The scientific name for bitter melon is Momordica charantia. It is from Cucurbitaceae family which is originated on the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced into China in the 14th century. They are widely grown in Asia and Africa.
Bitter melons are dark or light green in colour that depends on the region where they grow. As the name implies the vegetable is bitter in taste. Though they taste very bitter, they are filled with many beneficial antioxidants and essential vitamins. Here are some of the most important health benefits of bitter gourd listed together.
Helps kill the worms in your stomach
If you or someone in your family is suffering from stomach ache, then eating bitter gourd can help. It contains antihelminthic compounds that can kill the worms in your stomach. It also has some amount of dietary fibre that helps clear the food stuck in your colon.
Improves your immunity
Bitter gourd is an extremely rich source of Vitamin C which helps boost your immunity. A strong immune system leads to a healthy body that can fight most diseases and infections on its own.
Great for diabetics
Diabetes is a common disease affecting a lot of people in India. If you or anyone in your family has it, you’ll realise how difficult it can be to manage. Bitter gourd has certain phytonutrients like polypeptide P that can lower blood sugar levels in people making it good for diabetics. However, this property comes with a caveat as over consumption of bitter gourd can lead to hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. Read more about why bitter gourd or karela is good for diabetics.
Here’s some sweet information you need to know about this bitter vegetable:
Some studies have shown that bitter melon lowers blood sugar through increased metabolism of glucose. Drink one cup daily. Try this recipe to receive the full benefit of the fruit. As with any changes to your diet, be sure you consult you physician. Stop use if you’re experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea, or fever. Monitor blood sugar regularly and adjust medications as necessary, with the assistance of your doctor.
A kidney stone is an extremely painful medical condition. Bitter melon can be helpful in ridding the body of kidney stones through naturally breaking them down. Bitter melon reduces high acid that help produce painful kidney stones. Infuse bitter melon powder with water to create a healthful tea. This tea has a nutty flavor and, surprisingly, does not require sweetening.
Help lower dangerous cholesterol levels with bitter melon. Reducing cholesterol significantly reduces heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. The added benefit is that bitter melon is completely natural in working with the body to prevent these health risks. High cholesterol can only be diagnosed with a blood test. Try Bitter Melon Delight to reap the reward of this surprising health benefit.
One of the most surprising health benefits of bitter melon is its anti-cancer properties. Bitter melon has been shown to disrupt the production of glucose, potentially inhibiting the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Try these bitter melon juice recipes for a touch of variety and to reap the full health reward of this unusual melon. Bitter melon may also starve other cancerous cells in the liver, colon, breast, or prostate.
Blood Sugar and Diabetes
According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, bitter melon increases uptake of blood glucose by your liver, fatty tissues and muscles, stimulating these tissues to convert glucose into glycogen, its storage form. These changes tend to lower levels of blood glucose. This helps lessen the demand on your pancreas for insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar, and may improve your glucose tolerance. Overall, compounds in bitter gourd improve glucose management and might lower your risk of developing diabetes or help regulate your blood glucose if you already have the disorder.
Foods or drink taken from this melon benefit the skin. Taken regularly, bitter melon is said to have a “glowing” effect on the skin and is helpful in treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Experience natural and soothing relief with bitter melon. Try bitter melon soup for relief of any of these skin conditions or for more beautiful skin. An added benefit is that bitter melon is a blood-purifying agent.
As is common with most plants, bitter melon is extremely low in calories and very filling. Lose, or maintain a healthy weight, with bitter melon. Prepare stuffed bitter melon to enjoy this benefit.The same properties that aid against Type II Diabetes also assist in health weigh loss and maintenance. The melon is very high in nutrients, which is another reason it’s so beneficial in weight loss.
There are several benefits of regularly consuming a liver tonic. A tonic aids in digestion, improves gallbladder function, and lowers fluid retention. Cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, and constipation may be relieved with a bitter melon liver tonic. Drink a bitter melon juice at least once a day to enjoy the benefits. A liver tonic is also aids in weight loss, and may relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel system.
This is a very important benefit for those who have Type II Diabetes. Carbohydrates turn to sugar, and bitter melon metabolizes the sugars. Faster metabolism of carbohydrates means that less fat is stored in the body which leads to weight loss, and healthy weight maintenance. Proper carbohydrate digestion also aids in muscle growth and development. A Bitter Melon Stir-Fry is just the ticket for the many benefits of bitter melon.
Vitamin-K contributes to bone health, blood-clotting, and is an anti-inflammatory. Those suffering from arthritis can experience lower pain and inflammation in the joints through increasing Vitamin-K. No-Fry Karela Crispies are a delicious way to add Vitamin-K to your diet. The addition of bitter melon satisfies your body’s daily nutritional need for Vitamin-K. Also, the addition of bitter melon is a great source for dietary fiber.
A healthy immune system is vital for fending off potential infections and diseases. Add this delicious and easily prepared Bitter Melon Stir-Fry for this added health benefit. Stop or prevent a cold instantly in its tracks while benefiting the digestive system. Prevent or curb food allergies, and get rid of yeast infections, naturally. An added bonus of bitter melon is relief of acid reflux and indigestion.
Bitter Melon Facts
Bitter melon is generally low in calories, with only 21 calories per fruit, mostly in the form of carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. An average-sized melon is also rich in several vitamins, providing about 100 milligrams of vitamin C, almost 600 international units of vitamin A, about 90 micrograms of folate and small amounts of several other B vitamins. Bitter melon also provides important minerals, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, with 24, 21 and 38 milligrams per fruit, respectively. It is also quite rich in potassium, a mineral important for healthy kidneys, with more than 350 milligrams in each melon, and provides 3.5 grams of healthy dietary fiber per fruit.
Bitter melon contains a number of natural plant compounds, or phytochemicals, that have possible health benefits. They include beta-carotene, lycopene and zeaxanthin, three carotenoids with antioxidant properties, as well as other active compounds called momordin, vicine and charatin, and several other natural constituents. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that a number of these compounds may have potentially important effects on your body, affecting how it stores energy and regulates many different biochemical reactions. These actions may help lower your risk of several health problems, including diabetes and cancer.
Fresh bitter melon is available from specialty food stores, and bitter melon extracts can be found in health-food stores as tablets or capsules. Although bitter melon is generally considered safe, its seeds may be toxic and should be avoided. The melon or its extract should not be consumed during pregnancy since it may cause uterine contractions. Bitter melon may also interact with some drugs, especially diabetes medicines. Do not consume bitter melon without first consulting your doctor to determine what is best for you.
Dried bitter gourd and bitter gourd extract are available at most health food stores. You can brew bitter gourd tea by infusing dried leaves and fruit in boiling water for five to 10 minutes or by adding bitter gourd extract to preheated water. Although generally considered safe, do not consume bitter gourd if you are pregnant, since it can induce contractions. It may also interact with some medications, especially insulin or other diabetes medicines. If you are diabetic, do not self-treat with bitter gourd tea; talk to your doctor to determine if it might help you.
Prevents vision related disorders
Vision related disorders like cataracts and age related macular degeneration affects a lot of people when they age. If you want your vision to be as clear as it is now, then eat bitter gourds as it is rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A, nutrients that are great for your eyes. Additionally, Vitamin C and antioxidants present in bitter gourd can reduce the damage to your eyes caused due to oxidative stress. Read about more natural remedies for better eyesight.
Keeps you looking beautiful
Bitter gourd has an abundant supply of fibre, vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals which help flush out the toxins and also prevent damage caused due to free radicals in your body.
Bitter gourd is a good source of several vitamins and is a good low calorie diet.
Excellent Source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A and is beneficial for Type-2 Diabetics.
Used for various stomach and intestinal disorders including gastrointestinal (GI) upset, ulcers, colitis, constipation, and intestinal worms.
It has been proven that it will boost the immune system.
Many who have used bitter melon extract or eaten it regularly believes that it gives relief from asthma.
It helps in controlling the blood flow, helps in healing wounds faster and also prevents any infections.
It works great on constipation without having to cause diarrhea.
Helps with digestion of food by producing digestive enzymes.
Because of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties this can aid in acne issues.
Bitter melon can lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and take medications to lower your blood sugar, adding bitter melon might make your blood sugar drop too low
- There is a concern that bitter melon might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using bitter melon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Too much bitter melon or bitter melon supplement can cause stomach pain and diarrhea.
- When pregnant, it is important not to eat bitter melon or its supplements, it can cause an unwanted abortion. Chances are low but risk of something that can be avoided.
- Bittergourd is low in calories, & so great for weight-loss.
- Research shows that bittergourd extract can help prevent breast cancers.
- In Ayurveda, bittergourd juice is useful for diabetic and liver organ issues. It stimulates liver for secretion of bile juices that are very essential for metabolism of fats. Bittergourd contains a chemical called charantin which lower the urine and blood glucose levels, and hence the best home remedy for diabetes.
- It is an antidote for alcohol intoxication, and helps purify, restore and nourish liver.
- Its juice is also beneficial in the treatment of a bad hangover.
- Helps to treat skin diseases or skin infections, eczema and psoriasis. It also helps in keeping the skin free from blemishes and keeps the skin glowing.
- Bittergourd has blood purifying properties. As a result, the juice is used in the treatment of blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to blood poisoning.
- Bitter-gourd juice is good for digestive problems.
- Boosts resistance & prevents constipation as it is good source of fiber.
- It also helps in stimulating the secretion of gastric juices.
- For piles: Fresh juice of bittergourd is good for patients suffering from piles.
- For eyes: It has good amount of beta carotene that helps relieve eye problems and improve the vision.
- Many health benefits of bitter gourd: It has numerous vital nutritional supplements including vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorous, Copper and Potassium.
- Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd
- Bitter gourd has been associated with lowering sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes.
- Bitter gourd is said to be helpful in fighting against cancer and a number of infections.
- Bitter gourd has been known to provide relief from constipation and is also effective in the treatment of psoriasis.
- Bitter gourd helps in improving circulation and in turn, generates slimming effects on the body.
- Regular consumption of bitter gourd has been associated with prevention as well as treatment of hypertension.
- Bitter gourd is believed to be helpful in preventing eye complications, apart from treating neuritis.It improves eye-sight due to it high beta-carotene content
- The juice of the leaf of bitter gourd plant has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism.
- The essential vitamins and minerals present in bitter gourd help in treating defective metabolism of carbohydrates.
- The bitter tonic properties of bitter gourd have made it effective as a blood purifier.
- Fresh juice of bitter gourd is good for patients suffering from piles.
- It removes stomach worms and highly recommended for kids.
- It is good for asthma patients as it heals respiratory disorders.
- Bitter gourd is rich in iron, beta-carotene, and potassium. It can relieve constipation and improve circulation, thereby producing slimming effects on the body.
- Bitter gourd contains essential vitamins and minerals; its regular use helps to prevent many complications such as hypertension, eye complications, neuritis and defective metabolism of carbohydrates.
- Leaf juice of bitter gourd is beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism.
- It is also used as a blood purifier due to its bitter tonic properties.
- It is extremely effective in the treatment of diabetes and psoriasis.
- In case of piles, the fresh juice of bitter gourd is prescribed to the patient for positive results. (Three teaspoons of juice of the bitter Gourd leaves extracted each morning, added to a glassful of buttermilk and consumed on an empty stomach cures piles in around thirty days. Even externally, the paste of the leaves of the piles can be applied over the hemorrhoids.)
Serving Size: (100 grams) % Daily Value
- Total Fat 0g 0%
- Saturated Fat 0g 0%
- Cholesterol mg 0%
- Sodium 5mg 0%
- Total Carboydrates 4 g 1%
- Dietary Fiber 3g
- Sugars 0g
- Protein 1g 2%
- Vitamin A 9%
- Vitamin C 140%
- Iron 2%
- Calcium 1%
- Folate 72 mcg 18%
- Food Folate 72 5.6 mcg
- Folic Acid 0 mcg
- Dietary Folate Equivalents 72 mcg
- Pantothenic Acid 0.212 mcg 2%
- Minerals %DV
- Calcium 19 mg 1%
- Iron 0.43 mg 2%
- Magnesium 17 mg 4%
- Phosphorus 31 mg 3%
- Potassium 296 mg 12%
- Sodium 5 mg 0%
- Zinc 0.8 mg 5%
- Copper 0.034 mg 1%
- Manganese 0.089 mg 4%
- Selenium 0.2 mcg 0%
People who are hypoglycemic or women who are pregnant should not drink concentrated bitter gourd juice or eat excessive amounts of bitter gourd. There has been some indication that the juice of the karela may induce abortion of fetuses in pregnant women. Children should not use bitter gourd because serious adverse effects have occurred, including hypoglycemic coma.