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Goya juice packs a healthy punch

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-05-08

May 8 marks "Goya" Day in Okinawa. Goya, known as niga uri on the mainland, is a bitter melon/ cucumber from the gourd family. Mainly grown in the hottest months here, they symbolize the arrival of summer in Okinawa.

Now, you may be asking yourself why Goya Day would mark the arrival of summer in May? Or maybe you're puzzling over why Goya Day is celebrated on May 8? Good questions all, but the answers are surprisingly simple. 敵o・means 5 and 土a・8 in Japanese, therefore, people settled for a May 8 Goya Day hoping it would be easy to remember.

With its gaudy green appearance and wart-like skin that best resembles Gozilla's back, goya might not sit well for many non-Okinawans, including Japanese. However, taking advantage of the renewed interest everyone is taking in Okinawa, the 徒ing・of the summer vegetables is gaining popularity. And with it the goya痴 塗idden power・can be revealed.

In a mature-size goya, and for those botanists Momordica charantia in Latin, one can find approximately 120mg of Vitamin C, equal to almost three times that found in a lemon and 260mg of potassium, four times the amount found in green tea. As apples keep the doctor away in the western world, goya keeps the cold away from Okinawans during summer. Even more remarkable about this green vegie, which usually measures anything up to 20-30 centimeters in length and 4-6 centimeters in diameter, is that its content is believed to not only lower blood pressure but blood sugar levels as well.

Although there are a number of recipes, the best way to take advantage of its unique properties is by drinking goya tea. Easy-to-prepare tea bags can be purchased at supermarkets; vending machines also stock canned tea (about ・180-・200). If you壇 like to mix up your own batch of goya juice then here痴 how you do it: first, prepare 400g of goya, 250g of apple juice, 20g of honey, 8g of lemon, and 50g of syrup. Put all the contents into a blender, switch it on and presto, homemade goya juice. Depending on how sweet you like it, just adjust the amount of honey and/or syrup.

So if you're concerned about blood pressure and blood sugar levels, why not try the 菟ower・of goya and get ready for summer?

(Goya is not an alternative to existing medications nor should it be considered an alternative to any medications subscribed for people suffering from either high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels. Consult your physician if concerned about blood sugar levels or high blood pressure.).

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