Ash gourd, or winter melon (Benincasa hispida) is a unique variety of melon consumed primarily in China and India. In Chinese cuisine, they are normally cut into cubes and used as ingredients for soup dishes.
However in India, the function and value of ash gourd is much more than that; it is regarded as one of the most energizing type of food around thanks to its exceptionally high quotient of “prana”, or vital life energy. On top of all that, ash gourds have a really mild taste that resembles cucumbers.
And this makes the ash gourd to be suitable to not only soups, but also salads, smoothies or juices on a warm day. Anyway, these are the health benefits of ash gourd that you don’t know about!
Nutritional Facts of Ash Gourd
Serving Size – 100 g
- Water – 96.1 g
- Calories – 13kcal
- Total Fat – 0.2 g (0% of DV)
- Saturated Fat – 0.6 g (0% of DV)
- Polyunsaturated Fat – 2.7 g
- Monounsaturated Fat – 1.4 g
- Sodium – 24 mg (1% of DV)
- Total Carbohydrates – 3 g (1% of DV)
- Sugar – 11 g
- Dietary Fibre – 29g (68% of DV)
- Protein – 0.4 g (0% of DV)
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A – 67 IU (1% of DV)
- Vitamin B6 – 0.535 mg (25% of DV)
- Vitamin C – 4 mg (6% of DV)
- Vitamin D – 0 mg (0% of DV)
- Vitamin E – 0 mg (0% of DV)
- Vitamin K – 0 mcg (0% of DV)
- Calcium – 19 mg (1% of DV)
- Copper – 0 mg (% of DV)
- Cobalamin – 0 mg (0% of DV)
- Folate – 5 mcg
- Iron – 0.4 mg (2% of DV)
- Magnesium – 10 mg (2% of DV)
- Niacin – 0.4 mg
- Potassium – 6 mg
- Phosphorus – 19 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.11 mg
- Thiamine – 0.04 mg
- Zinc – 0.61 mg
All the information above are in relation to a 2,000-calorie diet. The percentage of daily value (% of DV) may differ depending on personal calorie needs.
What are its Health Benefits?
- Ash Gourds Help the Treatment of Acid Reflux Syndrome
First, ash gourds help the treatment of acid reflux syndrome thanks to the presence of several principles such as flavanoids C, sterols and also glycosides. These are antioxidants that prevent the irritation of stomach lining by the bile.
2. Ash Gourds Refreshes an Sharpens the Mind
Because of its cooling nature, it is suggested for one to consume a glass of ash gourd juice in the morning. Just one glass of ash gourd juice gives a double impact for the body; the first being a considerable provider of cool and freshness for the body, and second for intellectual sharpness.
Do this every day for a week, and prove yourself what benefits it brings on the mind!
3. Ash Gourd’s Alkaline Properties are Diuretic
The alkaline properties of ash gourd or winter melon are diuretic, which means that it promotes the secretion of liquid away from the body. Diuretics also lower blood pressure by removing salt actively from the body, effects of high sodium level and also excess fluid.
4. Ash Gourds are a Natural Aphrodisiacs
Next, ash gourds are natural aphrodisiacs like the health benefits of kalachuchi, which means that it can boost sexual potency and desire. Sounds like ash gourds are a good choice for couples doesn’t it?
5. Ash Gourds are Also Used for Blood Related Diseases Such as Diabetes
Here comes one of the main Ayurvedic functions of ash gourds. Ash gourds are traditionally used for treating diseases such as diabetes and also bleeding disorders, such as purpura. For diabetic people, ash gourds are also deemed effective in weight managing.
6. Ash Gourds for an Energy Increase
Ash gourds can also be used for increasing energy upon consumption. And wonderfully, it also relaxes the nerves at the same time! The ability for ash gourds to stabilize the nerves is also an advantage to that of caffeine side effects, which agitates the nerves instead.
7. Ash Gourds are Natural Anti-diarrheal Agent
Ash gourds are natural anti-diarrheal agent, or substances used to reduce frequency of pooping while solidifying the stool. Amazingly, in addition to being an anti-diarrheal, ash gourds could also treat constipation as well!
8. Ash Gourds’ Pulp is Rich in Vitamins B and C
The pulps of ash gourds are rich in vitamins B and C. Vitamins B are needed for the conversion of nutrients into energy while then vitamin C benefits is also needed for a healthy immune system. [AdSense-C]
9. Ash Gourds are Helpful for Morphine Withdrawal
With the help of ash gourd, one person can be spared from the dangers of morphine withdrawal. Meanwhile, some symptoms of morphine withdrawal are teary eyes, blurry vision, symptoms of high blood pressure, excessive perspiring, anxiety, and also restlessness.
How to Make Fresh Ash Gourd Juice
- 1 4 to 5-inch sized ash gourd fruit
- 6 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons of black pepper powder
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- First, cut the ash gourd, and make sure that the seeds and skin are removed entirely.
- Using a blender, blend the ash gourd into a smooth puree.
- Once it is done, strain it.
- Add lemon juice, black pepper powder and salt.
- Fresh ash gourd juice is now ready to be served!
Cautions & Recommendations
Ash gourd juices may turn bitter in certain conditions as the levels of cytotoxic compound named “Cucurbitacin” increases. Cucurbitacin is common to the cucumber family of fruits, and may result in poisoning once consumed orally.
The early symptoms of cucurbitacin intoxication are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. While then, the symptoms itself can start 30 minutes after intake and last anytime from 2 to 7 days.
Unfortunately, awareness to this particular intoxication is still low, and the public often misinterpret it as gastrointestinal sepsis. Recently, a healthy 41-year old woman from Pune, India died as a result of cucurbitacin intoxication from a bottled gourd juice, and a few days of intensive hospital care.
And then, the cooling effect of ash gourds may be a bit too much for patients of asthma, sinusitis or susceptible to flu. As such, these people should mix ash gourd juice with honey or pepper to neutralize the cooling effect of ash gourds and also as a preventive measure to not having their diseases triggered.