10 Astounding Health Benefits of Ash Gourd / Winter Melon

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Ash gourd, a humble yet astounding vegetable, has been valued for centuries across cultures. Let’s discover the hidden secret to vitality and well-being while we divulge the amazing health benefits of the vegetable. Get ready to be amazed by the notable properties of this green wonder and know how it can transform your health and life in this post.

Ash gourd belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, also called the gourd family, and is native to the southern Asian region. Popularly known as winter melon, Chinese watermelon, or wax gourd, ash gourd is a fiber-rich vegetable known for its distinct nutrient benefits and a popular ingredient in many international cuisines.

Ash gourd is used for making soups, stews, curries, cakes, candies, Petha (an Indian sweet), and juice. It also has some remarkable therapeutic and medicinal properties. It is low in calories and is composed of 96% water. It is a wonderful source of flavonoids, vitamin C, and carotenoids, which aid in guarding the body against type 2 diabetes and cell damage.

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Taste and Appearance of Ash Gourd 

Ash gourds have a white ash coating on them and a dusty cover which is why it is termed ‘Ash’ gourd. The unripe ash gourd vegetable is covered with fine hair. This hair falls later when the vegetable is ripe and ready to consume. Available in varied shapes and sizes, the flavor of ash gourd is slightly mellow. Ash gourd can easily be used as salads, juices, and smoothies to relish during a hot sunny day. If you consume it during winter, you can use honey or black pepper to enhance its taste.

Nutritional Value of Ash Gourd

As already discussed, winter melon is nutrient-rich, loaded with minerals and vitamins. Even the sodium and saturated fat content in winter melon is considerably low. The table below shows the nutrient content in 100g of winter melon:

Water  96.1 g
Energy  13 Kcal
Carbohydrates  3 g
Protein  0.4 g
Fibre  2.9 g
Calcium  19 mg
Vitamin C 13 mg
Magnesium  10 mg
Vitamin B2 1.3 mg

Health Benefits of Ash gourd/Winter Melon

  • Ash gourd helps manage type 2 diabetes as it is low in calories. Using winter melon in your diet regularly can help people with diabetes in lowering their sugar levels
  • The presence of vitamin C and zinc in winter melon helps in the production of white blood cells, which boosts your immune system
  • Including ash gourd in your diet regularly promotes heart health, especially if consumed in the boiled form. With negligible cholesterol and high fiber, ash gourd helps avert peptic ulcers by removing free radicals and reducing the acidity level of your stomach
  • Being water-rich, winter melon cools the body to balance organs like the kidneys and liver. It, thus, helps detoxify the organs and enables smooth bladder movements
  • Eating winter melon lowers the risk of getting eye diseases and night blindness
  • Winter melon has high vitamin B2 content, which enhances body metabolism and increases energy
  • Ash gourd has a high iron content that improves blood circulation and cognitive function
  • Ash gourd further accelerates weight loss because of its high fiber content, while the antioxidants and vitamin C present in ash gourd enhance skin and hair health

How to Eat Winter Melons?

Winter melon can be included in your meal in different ways using ingredients that are highly seasoned to make the cuisine appetizing. Here are some ash gourd recipes that you can try:

Recipe 1 – Ash gourd juice

Ingredients required:

  • Ash gourd (cut into small cubes)
  • Lemon juice (6 tsp)
  • Black pepper powder (3 tsp)
  • Salt (3 tsp)

How to make ash gourd juice:

  • Remove the skin and seeds of the vegetable and cut into small cubes
  • Makes a puree by blending the cubes and strain it
  • Add the other ingredients – salt, black pepper, and juice of lemon
  • Relish the drink

Ash gourd juice benefits

There are many benefits of ash gourd juice on an empty stomach. As per Ayurveda, safed petha juice benefits many diseases if consumed regularly on an empty stomach. It is said to be helpful in peptic ulcers. However, one should avoid consuming food for at least two-three hours after having the juice.   

Recipe 2 – Ash gourd raita 

  • Grate the vegetable and add plain yogurt to it
  • Season it with salt, black pepper, and some roasted cumin seeds
  • Have it with lunch (rice, dal, and sabzi)

Recipe 3 – Ash gourd smoothie

Use ash gourd and watermelon to make a savoring smoothie.

How to prepare:

Combine watermelon and ash gourd (in a blender in equal portions). Add yogurt or plain water to it. Add honey as per taste and relish.

Side effects of Ash gourd/winter melon

  • Ayurveda advises people to avoid winter melon if they have a cold or fever. The vegetable is said to have a cold aggravating effect and can make your cold worse
  • Excessive eating of winter melon might cause digestive discomfort and might cause pain in the stomach
  • People with bronchitis and asthma should also refrain from consuming an excess of winter melon/ash gourd
  • When buying ash gourd, always pick fresh ones from a local market since the ash gourd purchased from an old stock can have pathogenic agents

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To Sum Up

Ash gourds have been a significant part of the Indian diet since ancient times. It has several benefits and can be consumed in varied ways. If you have any allergies to winter melon, avoid consuming it. Others can include this valuable vegetable in their meals as salads, juices, stews, and many other ways. The best practice is to consume it in moderation to avoid side effects and enhance benefits.

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FAQs: Health Benefits of Ash Gourd / Winter Melon

What is an ash gourd beneficial for?

Ash gourd is a beneficial ingredient in traditional medicines. It aids in digestion, ulcers, and guards against infections, type 2 diabetes, and so on.

What are some ash gourd juice benefits and side effects?

One side effect of drinking ash gourd juice is when a person is suffering from a cold or fever, as it can aggravate the condition. On the other hand, there are several benefits of drinking ash gourd juice on an empty stomach, as mentioned in the post above.

Is it okay to drink ash gourd juice daily?

Yes, ash gourd juice is packed with vital nutrients, so drinking it every morning on an empty stomach is good for your health.

How to check if a winter melon is ripe or raw?

If the stem of a winter melon has an ashy appearance and it is brown, it is ripe.

Is Ash Gourd good for weight loss?

Ash gourd is rich in fibre and low in calories. Consuming Ash gourd juice gives a feeling of fullness and thus reduces the appetite. Resulting in less consumption of calories leading to weight loss.

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Aug 02, 2023
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