New Delhi: After the death of a scientist due to drinking lauki (bottle gourd) juice, doctors and health experts have warned people against intake of the juice of cucumbers, gourds, pumpkins and other vegetables of the cucumber family as it has high levels of toxins.
Sushil Kumar Saxena, 59, a senior deputy secretary at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) died Thursday after drinking the juice. He complained the juice was quite bitter but still drank it down. Soon afterwards, he began vomiting blood and died.
Doctors said that bitter-tasting juice should be avoided.
"People should not take juices of such vegetables as they are toxic. It may lead to diarrhoea, bleeding and vomiting. Bitter-tasting juice should be avoided," A.K. Seth of B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital told IANS.
Seth said that several such cases have come up in the capital earlier too.
However, some doctors feel that lauki juice is good for health, but advise it should be avoided it it is too bitter.
"Lauki juice is an excellent remedy for excessive thirst caused by diarrhoea, over consumption of fatty or fried foods, and diabetes. But before making a glass of this juice or from any other gourd vegetable, people should discard a vegetable which is too bitter as it may have toxin content," says Subha Sabarwal, head of the department of dietetics at Apollo Hospital here.
According to nutritionist Saschi Sohal, vegetables like bottle gourd, cucumber, squash, pumpkin and melon are healthy, but can turn deadly if the bitter parts are not removed before eating.
"These parts have harmful substances called tetracyclic triterpenoids or cucurbitacins compound which can be very poisonous if they taste unusually bitter. It`s better to cook or avoid bitter tasting varieties of cucumber family," she said.
"Due to increased usage of chemicals and fertilizers, the vegetables toxin level increases. That is why it is better to cook these vegetable and eat," she pointed out.