12 years…..CLICK & SEE
Its vines can extend to 20 metres (66 ft) long, and its flowers blooms once a year, single or in bundle, around two to three months after the vines are planted. In one season, a plant can produce from 30 to 60 fruits.
Typically, gac fruits are round or oblong, about 13 centimetres (5.1 in) in length and 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in diameter, covered with small spines on the exocarp. Upon ripening, g?c gradually changes colors, from green to yellow, orange and finally red when it can be harvested. At this time, the fruit is hard, but turns soft quickly, creating a challenge for storage and transportation.
They are green when young turning orangey-red to dark red when mature and ripe. Each fruit weighs between 600 to 2500 g. Normally there are spines on the outside of the fruit and the interior is made of a fleshy pulp and seeds. The morphology of Gac fruit from outside to inside is a thick yellow mesocarp, followed by a red aril and a yellow core in the middle. The seeds inside the arils are flat, hard and brown or black. It’s only harvested for two months each year (December and January) and is often used on special occasions in Vietnam as well as in traditional Chinese medicines. Traditionally, gac fruit, seed and its leaves are used as a traditional medicine in the regions where it grows
Gac fruit has a mild taste and dense flesh (mesocarp) just like avocado.The inside of a gac fruit comprises two parts: fruit (yellow) and seed membrane (red color). Larger fruits have a higher percentage of edible aril than smaller fruits….CLICK & SEE
Gac has been commonly used in its native countries, mainly as food and traditional medicine. Its use as medicine has been dated back to over 1200 years ago in China and Vietnam Gac seeds, known as mù bi? z? (meaning ‘wooden turtle seed’), are used for a variety of internal and topical purposes in traditional medicine.
The aril surrounding gac seeds when the fruits are ripe is cooked with sticky rice to make “Xôi G?c”, a traditional Vietnamese dish in red color served at weddings and New Year celebrations. In addition, the immature green fruit is also used as a vegetable in India. The spiny skin is removed and the fruits are sliced and cooked sometimes with potato or bottle gourd. In Sri Lanka, gac is used in curry, and in Thailand, gac is served with ice cream.
Due to the high contents of beta-carotene and lycopene, extracts from the fruit’s arils are used to manufacture dietary supplements in soft capsules or are sometimes mixed into beverages.
Gac fruit, seeds, and seed oil contain substantial amounts of beta-carotene and lycopene which collectively impart the characteristic red-orange color to the fruit’s tissues. Both aril and seeds are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, with oil containing 69% unsaturated fats, including 35% as polyunsaturated fats. Gac has a high concentration of linoleic acid (omega-6) and omega-3 fatty acids.
Apart from their mild taste like Avocado, Gac fruit is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 100 gram of gac fruit offers 17.4 g of Carbohydrate, 1.6 g of Total dietary Fiber, 2.1 g of Protein, 36 mg of Calcium, 0.3 g of Total Fat and 0.9 g of Ash.
Gac (Momordica Cochinchinensis Spreng or Muricia Cochinchinensis Spreng) is an indigenous fruit of Vietnam, commonly used as a colorant in traditional dishes. Recent studies showed that this fruit had a high carotenoid content, especially lycopene and Beta-carotene. These carotenoids are presently in high demand as they are natural antioxidants to prevent and treat cancers. Listed below are few of the health benefits of consuming gac fruit:
- Combats cancer:
GAC fruit consist of several nutrients that are proven to prevent cancer and also slow down the multiplication of cancerous cells. It is also recently found that this fruit contains a particular protein that helps to prevent the proliferation of cancerous cells. Because of this specific reason GAC has earned the name “Heaven’s fruit”, as it has several methods of fighting cancer.
- Fights anemia:
Gac fruit consists of abundance of iron as well as Vitamin C and folic acid, due to which it is quite beneficial for combating Anemia. It is suggested to find the cause of anemia and depending on the condition start consuming this fruit. Regular consumption of this fruit is extremely beneficial for overcoming the problems.
- Helps lower cholesterol levels:
Gac fruit is recommended for those that have higher cholesterol levels as well as to those who have a history of high cholesterol in their family. If consumed weekly, this fruit helps to reduce the “unwanted” high cholesterol levels from your body.
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases:
As mentioned before this fruit is high in antioxidants so it helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases. If this fruit is consumed and accompanied with an active lifestyle, your heart’s health is assured. Cardiovascular diseases represent a high problem for many; therefore this fruit plays a vital role in maintaining your health.
- Improves eyesight:
This fruit is quite beneficial for enhancing eyesight. The vitamins, beta carotene, and other substances present in this fruit helps in better one’s eyesight as well as prevent cataracts and other eyesight problems.
- Combats depression
Depression is a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way. Many people around the world are suffering from this problem nowadays. Gac fruit when consumed frequently help to overcome this problem since it is rich in selenium, minerals, and vitamins, which are important to the nervous system, as well as help to combat depression.
- Maintains youth and prevents aging:
Aside from the health benefits this fruit provides, it also inhibits aging and maintains one’s youthful appearance. It slows down the aging process as it encourages cellular activity as well as reduces stress. The vitamins and minerals this fruit contains help to maintain the skin’s youthful appearance. It encourages rebuilding of the collagen subcutaneous structures, as well as prevents the appearance of wrinkles.
- Helps Fight Prostate Enlargement
Gac fruit heals benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. Thus decrease the prostate and improving urine flow. And the sweet pulp around the seeds have 70 times more lycopene than that found in tomatoes… great for healing prostate disease. So consume Gac fruit regularly to fight prostate enlargement problems.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.