Ash gourd, also known as winter melon, is a famous ingredient in Asian cuisine.
Benincasa hispida is the botanical name of ash gourd. It is a member of the Benincasa genus.
Ash gourd has many other names including, winter gourd, white gourd, wax gourd, tallow gourd, and pith gourd.
In the Cucurbitaceae family, ash gourd has a large oval shape. It has a white waxy material in its outer appearance.
Meanwhile, its inner side has a thick white, juicy, and crispy flesh with a little cucumber-like taste. In several Asian countries, ash gourd is only edible after cooking.
It has the name ash gourd because its seeds develop a waxy matter of grey color on maturity. However, being immature, the seeds are fluffy.
Ash gourd develops appropriately in the clay mixed soil. It is a kind of annual vine and has comparable development characteristics similar to the other gourd vegetables.
Ash gourd is very low on calories, as it consists mostly of water. But it is a rich source of fiber, protein, and vitamins.
According to the USDA, 100 grams of ash gourd provides the following nutrients (1).
- Water: 96.1 grams
- Calories: 13 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 3.57 grams
- Fat: 8.37 grams
- Protein: 2.44 grams
- Ash: 0.3 grams
- Fiber: 2.9 grams
- Calcium: 19 mg
- Iron: 0.4 mg
- Magnesium: 10 mg
- Phosphorous: 19 mg
- Potassium: 6 mg
- Sodium: 111 mg
- Zinc: 0.61 mg
- Vitamin C: 13 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.035 mg
- Thiamin: 0.04 mg
- Riboflavin: 0.11 mg
- Folate: 5 µg
- Niacin: 0.4 mg
Health Benefits of Ash Gourd:
Ash gourd is an excellent vegetable to our health, as it has anti-depressant, anti-ulcer, and anti-histaminic properties. Here are a few incredible health benefits of eating ash gourd.
1. Improves your immunity
Ash gourd has a reasonable amount of vitamin C. Also, it has a negligible amount of zinc. Both these minerals are essential for our immune system.
Hence, eating ash gourd boosts your immunity, which may provide speedy recovery from viral fevers and the common cold.
2. Possesses anti-inflammatory property
Several studies find that ash gourd exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties of ash gourd may help treat hypertension and inflammation (2).
High blood sugar levels may cause inflammation in our blood vessels, which is called vascular inflammation.
A study shows that extracts of ash gourd may help alleviate vascular inflammation by reducing the inflammation in blood vessels (3).
3. Improves digestion
These properties of ash gourd improve your digestion and gut health.
What’s more, the fiber in it slows the digestion and gratifies the stomach. People on a keto diet can consume ash gourd as it’s low on carbs.
4. Treats ulcers
Ash gourd is a rich source of antioxidants, such as alkaloids, flavonoids, and phytochemicals. These antioxidants in ash gourd might be beneficial for treating ulcers (6).
In fact, a study on rats has shown that the consumption of ash gourd produced a significant reduction in gastric ulcers (7).
5. Helps control type 2 diabetes
The juice of the ash gourd helps reduce the rise in postprandial blood sugar levels (8).
Also, the abundance of fiber and protein in ash gourd may slow down the digestion, which can slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream (9).
Therefore, ash gourd could be an ideal choice for controlling type 2 diabetes.
6. Fights cancer
Ash gourd possesses anti-angiogenic properties that stop tumors from growing (10).
Also, research indicates that the seed extract of ash gourd helps prevent the generation of cancer cells.
Hence, adding ash gourd to your regular diet is an ideal way to combat cancer.
7. Helps in detoxifying the body
Ash gourd possesses diuretic, as well as the laxative properties.
Research says that the juice extract of ash gourd gets mixed with water and increases the urine output.
Therefore, it helps detoxify the body by washing out the waste through the urine output (11).
So, we can conclude that ash gourd is an excellent vegetable. It offers numerous health benefits to maintain our body healthy.