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Winter melon nutrition: calories, carbs, GI, protein, fiber, fats

Waxgourd, (chinese preserving melon), raw
*all the values are displayed for the amount of 100 grams
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian by Christelle Tchakerian | Last updated on October 12, 2023
Medically reviewed by Victoria Mazmanyan Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Winter melon


Winter melon is a well-known vegetable/fruit consumed chiefly in Asian countries (1). While it is a fruit from a botanical point of view, it is sometimes used and consumed as a vegetable.

Winter melon is native to Japan and is grown in hot countries. Also known as a wax gourd, winter melon has a lot of health benefits and has various medical uses worldwide. The gourd has been known for its pharmaceutical attributes and therapeutic and healing properties (2).
It has low amounts of anti-nutrients and a decent amount of nutrients, making it a wholesome food to consume (3).
Further research is needed to prove its pharmacological effects on humans.
In this article, an in-depth nutrition analysis of the winter gourd will be conducted, along with a discussion of its health benefits and risks.

General Information


Wax gourd is scientifically called Benincasa hispida (1). It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, the same family as cucumber, melon, squash, gourd, and zucchini (4).

The cucurbit family is genetically diverse and grows in drought-prone regions (5). Cucurbits belong to a family of plants known for their numerous health benefits. The gourd family is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients (6).

Winter melon has many other English names, such as white gourd, ash gourd, wax gourd, white pumpkin, tallow gourd, gourd melon, and Chinese watermelon (2). Other names include kundur fruit, chalkumra, Chinese preserving melon, and ash pumpkin (7).

The label “winter” comes from the fact that it can be stored in summer and eaten in winter.

Taste and Appearance

The wax gourd has a mild and sweet taste that is almost bland. This makes it a great medium to absorb whatever flavor it is put in. It is used as a vegetable in Asian countries. However, unlike its relatives, like cucumber, it cannot be eaten raw. It has to be cooked.

The immature fruits have little hairs, while the mature ones lose their fuzz and develop a waxy layer, hence its name - wax gourd (7). The winter melon may resemble a combination of cucumber, pumpkin, and zucchini. This is because it is a relative of these plants. The gourd has an oblong shape. It has white flesh and a cavity in the center with a mushy substance and seeds.


There are many winter melon varieties, including honeydew melon, casaba, Santa Claus type, etc. (8). Two cultivars of winter melon are grown in Malaysia (9).
A study identified 16 different cultivars of winter melon according to different shapes, sizes, and skin colors (10).


One average serving of winter melon per person is 1 cup of 132 grams. However, the infographics below will be presented for 100g servings of winter melon.
This fruit is composed of 94% water. The remaining 6% is nutrients, predominantly carbohydrates. Winter melon is an excellent source of vitamin C. Similarly, it is relatively rich in fibersodiumcalcium, and zinc.

Macronutrients chart

3% 94%
Daily Value: 1%
0.4 g of 50 g
Daily Value: 0%
0.2 g of 65 g
Daily Value: 1%
3 g of 300 g
Daily Value: 5%
96.1 g of 2,000 g
0.3 g

Macronutrient Calories


Winter melon contains 13 calories per 100 grams and 17 calories per average serving size. Thus, it is a very low-calorie food.

Winter melon falls in the top 2% of foods low in calories compared to the other foods in our database.


One hundred grams of this food provides 3g of carbohydrates per 100g serving. This carb content consists of 2.9g of dietary fiber and 0.1g of net carbs. This is 542 times lower than net carbs in chocolate. It is, therefore, a low-carbohydrate food.

Winter melons have 1.2 times more fiber than oranges. 100 grams covers 12% of daily fiber needs, falling in the top 27% of foods as a nutrient source.

In a study that compared the crude fiber content of cucurbit family plants, ash gourd contained the highest amount of crude fiber (3).
The food also contains 0g of sugar, which is suitable for people following a low-sugar diet.

Fiber content ratio for Winter melon

97% 3%
Sugar: 0 g
Fiber: 2.9 g
Other: 0.1 g


Winter melon does not contain notable amounts of protein, providing less than 1g of protein (0.4g per 100g).
However, it does contain some free amino acids.
The amino acids are mostly focused in the seeds of this plant and least in the pulp (11).
Winter melon seeds have been shown to have a decent amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA, an important neurotransmitter indispensable for brain health (12).


Ash gourd contains an insignificant amount of fats - just 0.1g per 100g. 

Naturally, winter melon also contains no cholesterol.


Overall, winter melon is not a great source of vitamins.

Winter melon lacks the fat-soluble vitamins AD, E, K and water-soluble cobalamine or vitamin B12. It contains some vitamins B1, B3, B6, B5, and folate or B9.
It’s primarily rich in vitamin C and vitamin B2.

At the same time, one hundred grams of this food covers 14% of the daily need for vitamin C. However, the amount of vitamin C it contains is 4.1 times less than lemon. Furthermore, 100 grams of winter gourd covers 8% of daily vitamin B2 needs.

Vitamin coverage chart

Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 0% 0% 44% 10% 26% 8% 8% 9% 4% 0% 0%
Vitamin A: 0 IU of 5,000 IU 0%
Vitamin E : 0 mg of 15 mg 0%
Vitamin D: 0 µg of 10 µg 0%
Vitamin C: 13 mg of 90 mg 14%
Vitamin B1: 0.04 mg of 1 mg 3%
Vitamin B2: 0.11 mg of 1 mg 8%
Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg of 16 mg 3%
Vitamin B5: 0.133 mg of 5 mg 3%
Vitamin B6: 0.035 mg of 1 mg 3%
Folate: 5 µg of 400 µg 1%
Vitamin B12: 0 µg of 2 µg 0%
Vitamin K: 0 µg of 120 µg 0%


Among all the studied minerals, 100g of this food covers the daily need for iron and zinc the most (5% and 6%, respectively).

This fruit provides moderate levels of calcium and manganese and is low in magnesium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, and potassium.

Winter melon is relatively high in sodium, containing 111mg per 100g serving.

Winter melon lacks choline.

Mineral coverage chart

Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium Choline 6% 15% 8% 9% 1% 15% 17% 8% 8% 2% 0%
Calcium: 19 mg of 1,000 mg 2%
Iron: 0.4 mg of 8 mg 5%
Magnesium: 10 mg of 420 mg 2%
Phosphorus: 19 mg of 700 mg 3%
Potassium: 6 mg of 3,400 mg 0%
Sodium: 111 mg of 2,300 mg 5%
Zinc: 0.61 mg of 11 mg 6%
Copper: 0.023 mg of 1 mg 3%
Manganese: 0.058 mg of 2 mg 3%
Selenium: 0.2 µg of 55 µg 0%
Choline: 0 mg of 550 mg 0%


Winter melon provides gallic acid, a potent antioxidant compound, and phenolic acid, known for its various health benefits (18).

Glycemic Index

While an exact value for the glycemic index of winter melon has not been researched, it can assumed to be low due to its very low content of net carbs. 


The acidity based on PRAL, i.e., potential renal acid load value, is 0.3. The higher the positive value of the PRAL, the more acid the food produces in your body.

Weight Loss and Diets

Winter melon is rich in dietary fiber, helping keep you full for a longer time, thus limiting your food consumption (13).
It is also very low in caloriesfats, and sugars. It is an optimal addition to a weight loss diet plan.

KetoA 100-gram serving contains 0.1g of net carbs. It is very low in carbs and can be consumed on a keto diet.

The DASH diet is typically used to lower blood pressure. It focuses mainly on fruits and vegetables. One study suggested that winter melon has an ACE-inhibiting effect. This means it has an effect similar to blood pressure-lowering drugs (however, it should not be used as a drug replacement).

Therefore, winter melon can be consumed on the DASH diet.

AtkinsWinter melon can be consumed on an Atkin’s diet, as a 100-gram serving contains only 3g of carbohydrates.
MediterraneanThe Mediterranean diet involves eating plant-based foods and a lot of fruits and vegetables. Hence, ash gourd can be consumed on this diet.
PaleoThe paleo diet involves eating whole foods that are not processed, including lots of fruits and vegetables. Winter melon is, therefore, paleo-friendly.
Vegan/ Vegetarian/ PescetarianWinter melon is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and pescetarians. It is void of animal products.
Gluten-freeWinter melon is gluten-free.
DukanWinter melon cannot be consumed during the first phase of the Dukan diet (the Attack Phase).
Intermittent FastingWinter melon cannot be consumed during fasting hours. However, they can naturally be consumed during eating periods.
Low Fat & Low-CalorieWinter melon is very low in fats and low in calories. Therefore, it can be consumed on a low-fat and low-calorie diet.
Low CarbIt is very low in carbohydrates (0.1g of net carbs and 3g of carbohydrates per 100g serving).
Anti InflammatoryIt is full of anti-inflammatory compounds and can be consumed on an anti-inflammatory diet.
BRATWinter melon is gentle on the stomach and can be used in a BRAT diet.

Health Impact

Health Benefits

The fruit has some properties, such as anti-ulcerative, anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, vasodilating, etc. This is mainly due to the bioactive compounds present in this food.

Wax gourd seeds, which are often discarded, also have various properties. This needs to be further investigated by the medical community (14).


ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) are substances that dilate blood vessels and thus lower blood pressure. These are regular blood pressure medication constituents that are prescribed by a physician. In one study, wax gourd extract was shown to have angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibiting activity (it has an ACE-inhibiting effect). Wax gourd, therefore, has cardioprotective capabilities (15).
Winter melon may be used as a cardiotonic as it has been used historically (16). However, further evidence is needed.
Moreover, winter melon contains potassium, which is known to be a vasodilator, dilating blood vessels and aiding in the lowering of blood pressure.


Extract from white pumpkin lowered blood glucose levels in diabetic rats. It was also shown to decrease cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) values ompared to diabetic rats who did not receive the treatment (17).

So, B. Hispida can improve lipid metabolism in diabetic rats (further studies are needed to prove that in humans).
On top of that, ash gourd contains gallic acid, a chemical compound known to reduce the risk of diabetes type 2 (18).


Winter gourd has cytotoxic and anticancer effects. Furthermore, it exhibits a dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity (19).
Winter melon has antioxidant effects as well (20). Antioxidants are known to scavenge free radicals and protect cells from damage.
Moreover, ash gourd fruit was shown to have 5 alpha-reductase inhibiting effects (21). Five alpha-reductase inhibitors block the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and are used to treat the enlarged prostate gland. The ash gourd fruit was shown to stop the testosterone-induced abnormal growth of prostate cells in rats (21).

Mental Health and Brain Health

In one animal model study, the winter melon extract exhibited an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effect (22).

A chemical called γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was isolated from the ash gourd. This substance has mental health benefits (12). A substance in winter melon has also been used as an ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy (12).
Ash gourd juice extract was shown to have anti-depressive effects (23). Fresh ash gourd juice improved morphine withdrawal symptoms in rats (24).
Moreover, this food is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat schizophrenia (25).


Winter melon may be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. However, always consult your physician first. The fiber content in winter melon helps relieve constipation. Additionally, the zinc and vitamin C present in the food help improve the immune system. 

Immune Health

Winter melon has antimicrobial effects (26). Moreover, winter melon is rich in vitamin C, which is necessary to create immune cells. The zinc contained in this food also strengthens the immune system.

Sexual Health

Winter melon may be beneficial in treating sexually transmitted diseases. Winter melon seed oil is used to treat syphilis, and the seed ash is used to treat gonorrhea in some countries (27).

Analgesic and Antiedemic Effects

Traditionally, winter gourd has been used as an analgesic (pain-blocking) and in managing fever. Extracts have been shown to have antinociceptive (pain-blocking) and antipyretic (fever-lowering) effects. The analgesic effects may be due to phytonutrients called flavonoids (28).

Two chemicals isolated from the wax gourd, called alnusenol and multiflorenol can inhibit histamine release in the smooth muscles, thus providing an analgesic effect (29).

Ash gourd also has anti-edematous properties, reducing swelling (30).

Digestive Health

Winter melon is 97% water and high in fiber, so it helps improve the digestive process (31).
A study showed the anti-ulcerogenic activity of Benincasa hispida extract, which further substantiates its use in treating ulcers in Ayurvedic medicine. The extract may be further considered as a constituent of ulcer drugs. Winter gourd heals ulcers and neutralizes stomach acids (32).
Winter melon has an antidiarrheal effect, as demonstrated by a research paper (33).
It can act as a vermifuge, too. A vermifuge is an antiparasitic substance that expels parasites from the body (34).

Kidney Health

Benincasa hispida had renoprotective (kidney-protecting effects) in rats with induced kidney failure (35).
In addition, it has been used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine to treat kidney infections (36).
It has been used in Ayurveda in the treatment of kidney stones (urinary calculi) as well (16).


A study revealed that Benincasa hispida has anti-aging effects on the skin and that a cream made from B. hispida extract can actually help slow down the aging appearance of the skin (37).

Downsides and Risks

A study showed that the consumption of 70% extract of winter melon, up to 1000mg/kg of body weight, is non-toxic and safe in rats. However, further studies are needed to confirm this in humans (38).

Pregnant and lactating women should consult their physicians first before consuming the food.

Cooking and Use

Winter gourd is a versatile ingredient. It can be eaten in many ways: baked, sauteed, candied, jammed, boiled, parboiled, steamed, grilled, and fried. It can be used in soups, smoothies, jams, teas, stews, etc. It can also be eaten raw in salads. The ash gourd is used in India to make petha candies (31).

The seeds can be consumed, too, similar to how sunflower seeds are consumed.

Winter Melon Tea

Winter melon tea is a great soothing tea. It is free of sugar (you can add your preferred sweetener).
To make winter melon tea, simmer the pulp in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, sift the tea, and don’t forget to squeeze the remaining tea from the spongy melon chunks.

Winter Melon Juice

Preparing winter melon juice involves peeling the fruit and removing the seeds. This is followed by cutting the pulp into chunks and juicing it using a juicer.

Storage, Keeping, and Conservation

Given that the white pumpkin is in average shape and is not scarred, it can be stored for an extended period (up to a year). This is due to a waxy protective layer that is present around this fruit (12).


Winter gourd has been used in many medicinal systems, including the Ayurvedic SystemTraditional Chinese Medicine, and Unani Medicine (3).

Wax gourd has been grown all over Asia (39). The ash gourd may have been domesticated in these two regions: Southern China and Southeastern Nepal (10).

Production and Consumption

The ash gourd is grown on a vine. It is relatively more straightforward to grow compared to other plants in the cucurbit family and is to be grown in dry areas (40). Excessive humidity will negatively affect the growth of this plant.


You can find winter melons in India for the price of 0.5$/kg (41).


  8. Honeydew and Other Winter Melons in the Garden
  21. Effect of Benincasa hispida fruits on prostatic in Nandecha Nahata
  22. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Phytopharmacological Research
  29. Effect of methanolic extract of Benincasa hispida induced bronchospasm
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: October 12, 2023
Medically reviewed by Victoria Mazmanyan

Important nutritional characteristics for Winter melon

Winter melon
Calories ⓘ Calories per 100-gram serving 13
Net Carbs ⓘ Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols 0.1 grams
Serving Size ⓘ Serving sizes are taken from FDA's Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs) 1 cup, cubes (132 grams)
Acidity (Based on PRAL) ⓘ PRAL (Potential renal acid load) is calculated using a formula. On the PRAL scale the higher the positive value, the more is the acidifying effect on the body. The lower the negative value, the higher the alkalinity of the food. 0 is neutral. 0.3 (acidic)
TOP 22% Vitamin C ⓘHigher in Vitamin C content than 78% of foods
TOP 27% Fiber ⓘHigher in Fiber content than 73% of foods
TOP 47% Sodium ⓘHigher in Sodium content than 53% of foods
TOP 55% Calcium ⓘHigher in Calcium content than 45% of foods
TOP 64% Zinc ⓘHigher in Zinc content than 36% of foods

Winter melon calories (kcal)

Serving Size Calories Weight
Calories in 100 grams 13
Calories in 1 cup, cubes 17 132 g
Calories in 1 waxgourd 741 5700 g

Mineral chart - relative view

111 mg
TOP 47%
19 mg
TOP 55%
0.61 mg
TOP 64%
0.058 mg
TOP 65%
0.4 mg
TOP 80%
10 mg
TOP 84%
19 mg
TOP 89%
0.023 mg
TOP 91%
0.2 µg
TOP 94%
6 mg
TOP 97%

Vitamin chart - relative view

Vitamin C
13 mg
TOP 22%
Vitamin B2
0.11 mg
TOP 66%
Vitamin B1
0.04 mg
TOP 78%
5 µg
TOP 79%
Vitamin B3
0.4 mg
TOP 81%
Vitamin B6
0.035 mg
TOP 85%
Vitamin B5
0.133 mg
TOP 86%
Vitamin A
0 IU
TOP 100%
Vitamin B12
0 µg
TOP 100%
Vitamin D
0 µg
TOP 100%

Protein quality breakdown

Tryptophan Threonine Isoleucine Leucine Lysine Methionine Phenylalanine Valine Histidine 3% 0% 0% 0% 2% 1% 0% 0% 0%
Tryptophan: 2 mg of 280 mg 1%
Threonine: 0 mg of 1,050 mg 0%
Isoleucine: 0 mg of 1,400 mg 0%
Leucine: 0 mg of 2,730 mg 0%
Lysine: 9 mg of 2,100 mg 0%
Methionine: 3 mg of 1,050 mg 0%
Phenylalanine: 0 mg of 1,750 mg 0%
Valine: 0 mg of 1,820 mg 0%
Histidine: 0 mg of 700 mg 0%

Fat type information

11% 26% 62%
Saturated Fat: 0.016 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.037 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.087 g

All nutrients for Winter melon per 100g

Nutrient Value DV% In TOP % of foods Comparison
Calories 13kcal 1% 98% 3.6 times less than OrangeOrange
Protein 0.4g 1% 91% 7.1 times less than BroccoliBroccoli
Fats 0.2g 0% 88% 166.6 times less than Cheddar CheeseCheddar Cheese
Vitamin C 13mg 14% 22% 4.1 times less than LemonLemon
Net carbs 0.1g N/A 74% 541.7 times less than ChocolateChocolate
Carbs 3g 1% 66% 9.4 times less than RiceRice
Cholesterol 0mg 0% 100% N/AEgg
Vitamin D 0µg 0% 100% N/AEgg
Iron 0.4mg 5% 80% 6.5 times less than BeefBeef
Calcium 19mg 2% 55% 6.6 times less than MilkMilk
Potassium 6mg 0% 97% 24.5 times less than CucumberCucumber
Magnesium 10mg 2% 84% 14 times less than AlmondAlmond
Fiber 2.9g 12% 27% 1.2 times more than OrangeOrange
Copper 0.02mg 3% 91% 6.2 times less than ShiitakeShiitake
Zinc 0.61mg 6% 64% 10.3 times less than BeefBeef
Phosphorus 19mg 3% 89% 9.6 times less than Chicken meatChicken meat
Sodium 111mg 5% 47% 4.4 times less than White BreadWhite Bread
Vitamin A 0IU 0% 100% N/ACarrot
Vitamin A RAE 0µg 0% 100%
Selenium 0.2µg 0% 94%
Manganese 0.06mg 3% 65%
Vitamin B1 0.04mg 3% 78% 6.7 times less than Pea rawPea raw
Vitamin B2 0.11mg 8% 66% 1.2 times less than AvocadoAvocado
Vitamin B3 0.4mg 3% 81% 23.9 times less than Turkey meatTurkey meat
Vitamin B5 0.13mg 3% 86% 8.5 times less than Sunflower seedSunflower seed
Vitamin B6 0.04mg 3% 85% 3.4 times less than OatOat
Vitamin B12 0µg 0% 100% N/APork
Folate 5µg 1% 79% 12.2 times less than Brussels sproutBrussels sprout
Trans Fat 0g N/A 100% N/AMargarine
Saturated Fat 0.02g 0% 92% 368.4 times less than BeefBeef
Monounsaturated Fat 0.04g N/A 86% 264.8 times less than AvocadoAvocado
Polyunsaturated fat 0.09g N/A 86% 542.2 times less than WalnutWalnut
Tryptophan 0mg 0% 98% 152.5 times less than Chicken meatChicken meat
Lysine 0.01mg 0% 98% 50.2 times less than TofuTofu
Methionine 0mg 0% 98% 32 times less than QuinoaQuinoa

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Nutrition Facts
___servings per container
Serving Size ______________
Amount Per 100g
Calories 13
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 111mg
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Total Sugars g
Includes ? g Added Sugars
Protein 0g
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%

Calcium 19mg 2%

Iron 0mg 0%

Potassium 6mg 0%

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Health checks

Low in Cholesterol
 ⓘ Dietary cholesterol is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in healthy individuals. However, dietary cholesterol is common in foods that are high in harmful saturated fats.
No Trans Fats
 ⓘ Trans fat consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality by negatively affecting blood lipid levels.
Low in Saturated Fats
 ⓘ Saturated fat intake can raise total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, leading to an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Dietary guidelines recommend limiting saturated fats to under 10% of calories a day.
Low in Sodium
 ⓘ Increased sodium consumption leads to elevated blood pressure.
Low in Sugars
 ⓘ While the consumption of moderate amounts of added sugars is not detrimental to health, an excessive intake can increase the risk of obesity, and therefore, diabetes.

Winter melon nutrition infographic

Winter melon nutrition infographic
Infographic link


All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.


Data provided by should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.