Winter melon is a part of the Cucurbitaceae family and is the most extensively harvested plant. It is also used in a number of cuisines around the globe. Ash gourd offers health benefits but we can make different food items with winter melon such as stew, candies, winter melon soups, cakes, curries, stir-fries, curries, watermelon juice, and most importantly winter melon tea are some of the food items made from it. Not only winter melon but its seeds also used in various medical treatment
Winter Melon is an excellent companion to the weight loss journey as it is a low-calorie vegetable, therefore, they can be added to any diet plan of low calories. As per research, winter melon has some medicinal properties as well and has proven to be an effective natural remedy for curing a number of ailments. They measure about 15 inches in diameter and weigh in more than thirty pounds when fully grown. They are most likely sold in the sliced form because of its massive size.
Winter melons are pistachio colored, hard, chalky with a feel of wax. As the name suggests, these are available majorly in winters. The flesh tastes mild and has a similar texture as that of a watermelon. It has a large cavity for seeds.
What is Winter Melon (Petha)?
The winter melon is known by a number of names such as white gourd, ash gourd, tallow gourd, and winter gourd. It is the one and the only member of the Benincasa genus which is harvested widely. The underdeveloped melon is sweet when consumed and has a thick white flesh. Winter melon loses its fuzzy hair when it matures and develops a wax-like texture quite similar to watermelon. But this wax makes it last longer. It grows up to 80 cm in length. It has broad leaves and yellow flowers.
Nutritional Value of Winter Melon (Petha)
Winter melon is abundantly laden with nutrition. It has essential minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B1 and B3 and a number of complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. This vegetable is a great source of potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, sodium, manganese and calcium.
Water covers about 96% content of Winter Melon. It provides healthy carbohydrates, proteins and dietary fiber. Ash gourd is known to boost the health and relieve one from a number of diseases. It helps in maintaining blood pressure levels because of its potassium content. It is an ideal vegetable to be included in the weight loss diet plan.
Nutritional facts Per 100 grams in Ash Gourd
Vitamins and Minerals in Winter Melon
Health Benefits of Winter Melon (Petha)
After knowing nutrition facts winter melon, let's check out the best health benefits of Winter Melon (Petha). Since this fruit is easily available in local markets and you can consume this fruit in different forms either you can eat directly or you can make winter melon juice. Even you can buy various winter melon tea to refresh your mood and taste.
Benefits of Winter melon for eyes disorders
It is known that most of the vision problems occur due to the deficiency of riboflavin or commonly identified as vitamin B2. Winter melon has vitamin B2 in abundant quantity. It covers approximately 11% of your daily dietary requirement in just one single serving. By increasing the consumption of winter melon, you can easily reduce the risks of eye disorders. Also, the other antioxidants help in minimizing retina’s oxidative stress and the macular degeneration.
Benefits of Winter melon for heart
Potassium and vitamin C are found in abundance inside the winter melon. Therefore, it is a tried and tested protector of one’s cardiovascular wellbeing. Potassium acts as a vasodilator and helps to lower the blood pressure by discharging tension in the blood vessels and veins, letting the free flow of the blood in the body. This makes it very difficult for heart issues to crop up and decrease the risk of a coronary heart ailment. Besides, vitamin C present in winter melon or ash gourd is known to reduce the chances of a heart stroke.
Winter melon benefits for immune system
Ash Gourd is a powerful immunity booster as it contains vitamin C which stimulates the creation of white blood cells. Also, it provides zinc in a decent quantity, which is also a major component of immunity
Winter Melon Stimulates growth & development
Vitamin C present in winter melon not only boosts the immunity but also facilitates production of collagen which is essential for building and repairing of bones, tissues, blood vessels, muscles and cells
Winter melon benefits for digestion problems
High amount of dietary fiber in ash gourd helps in digestion and also in the prevention of many gastrointestinal issues such as stomach upsets, hemorrhoids, constipation, cramping and bloating. Ash gourd offer another benefit it is also effective to reduce cholesterol levels.
Winter Melon increases energy levels
Vitamin B2 plays a vital role in human metabolism, by ensuring that the consumed nutrients are transformed into usable energy. High quantity of vitamin B2 in the winter melon impacts the hormonal balance and wellbeing of an individual so that we can function efficiently
Winter Melon Improves cognitive function
The significant amount of iron content in winter melon makes it a perfect answer to increase the blood circulation to all corners of the body. We all know that iron is a major component in the creation of red blood cells; therefore better circulation of fresh and oxygenated blood is ensured if you consume iron. Winter melon or ash gourd protects against anemia, ensures proper flow of blood to the brain and helps in increasing the memory, concentration, and focus.
Winter Melong for Detoxification of body
Ash Gourd is used as a diuretic in traditional medicine. It helps to detoxify the body. Winter melon induces detoxification and it is through urination that all the excess fats, toxins, water and salts from the body are eliminated. Winter melon helps the liver and kidney to perform at optimum levels.
Winter melon juice for weight loss
Winter melon is often commended as an efficient weight loss tool, due to its fiber content and lower calorie count. It will make you feel full, therefore decreasing the craving between-meal snacks and binging. The blend of essential nutrients and minerals present in ash gourd promotes the growth of muscles and makes the metabolism stronger, thereby increasing the weight loss effects.
Winter melon prevents constipation
Winter melon is known to be extremely rich in dietary fiber and other essential nutrients which help in digestion. It promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation.
Winter melon for kidney problems
Consuming winter melon regularly can help a lot in protecting the kidneys, as it lowers down the blood pressure and the cholesterol levels which are quite beneficial for the heart as well as the kidneys. It efficiently improves the immunity and working of the kidneys. By acting as a diuretic, winter melon immensely helps in detoxifying the body by eliminating the toxic waste through the urine or stool
Winter melon for diabetics patients
Diabetics are known to be benefitted a lot due to the medicinal and healing properties of winter melon. Also it can be included in the diet of a diabetic since it is low in calories.
Uses of Winter Melon (Petha)
Winter melon has great uses. Firstly even if it is harvested in winters, it can still be stored throughout the year in the form of winter squash. In India, it is known for its medicinal properties and is recognized by the Ayurveda.
Winter melon vegetable is also used traditionally to prepare dishes such as “Meethe Pethe Ki Sabzi”. Also “Petha” a kind of sweet candy is made out of winter melon in India. South Indian and North Eastern side of India use this vegetable extensively. In Vietnam, it is used to make stew or soups. For mothers who breastfeed, it is good to cook winter melon with pork short ribs so as to produce more milk.
In China, you can try the winter melon stir-fry soup or winter melon pork beef soup which is usually served in the scooped out melon. It is used by bakers to make candies, cakes and pastries. The leaves, tendrils and shoots can be consumed as salads. In Southeast Asia, you can even try winter melon tea which is extremely healthy and beneficial.
Side-Effects & Allergies of Winter Melon (Petha)
Along with an unlimited number of benefits, winter melon has some side effects as well. People suffering from obesity should consume winter melon in minimal doses. It is also not ideal to consume it if someone is suffering from asthma, cold or bronchitis as it is known to increase kapha.