Ash gourd (Benincasa hispida) looks like a green pumpkin , it's a popularly eaten vegetable in India and China. Some of the other names of this unique vegetable are White Gourd and Winter Melon. It has a mild taste like cucumber.
Ash gourd is nutritious, low in calories but rich in vitamins and minerals. It has high water content and is easy to include in the diet in the form of juices, smoothies and salads.
Let’s get to know some of the health benefits of ash gourd.
1. Packed with nutrients - Ash gourd is rich in dietary fibre. It contains minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese while also being a valuable source of vitamins like niacin, thiamine, vitamin C and riboflavin. Ash gourd also has phytochemicals like tannins, phenols, glycosides, alkaloids, and flavonoids.
2. Promotes weight loss - Low calories, high dietary fibre and water content of ash gourd make it excellent for people aiming to shed some extra pounds. Its fibre content provides fullness and satiety. It averts food cravings and helps reduce overall calorie intake and overeating.
3. Good for digestion - Ash gourd has a cooling effect on the body. It is high in soluble fibre which makes it excellent for our gut health. Being rich in soluble fibre, promotes the growth of good bacterias, alleviates indigestion causing constipation, haemorrhoids, etc., thereby keeping the colon healthy. Ash gourd is also considered advantageous for treating stomach acids and associated issues like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers.
4. Heart friendly - Ash gourd contains both sodium and potassium but the potassium content is higher as compared to sodium which makes it heart-friendly.
5. Sharpens mind - As per traditional Ayurveda, ash gourd is excellent for our brain health and has been touted to sharpen memory and boost cognitive functioning. Ash gourd contains folate which is required to prevent birth defects. In addition, this veggie relaxes our mind, brain and reduces stress.
6. Boosts immunity - Some researchers believe that ash gourd has excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which makes it a significant contributor to boosting immune health.
To sum up, ash gourd is healthy, nutritious and good to treat many health ailments. It can be included easily in the diet to enjoy the health benefits. Some studies also support that ash gourd may also help diabetic patients in maintaining blood sugar levels of the body. It acts as a natural anticoagulant in the body, promoting healthy hair and skin. The only caution while consuming ash gourd should be taken by people having sinusitis, cold and asthma because of its cooling effect on the body. Such people may consume ash gourd in combination with a herb or spice like black pepper to neutralise the effect.
- Selvakumar, G., Shathirapathiy, G., Jainraj, R., & Yuvaraj Paul, P. (2017). Immediate effect of bitter gourd, ash gourd, Knol-khol juices on blood sugar levels of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A pilot study. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 7(4), 526–531. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.01.009
- Palamthodi, S., et al (2019). Physicochemical and functional properties of ash gourd/bottle gourd beverages blended with Jamun. J Food Sci Technol. 56(1), 473–482.