A ridge gourd is similar in color and size to a zucchini, but rather than being smooth, it is ridged from top to bottom. As with other types of gourds, the ridge gourd is low in fat and calories, making it a good choice for including in a well-balanced diet for weight loss. Talk with your doctor before beginning a diet program.
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Healthy Weight Loss
The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. To lose 1 pound per week, you must create a calorie deficit of 3,500, or 500 calories per day. Eating low-calorie foods, such as ridge gourds, is a healthy way to do this because they contain essential nutrients but don't overload you on calories.
Ridge Gourd Nutrition
Ridge gourds are very low in calories, with under 20 per 1/2-cup serving. With so few calories, including ridge gourds in your weight-loss meal plan can control your intake while satisfying your hunger. The fiber that the gourds contain is also important for weight loss. Fiber digests slowly, which keeps you feeling full for longer. Including low-calorie, high-fiber foods in your diet helps prevent hunger between meals and keeps you from reaching for unhealthy snacks, according to MayoClinic.com.
Ridge gourds aren't a commonly used ingredient in America, but they are prevalent in Indian cuisine. The texture and mild flavor of the gourds make them versatile enough to include in many dishes. Their shape is ideal for stuffing with mixed spices and herbs. Chopped and sauteed ridge gourds, sprinkled with herbs and spices, make a healthy side dish. They also work well in stir-fry, soup or stew. Prepare the ridge gourds with little to no cooking fats because these ingredients increase the calorie content of the meal, which may hinder your weight-loss goals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends including a variety of foods from all the food groups in your weight-loss meal plan. This ensures that you don't get bored with eating the same foods all the time and that you are getting adequate amounts of nutrients essential to your health. Despite the health and potential weight-loss benefits of ridge gourds, they should not be the only item on your weight-loss menu. Eat them in conjunction with other vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein foods.