Tinda – This vegetable fruit found in India, Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan is quite uncommon to the outside world. But none of that undermines the health potential it holds within. Local people have used this vegetable in their daily lives and enjoyed its nutrients.
Tinda falls in between family of cucumber and squash. Praecitrullus fistulosus, as it is known in parlance of science, it is locally known in various names. Some popular amongst them are Tinda or Tinday in Hindi or Urdu. Tindsi in Rajasthan, Dhemase or Dhemsa in Marathi, Meha in Sindhi, Tandus or tendu in Punjabi, Matyangre pharsi or Tinda pharsii in Nepal, Kovaikkai in Tamil. For the outside world that bump across delicacies made from it, this vegetable is known as Indian Round Gourd or Apple gourd or Indian Baby pumpkin or Round melon or squash melon. Recently cultivation has started in dry regions of East Africa.
Tinda looks very much like green apple, but has squash like taste, texture and seeds inside. Don’t confuse it with similar sounding small tendli or kundru vegetable again found in India. White flesh inside is used for cooking and combines well with Indian spices. Seeds of Tinda are edible and often cooked along with flesh. Tinda seeds can also be roasted just like water melon seeds and enjoyed as snack. Juice made from fresh raw tinda is often used as detoxifying beverage.
Read more about health benefits of watermelon seeds
Tinda is considered to be mild when it comes to digestion and can be easily digested. Further it supplies with ample supplies of essential nutrients and phytochemcials which aid in the well being of our body. In the next part of the article we shall discuss about nutritional profile of Tinda, its benefits to body and various ways of cooking and enjoying this awesome vegetable.
Nutritional Facts – Tinda
Just like cucumber, this vegetable fruit is full of water. It contains about water for 95% of its weight. A serving of 100 gram of Tinda would offer only 65 calories, which is same as a loaf of bread! But it is more filling in nature with the dose of carbohydrates, fibers, proteins and other vitamins and minerals. Flesh of tinda contains almost no fat. It holds good supply of dietary fibers – around 1.6% of its weight or nearly one third of the non water component! It holds good amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and minerals like iron and potassium. Preliminary studies reveal that phytochemical in Tinda include mostly alkaloids and tannins.
Just like watermelon seeds or pumpkin seeds, Tinda seeds hold a lot of fatty acids and proteins. Almost one third is fatty acids and remaining is proteins. It contains about 50% of Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) and about 25% of Omega-9 fatty acid (oleic acid). Protein portion of tinda seeds is mainly Globulins (nearly 2/3 of its protein content) and remaining is equal amounts of albumin and glutelin, while small portion of prolamins. These proteins are major blood proteins.
Health benefits of tinda
While largely consumed as a vegetable for its nutrient profile, it has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes. Some of its medicinal uses and health benefits are discussed here.
Tinda for Daibetes
In a study, phytochemicals in tinda peel have been found to be effective in treating drug induced diabetes in mice. The study concludes with antidiabetic and antioxidant properties of tinda. Just like cucumber, tinda is low in calories and high on fibers, thus offering low glycemic index. It serves as good food for people suffering from diabetes. Fibers in tinda help delay absorption of sugar in body and lower blood sugar level.
Read more about natural foods for diabetes
Anthelmintic potential of Tinda
Tinda has been traditionally used as herbal alternative to eliminate parasitic worms from body. Fresh Tinda juice can be helpful in fulfilling this purpose. In a lab study, it was found that tinda extract paralyzed worms and its effect was very similar to common drug Albendazole. Tinda helps expel tapeworm, roundworm and other parasites from intestine.
Antioxidant property of tinda
Lab study show that extract of tinda has significant antioxidant activity. It is effective in getting rid of free radical which can oxidize body cells. Further studies are required in this area. However antioxidant foods have good potential in treating various disorders common these days.
Antimicrobial activity of Tinda
A lab study found that extract of tinda seeds was very effective against Candida albicans. This can be attributed to presence of tannins and other phytochemicals in the tinda. Similar study has reported broad antibacterial activity of tinda against various disease causing bacteria. More studies can unravel its benefits in fighting various pathogens.
Tinda good for stomach
Tinday is considered mild and soothing for gastrointestinal tract. In many parts of Pakistan, tinda is used for gastric problems, piles and constipation. With ample amount of water and fibers, it helps in digestion. Fibers help in smooth movement of bowels. Fibers also help in blocking absorption of toxic materials in intestine. It is believe to relieve stomach acidity. It provides relief over acid reflux by balancing pH in stomach. Tribes in West India still today apply paste made with tinda and adulsa in case of stomach ache.
Tinda for weight loss
Over 95% of Tinda’s weight is water. Of the remaining fleshy matter over one third is fibers. Sounds cool, isn’t it? Especially if you are on weight loss diet. Tinda is nutritious and filling in nature without adding much calories. This makes tinda good food for weight loss. So make sure you include this food in your weight loss diet. In India, tinda is recommended for women for losing weight after pregnancy.
Want alternative method of weight loss? Read Ayurveda and weight loss.
Tinda is good for heart
Tinda offers antioxidant properties and protects heart from oxidative stress on heart. With low fat and high fiber, it is effective in controlling blood pressure and other heart disorders. Tinda also offers ample fibers which blocks absorption of cholesterol in intestine which is often culprit for many heart disorders. As folk medicines, women in Chakwal district of Pakistan use cooked leaves of tinda for regulating blood pressure.
Tinda gourd for cancer
Not much evidence is found in scientific journals, but tinda is believed to be good for prevention of prostate cancer. With high antioxidant property, tinda ought to protect body from free radicals which often cause cancer.
Tinda squash for smooth skin and shiny hair
Omega 6 fatty acid present in tinda seeds prevent aging of skin and keeps skin smooth and hair shiny. Consumption of tinda and tinda seeds provides your skin and hair necessary healthy nutrients. Just like cucumber, it can be revitalizing and rejuvenating to skin. Tinda pulp and juice can help improve complexion of your skin. It also offers cooling and healing effect to yur skin and can be used over skin burns. Try out some uses of tinda seeds for your skin:
Homemade tinda seed scrub: Blend tinda along with its seeds. To this mix some gram powder. Apply this paste to your dry skin and leave it for 15 minutes. Scrub and remove the paste to cleanse your skin pores from dirt.
Tinda Body Scrub: Blend a cup of tinda along with its seeds. Add some sugar and lemon juice. You may refrigerate this and apply to body before shower.
Tinda seed paste for Skin: Make paste of tinda seeds along with lemon juice and crystals of alum. Apply this to your skin and leave for 10 minutes. Wash with cold water for lively skin.
Read more about benefits of cucumber for your skin
Detoxification with Tinda
This water rich vegetable is believed to have diuretic properties. It promotes urine production and helps in excretion of water from body. With good amount of fibers, it helps in removing toxins from body.
Source of omega-6 fatty acids
Omega 6 fatty acid in tinda seed is good for brain and body repair system. Tinda seed helps growth of brain cells and prostaglandins which are required for healthy body and prevent aging.
Proteins in Tinda seeds
Globulin is protein present in tinda seeds as well as our blood. It helps in boosting our body immunity and supports function such as clotting and nutrients transportation. It plays essential in circulatory system and its function. Consumption of tinda seeds would help in regulating balance of this protein in blood serum.
Tinda is simple and verstatile vegetable to make. It contains ample amount of water and can be cooked in various ways. It blends well with spices and other ingredients. Fibers in tinda makes it good for making pickles or candies. Freshly cut or grated tinda is often used in rayata or salads dressed with yogurt. Roasted seeds of tinda are used similar to pumpkin seeds.
- Try this popular Punjabi Tinda Recipe – Tinda Masala.
- Looking for Stuffed tinda recipe? Try this recipe of tinda stuffed with Moon dal. Thanks Deepali for making this simple tinda squash look and taste awesome.
- This is twist to Bharwa tinda recipe or stuffed tinda recipe. Try Dhaas Meyah in a Sindhi way or Bharaye Tinda in Pakistani way.
So next time you happen to stumble upon this vegetable, don’t mind experimenting with its taste and health benefits.