Commonly referred to as turai or torai in India, the ridge gourd is part of the gourd family, which includes other popular vegetables such as cucumbers, karela or bitter gourd, lokee or bottle gourd and chichinda or snake gourd. Because of its spongey texture, the ridge gourd is also described as luffa or sponge gourd. Aside from the obvious use of ridge gourd as a loofah, it also offers plenty of nutrition with its mild flavour and high fibre content. We’ll take a closer look at the many benefits and uses of the ridge gourd plant.
Different names of ridge gourd
Here are the different names of ridge gourds in various Indian languages.
Ridge gourd nutritional value
Here’s the nutritional value of 100g of cooked ridge gourd.
Health Benefits Of Ridge Gourd
1. Natural Exfoliant
Primary Benefits: Ridge gourd, especially when mature and dried, can be used as a natural exfoliating scrub for the skin. The fibrous texture of dried ridge gourd can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote smoother, rejuvenated skin. Today, this is one of the most popular uses of ridge gourd.
Also read our blog on 12 effective home remedies for dry skin
Primary Benefits: The presence of dietary fiber, potassium, and magnesium in ridge gourd can support heart health. Fiber helps in reducing cholesterol levels, while potassium and magnesium support healthy blood pressure levels, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Research shows that ridge gourd helps lower total cholesterol and raises good cholesterol levels .
3. Blood Sugar Control
Primary Benefits: Ridge gourd has a low glycemic index, which means it does not cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels. It can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage blood sugar levels as research shows that it can help lower glucose levels .
4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Primary Benefits: Some studies suggest that ridge gourd seeds may possess anti-inflammatory properties . The presence of certain compounds in the seeds may help reduce inflammation in the body and provide relief from inflammatory conditions.
5. Antimicrobial Effects
Primary Benefits: Among the notable ridge gourd benefits is its ability to help fight infections because of proven antibacterial activity. These properties are known to help fight upper respiratory tract infections in particular .
6. Liver Protection
Primary Benefits: Hepatoprotective activity has been observed in both fruit and leaf extracts from the ridge gourd plant, providing a potential remedy to protect against toxicity that can trigger liver damage .
7. Digestive Aid
Secondary Benefits: The high fiber content in ridge gourd can support digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and improving overall gut health. Adequate fiber intake also helps in maintaining healthy weight management.
8. Amino Acids
Secondary Benefits: Ridge gourd vegetable peels contain essential amino acids that support muscle and tissue repair, wound healing, hormone production, and the production of antibodies and enzymes that prevent fat buildup in the arteries .
Secondary Benefits: The ridge gourd has a high water content, which can help in maintaining hydration levels in the body. Staying hydrated is crucial for various bodily functions, including digestion, temperature regulation, and nutrient transport.
10. Antioxidant Properties
Secondary Benefits: Ridge gourd contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and other phytochemicals that can help protect the body against damage from harmful free radicals . Antioxidants play a role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting a healthy immune system.
11. Weight Management
Secondary Benefits: Ridge gourd is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a good addition to a weight management diet. The fiber content helps promote a feeling of fullness, reducing overall calorie intake, and supporting healthy weight management.
12. Scalp nourishment
Secondary Benefits: Although best known for its application in skin care, ridge gourd benefits for hair are also notable as it contains nutrients like vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which can help moisturize and nourish the scalp. Proper scalp nourishment supports a healthy environment for hair growth and can help combat dryness, itchiness, and dandruff.
How to consume ridge gourd
Here are various ways to consume ridge gourd.
- Peel and slice ridge gourd.
- Stir-fry in a pan with garlic, ginger (optional), soy sauce, salt, and pepper until tender-crisp.
- Dice ridge gourd into cubes.
- Saute onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. Add curry spices and cook ridge gourd until tender.
- Optionally add coconut milk, season with salt, and serve with rice or roti.
- Peel and chop ridge gourd.
- Saute onions, garlic, and ginger. Add ridge gourd, pour in broth, season with coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer until tender and blend for a smoother texture.
- Peel and thinly slice the ridge gourd.
- Combine with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
5. Stuffed ridge gourd
- Cut the ridge gourd into sections and scoop out the center.
- Prepare stuffing with minced paneer, onions, garlic, ginger, and spices.
- Stuff the ridge gourd and bake or cook until tender.
- Top with tomato sauce or yogurt before serving.
Side effects of ridge gourd
While ridge gourd is generally safe and nutritious, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects. A holistic understanding of ridge gourd benefits and side effects will help you make informed dietary choices.
1. Digestive issues
Ridge gourd is rich in dietary fiber, which is generally beneficial for digestion. However, consuming excessive amounts of fiber can lead to bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.
2. Blood sugar levels
Ridge gourd has the potential to lower blood sugar levels. While this can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes, those already taking medication to lower blood sugar should monitor their levels closely.
3. Electrolyte imbalance
Ridge gourd contains compounds, which may have diuretic effects. Excessive consumption of ridge gourd may lead to increased urine production, potentially causing electrolyte imbalances.
4. Gastrointestinal distress in raw form
Consuming ridge gourd in its raw form, especially in large quantities, may cause gastrointestinal distress.
Ridge gourd calories table
Here’s the calorie content of 1 serving (90g) of ridge gourd.
You can enjoy all of these ridge gourd health benefits by adding the leaf, seeds, and fruit to your regular diet. To get the best results, ridge gourd should be part of a healthy balanced diet, so try to also include other fruits, veggies, and gourds in your regular diet.
1. How can ridge gourd benefit your skin?
Mature and dried ridge gourd serves as a natural exfoliating scrub. Its fibrous texture helps remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote smoother, rejuvenated skin.
2. Can I eat ridge gourd if I have diabetes?
Yes, ridge gourd has a low glycemic index, making it beneficial for people with diabetes or those looking to manage blood sugar levels. Research shows that it can help lower glucose levels.
3. Can ridge gourd help you lose weight?
Yes, ridge gourd is low in calories and high in fibre, making it a good addition to a weight management diet. The fibre content promotes a feeling of fullness, reduces overall calorie intake, and supports healthy weight management.
This article is written from a health and lifestyle perspective. It is for general information and not meant to substitute any medical advice. Please consult your doctor for appropriate medical consultation.