Ash Gourd: Weight Loss Benefits, Recipes and Side Effects

22Jul

Nature’s bounty is filled with a multitude of fruits and vegetables, each with its unique characteristics and health benefits. One such remarkable vegetable is the Ash Gourd (Benincasa hispida). This versatile vegetable offers many culinary possibilities and a wide range of health benefits. Join me to delve into the world of ash gourd and uncover its secrets.

What is Ash Gourd?

The scientific name of Ash gourd is Benincasa hispida. It is a vine vegetable and belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers, melons and pumpkins. It is also known by various other names such as winter melon, winter gourd, white gourd, fuzzy melon and white pumpkin.

Ash gourd is native to Southeast Asia and is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. It has a large, oblong shape and can grow to impressive sizes, ranging from a few pounds to over 30 pounds (14 kilograms). The outer skin of the ash gourd is pale green or whitish, covered with a fine layer of fuzz when young, but becomes smoother as it matures. The flesh is white, crisp, and mild-tasting, with a texture similar to a cucumber or watermelon.

Ash gourd is a versatile vegetable that is used in various culinary preparations across different cuisines. It is highly valued for its neutral flavour, which allows it to absorb the flavors of other cooked ingredients. 

Nutritional Value of Ash Gourd

Ash gourd is a low-calorie vegetable and hence, perfect for weight watchers.

Nutrient Value Percentage of Daily Intake (if applicable)
Calories 13 kcal N/A
Carbohydrates 3 grams N/A
Protein 0.4 grams N/A
Fat 0.2 grams N/A
Vitamin C 13 milligrams 22%
Calcium 13 milligrams N/A
Iron 0.3 milligrams N/A
Magnesium 5 milligrams N/A
Potassium 61 milligrams N/A
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Is Ash Gourd Good for Weight Loss?

Ash gourd can be a beneficial addition to a weight loss diet due to several reasons:

  1. Low in Calories: Ash gourd is a low-calorie vegetable, with approximately 13 calories per 100 grams. This means you can consume a significant amount of ash gourd without adding a substantial number of calories to your diet.
  2. High Water Content: Ash gourd has a high-water content, which can help keep you hydrated and promote a feeling of fullness. Staying hydrated is important for weight management as it can help control appetite and reduce the likelihood of overeating.
  3. Low in Fat: Ash gourd is low in fat, making it a good choice for those aiming to reduce their fat intake.
  4. Natural Diuretic: Ash gourd has mild diuretic properties, which means it can help eliminate excess water from the body. While this may not result in actual fat loss, it can lead to temporary weight loss due to the reduction of water retention.
  5. Fibre Content – While ash gourd is not particularly high in fibre but it does contain a small amount. Fibre will promote satiety and regulate digestion and support healthy weight loss.

5 Amazing Weight Loss Ash Gourd Recipes

Here are a few recipes from Fitness with Nidhi’s Kitchen using Ash gourd. Its mild flavour and unique texture make it a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes. Here are a few ideas on how to use ash gourd in your recipes

1. Ash Gourd Juice

Ash gourd can be juiced or blended into refreshing beverages.

how to make ash gourd juice recipe

Ingredients:

  • Ash gourd (winter melon) – 1 medium size
  • Lemon juice (optional) – 1tbsp
  • Sweetener of your choice (honey, sugar, or stevia) – to taste
  • Water – as needed

How to make weight loss Ash gourd Juice

  1. Wash the ash gourd thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.
  2. Cut the ash gourd into small pieces. Remove the skin and seeds.
  3. Place the ash gourd pieces in a blender or juicer.
  4. Add a little water to help with the blending process. Start with about half a cup and adjust as needed.
  5. Blend the ash gourd pieces until you get a smooth puree.
  6. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any solids or fiber. This will give you clear juice.
  7. Add lemon juice and the sweetener of choice. Stir well.
  8. If the juice is too concentrated, you can dilute it with water to adjust the consistency.
  9. Serve the ash gourd juice immediately.

2. Ash Gourd Soup

Ash gourd can be added to soups and stews to enhance their flavour and texture. Its soft, melt in your mouth consistency makes it a great ingredient in healthy comforting dishes. 

how to make ash gourd soup recipe

Ingredients:

  • Ash gourd, peeled and cubed – 2 cups
  • Onion, chopped – 1
  • Garlic, minced – 2 pods
  • Ginger, grated – 1 small inch
  • Vegetable or chicken broth – 2 cups
  • Coconut milk – 1 c
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Hing – a pinch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

How to make Weight Loss Ash Gourd Soup

  1. Heat oil in a pot or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add hing, chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté until the onion turns translucent and the mixture becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the cubed ash gourd to the pot and sauté for a few more minutes, allowing the Flavors to meld together.
  4. Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the ash gourd becomes tender and can be easily mashed with a fork.
  6. Use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  7. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the coconut milk. Heat gently, but do not boil.
  8. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
  10. Serve the ash gourd soup hot and enjoy!
 
 
 
 
 
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3. Ash Gourd Raita 

Ash gourd is a refreshing and creamy yogurt-based side dish that pairs well with Indian meals. It adds a cool and soothing element to balance spicy or flavourful main dishes. Here is a simple recipe to make delicious ash gourd raita: 

how to make ash gourd raita recipe

Ingredients:

  • Grated ash gourd (peeled and deseeded) – 1 Cup
  • Plain yogurt (preferably chilled) – 1 c
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1/4th tsp
  • Chaat masala (optional) – 1/4th tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried Red chilli – 2
  • Mustard Oil – ½ tsp
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Asafoetida (hing) – a pinch
  • Curry leaves (optional)

How to make Ash Gourd Raita?

  1. Take a cooker and add grated ash gourd to it and 2 spoons of water. Wait for a whistle and let it cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the chilled yogurt until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the cooled ash gourd to the yogurt and mix well.
  4. Add roasted cumin powder, chaat masala (if desired), and salt. Stir to combine all the ingredients evenly.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  6. Transfer the raita to a serving bowl.
  7. Now, add hing, mustard seeds, dry red chilli and curry leaves tempering to it.
  8. Serve

Note: You can also add a tadka (tempering) to enhance the flavors of the raita. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan, add hing, mustard seeds, dried red chilli, and curry leaves. Once they splutter, pour the tempering over the raita and mix well before serving.

4. Ash Gourd Ki Sabzi

  • Serving size: 2
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes
how to make ash gourd ki sabzi recipe

Nutritional value

  • Calories – 285 kcals
  • Carbohydrates – 37.4 g
  • Protein – 0.8 g
  • Fats – 14 g

Ingredients

  • Ash gourd (peeled and cut in cubes)- 1 c 
  • Mustard Oil – 1 spoon
  • Methi Seeds – ½ tsp
  • Curry Leaves – 5-6
  • Dried Red chilli – 1
  • Cumin Powder- ½ tsp
  • Coriander Powder – ½ tsp
  • Saunf Powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt according to taste
  • Red Chilli – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  • Tamarind (Imli) – 2 tbsp
  • Hing – A pinch
  • Jaggery – 1 tbsp

How to make Ash gourd ki Sabzi

  1. Peel and cut cubes of Ash gourd.
  2. Take a cast iron kadai and add hing, oil, methi seeds, dried red chilli and ash gourd.
  3. Add all spices and salt according to taste and cover it for 5-10 minutes and check if it’s soft.
  4. Remove the lid and add emli, jaggery and chopped curry leaves and mix well.
  5. Khata meeta Ash gourd is ready to eat. 
  6. If you want a light curry, you can add boiled water to it.

5. Ash Gourd Summer Cooler Drink 

This drink is perfect to quench your summer thirst. One of the most refreshing drinks to beat the summer heat. Here is a simple recipe for you all.

how to make ash gourd summer cooler drink

Ingredients:

  • Ash gourd (winter melon) – 1 medium-sized
  • Watermelon cubes – 1c
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Mint leaves (a handful)
  • Sweetener of your choice (honey, sugar, or stevia) – to taste
  • Ice cubes – as needed

How to make Ash Gourd summer cooler drink

  1. Wash the ash gourd thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.
  2. Cut the ash gourd into small pieces. Remove the skin and seeds.
  3. Place the ash gourd pieces in a blender.
  4. Add watermelon cubes, lemon juice, and a handful of mint leaves to the blender.
  5. Blend all the ingredients until you get a smooth puree.
  6. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any solids or fiber. This will give you clear juice.
  7. Add the sweetener of your choice. 
  8. Stir well.
  9. Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour the ash gourd juice over the ice.
  10. Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves.
  11. Stir and serve immediately.

5 Health Benefits of Ash Gourd

Here is a list of health benefits of Ash gourd

  1. Ash gourd has a high-water content, which helps in hydrating the body and maintaining proper fluid balance. 
  2. As a low-calorie and low-fat vegetable with a significant water content, ash gourd can be a helpful addition to a weight loss or weight management diet. 
  3. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, ash gourd is believed to have cooling properties, making it a popular choice during hot summer months. It is used to help cool down the body, reduce heat-related ailments, and alleviate thirst.
  4. Ash gourd is a source of vitamin C, which is known for its immune-boosting properties. Adequate vitamin C intake can help strengthen the immune system and protect against infections and illnesses.
  5. Ash gourd has diuretic properties, meaning it can promote urine production and help flush out toxins from the body. 

2 Side Effects of Ash Gourd

  1. It shouldn’t be consumed by people who have asthma, cold and sinusitis because it is known to produce phlegm.
  2. Some people might have allergic reactions to ash gourd. You might observe red skin, swelling and difficulty breathing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should not consume Ash gourd Juice?

People suffering from kidney stones and those who develop an allergy to winter melon.

Can ash gourd juice help in weight loss?

Yes, it’s low in calories and can be a part of your weight loss diet plan. With low calories and fat content, it is helpful for weight watchers.

Is ash gourd juice helpful in acid reflux?

Yes, It reduces stomach acidity caused by acidic foods, fried and spicy foods.

Can people with diabetes consume Ash Gourd juice?

Yes, since the juice is low in calories, carbohydrates and fat, it’s a great choice for diabetic people. A study on humans was conducted which showed that ash gourd juice actually reduced the blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Can ash gourd be consumed in any season?

Ash gourds have cooling properties. It’s best to consume it in the summer season.

What does ash gourd taste like?

It has a milk taste just like cucumber.

Conclusion

Ash gourd offers several potential health benefits. It is a low-calorie vegetable with a high-water content, making it a good choice for weight management and hydration. The vegetable is known for its cooling properties and is commonly used during the hot summer months to beat the heat and quench thirst. It has diuretic properties and may support urinary health by promoting urine production and helping to flush out toxins from the body.

While ash gourd is generally safe for consumption, it’s important to be aware of potential allergic reactions, especially for individuals with known allergies to melons or gourds. 

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