Gac Fruit – Momordica cochinchinensis – 5 Seed Count
Gac is a fruit produced by Momordica cochinchinensis, which is found throughout the Southeast Asian region from South China to Northeastern Australia, including Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Gac fruit (Momordica cochinchinensis), a strange and beautiful red fruit originating from Vietnam, where it is harvested in December and January. The fruit is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia and China, often as an ornamental plant due to its magnificent color. Also known as Chinese bitter cucumber, cundeamor and bhat karela, Gac fruit is rich in the antioxidants beta-carotene, lycopene (seventy times more than in tomatoes), and zeaxanthin. It contains the highest concentration of beta carotene of any known fruit or vegetable (ten times as much as carrots). Beta carotene is a reddish antioxidant that shows up in a host of fruits and vegetables, from apricots to pumpkins. It converts to vitamin A in the body, and has a variety of protective properties.
Gac fruit is traditionally cooked into glutinous rice to produce a brilliant orange rice dish known as xoi gac. The fruit and various preparations made from it are served as special dishes at New Year celebrations, and at weddings. As a traditional medicine, Gac fruit has been employed to treat conditions of the eyes, burns, skin problems and wounds. The juice of the fruit is consumed as a healthy beverage that is good for the eyes, immunity, reproduction, skin, heart health, and the prostate. Today Gac fruit extracts are making their way into supplement products in the US and abroad.
The zeaxanthin in Gac fruit protects the tissues of the eyes against exposure to ultraviolet rays, and helps to reduce oxidation of eye tissue, thereby enhancing overall eye health. Additionally, the beta-carotene in Gac fruit helps to maintain good night vision, and reduces the risk of blindness.
For immune system enhancement, beta-carotene from Gac fruit converts in the body to vitamin A, and helps in the healthy development of white blood cells, including lymphocytes, which are important “foot soldiers” in the immune system, enabling the body to defend itself against disease.
Gac fruit’s beta-carotene supports healthy reproductive function by enhancing sperm production. Converted into vitamin A, this important nutrient also plays a key role in healthy embryonic development.