Winter melon, also known as a wax ground, Chinese watermelon, or white pumpkin, winter melon is a fruit that looks like watermelon but tastes like cucumber. This delicious gourd is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can promote weight loss, strengthen the immune system, and increase energy levels. Learn more on winter melon benefits in this article.

What Is Winter Melon?

It’s dark green with an oblong shape. It has white flesh and seeds, and unlike most fruits, it cannot be eaten raw. The fruit is often treated as a vegetable, and you must remove the skin and seeds before cooking it.

It also should be slightly cooked to prevent it from getting marshy. The cooking methods often used include simmering, steaming, roasting, grilling, or parboiling for about 5 minutes.

Winter melon is native to some parts of Asia and belongs to the gourd family together with zucchini, cucumber, and melon.

It’s often referred to as winter melon because you can store it for many months without spoiling. For instance, if harvested in the late summer, it can be eaten for 3 to 4 months during the winter.

Winter melon has various health benefits and has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

See White Pumpkin, Yellow Squash Nutrition, Chilacayote, and Acorn Squash. 

winter melon on a vine

Proven Winter Melon Benefits

1. It’s low in calories

If you’re on a weight-loss journey and looking for low-calorie foods, or you simply want to limit your daily calorie intake, winter melon may be a great inclusion in your diet. It’s generally made up of water and fiber, just like watermelon, and may help initiate early satiety.

Mainly, winter melon contains soluble fiber which soaks up water to form a gel-like substance as it moves through the gut. This may slow digestion and promote feelings of fullness, preventing you from overeating. It may also reduce your energy intake in your next meal.

Research also suggests that fruits rich in fiber can lead to low-calorie intake, leading to weight loss.

Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, winter melon offers the amount of fiber needed to help your body do exactly that.

2. It’s rich in fiber

Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps improve digestion, promote bowel movements, prevent constipation, and enhance gut health. The high soluble fiber in winter melons helps fight inflammation, lower cholesterol, regulate glucose levels, and lower your ability to absorb fat.

Overall, fruits high in dietary fiber have been shown to offer protection against gastrointestinal conditions, including diverticular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation.

3. It’s rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants help safeguard the body against free radicals that may cause inflammation and cell damage leading to disease formation. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods help fight inflammatory responses in the body as well as delays cellular damage.

Research shows that winter melon is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, polyphenols, and anthocyanins, which prevent inflammation and neutralize free radicles in the body.

4. It may boost your vision

Winter melon is rich in vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. Vitamin B2 is an antioxidant that maintains normal vision by protecting your eyes against damage from the free radicals in the body.

Diets rich in vitamin B2 have been associated with a lower risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and damage to the eye lens, which may lead to cloudy vision.

Daily consumption of approximately 1.1-1.3 mg of riboflavin is recommended to avoid the associated deficiency symptoms. You don’t really have to measure, but incorporating riboflavin-rich foods, including winter melon in your daily diet may provide sufficient amounts.

5. Improves cognitive function

Winter melon contains reasonable amounts of iron and may help prevent iron deficiency symptoms.

Iron is essential for growth and development and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, including the lungs and the brain which uses oxygen as the primary source of fuel.

6. It may boost the immune system

Winter melon is a powerful immune booster as it can offer up to 19 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements. Vitamin C is essential for the production of immune-boosting cells such as white blood cells, which help fight infections and attack disease-causing pathogens.

Winter melon also contains iron and zinc, which play an essential role in strengthening the immune system even further.

7. It may help in the management of migraines

If you suffer migraines, winter melon provides up to 8 percent of your daily riboflavin requirements, which has been shown to help decrease the frequency of migraines in adults.

For better migraine control, include other riboflavin-rich foods such as avocado, quinoa, almonds, and riboflavin-fortified foods in your daily diet.

8. Improves energy levels

Winter melons may keep you hydrated and full of energy. The riboflavin in them helps break down nutrients such as protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It specifically converts carbohydrates into ATP, the form of energy for different body processes.

In combination with vitamin A, riboflavin may also help maintain a healthy liver, promote a healthy mucous membrane in your digestive tract, keep the eyes, skin, and muscles healthy, and facilitate hormone production by the adrenal gland.

9. Prevents flu and cold

Winter melon is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant and powerful immune booster that prevents viruses and flu.

Vitamin C may also protect against lung infections, including pneumonia.

10. Boosts vision

Winter melon contains numerous antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are good for your vision because they protect your eyes from the damage that can be caused by free radicals. In addition to these antioxidants, winter melon also contains lycopene, another powerful antioxidant that helps maintain healthy vision

11. Promotes weight loss

Winter melon is a low-calorie food because it is mostly made up of water and fiber. The water content makes it a good choice for weight loss because it helps keep you full. It’s also high in fiber, another nutrient that helps keep you feeling full longer and prevents cravings. Fiber also helps with digestion and reduces the risk of gastrointestinal problems.

One study found that participants who ate winter melons lost more weight than those who didn’t. In the study, participants were put on a calorie-restricted diet and were given either winter melon or a control food. The study found that people who ate winter melon lost an average of 3.1 pounds, while people who didn’t eat it lost 2.7 pounds.

The weight-loss benefits of winter melon may also be associated with vitamin C and potassium in the fruit. Vitamin C helps boost the body’s immune system while helping reduce fat storage. Potassium promotes the storage of glucose as glycogen. This prevents fat storage that may cause fat gain, especially on a high carbohydrate diet.

How to Eat Winter Melon?

When you think of winter melon, you probably don’t think of delicious food that you’d enjoy at the dinner table. After all, it’s not the most appealing fruit to look at, and it doesn’t exactly scream tasty treat either—unless you know what to do with it! Winter melon can be made into anything from refreshing drinks to light soups and even desserts. Learn about 6 ways to eat winter melon below.

1. Roast it

If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy way to enjoy your winter melon, roasted winter melon is the way to go! Not only is this method easy, but it’s also a great way to get some extra nutrients into your diet. Plus, it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Cut the winter melon into slices about 1-inch thick and lay them out on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle honey over the melon slices and toss them around so they are coated evenly.
4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the melon slices are soft and caramelized.
5. Serve warm, topped with fresh mint leaves if desired.

2. Use it in smoothies

Another delicious way to enjoy winter melon is by adding it to a nutrient-packed smoothie. You can easily buy frozen winter melon in Asian markets or other specialty stores, but some people prefer making their own (frozen) at home. Here’s how:

  • Cut open your winter melons.
  • Remove seeds.
  • Dice them into small cubes (1 inch or smaller), put them on a lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight.

Once frozen, you can transfer cubes into airtight containers for later use. To make a tasty smoothie, add 1 cup of diced winter melon with 1 cup of yogurt. Blend until creamy, then serve immediately! You can also add your fruit of choice, like blueberries, to help enhance colour and nutritional benefits.

3. Use in salads

There are many ways to make your salads more appetizing and entice your family to eat more of them. One way is to add winter melon to your salad.

Adding winter melon to your salads is a delicious and refreshing way to add some new flavor to your meal. Winter melon is a great option for salads because it is sweet and has a mild flavor that pairs well with other ingredients. It is also a good source of vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system.

4. Make soups

Winter melon can also be added to soups, in much the same way that you would add pumpkin. The flavor is similar but milder than pumpkin, which means it won’t overpower whatever other ingredients are in your soup. It will also give your soup a very bright color, which makes it an excellent addition if you want to make your soup look festive or just want something pretty.

5. Stir-fry

If you’re looking for a delicious way to enjoy winter melon, try sauteing it with onions, garlic, and ginger. This method will give your melon a nice golden color and a delicious flavor.

First, peel and chop the onions into thin slices. Next, dice the garlic and ginger into small pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.

Next, add the winter melon to the skillet and cook until it is slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the melon is cooked through and slightly browned for about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and any other spices you may like. Serve immediately with rice or noodles for a complete meal.

6. Boil it for a side dish

Boiled winter melon is a deliciously sweet, refreshing side dish that is perfect for any summer meal. The secret to perfect boiled winter melon is to start with perfectly ripe fruit and cook it until it is soft and tender.

Here are three easy steps to boiling winter melon for a delicious side dish:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat up 1 inch of water over high heat.
  2. Add the winter melon cubes and reduce the heat to medium-high so that the water simmers gently.
  3. Simmer the winter melon cubes for 10 minutes, or until they are soft but still firm to the touch. 
  4. Season and serve

Or Winter Melon Curry recipe.

In conclusion

Winter melon is an ancient fruit often eaten as a vegetable.

It has been used traditionally for the treatment of different ailments but also for various recipes.

It’s low in calories but rich in water and other nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and zinc.

Regular consumption of winter melon may help promote digestive health, destroy harmful free radicals that may cause disease, improve eye health, boost the immune system, prevent migraines, increase energy levels, and help fight against cold and flu.

To eat it, you must first peel off the skin since it’s not edible. You can then slightly cook it to prevent it from overcooking. Cooked winter melon can be added to different recipes of choice, including soups, stir-fries, smoothies, etc.

whole winter melons stacked on each other

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