Health Benefits of
Eating Bitter Melons (Bitter Gourds)
Treat DiabetesBitter melons are a good source of a phytonutrient known as
polypeptide-P. This useful compound is very effective in
lowering blood sugar levels. Also, the nutritious fruit is
loaded with charantin, a hypoglycemic agent that can
significantly raise glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis.
Together these two compounds provide therapeutic values against
type II diabetes.
Fight HIVInitial laboratory tests have shown that ribosome inactivating
proteins or RIPs found abundantly in bitter gourds contain
therapeutic effects against HIV. RIPs consist of alpha-momarchorin,
beta-momarchorin and MAP-30. Research has proven that MAP-30 is
capable of slowing down infection of HIV-1 in monocytes and
T-lymphocytes and also replication of HIV-1.
Cancer AidA recent study has found that bitter melon extracts help reduce
the size of tumor in Swiss albino mice. The extracts are full of
antioxidants, which also promote high free radical scavenging
activity, which is important in preventing cancer. The merits of
bitter melons can be extended to the rich content of lenolenic
acid, an essential fatty acid, in bitter melon seed oil that
helps protect you against colon cancer. Another scientific study
done by Nagoya City University also found bitter melon leaf
extracts powerful for healing of prostate cancer.
Great for High Blood PressureApart from the many health advantages mentioned earlier,
drinking bitter gourd tea helps eliminate bad fats. A study by
the University of Botswana has shown that bitter gourd assists
your body in reducing LDL cholesterol and triglyceride, while
boosting the HDL cholesterol levels. It is an excellent food to
include in the diet of patients with hypertension.
Beneficial for Weight LossMost scientists agree that the typical insulin resistance can be
related to overweight and obesity. Research has found many
health properties of bitter gourds, including getting rid of
insulin resistance, which is good for weight loss.
Packed with NutrientsBitter melons contain a variety of phytonutrients, namely
vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. 100 g of the fruit
supplies you 140% of RDA of the potent antioxidant vitamin C.
Other nutrients found include B-complex vitamins, vitamin A,
zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese. They are good
for the wellness of your body.
Facts about Bitter Gourds
The bitter melon (scientific name Momordica charantia L.) belongs to
the cucurbit family, and is a popular ingredients in Asian cuisines. It
has a few other common names such as bitter gourd, balsam pear and karela. The culinary fruit can be found at Asian markets, in season,
and is available in preserved form at times. You may grow bitter
melon in your garden with a greenhouse, if you do not live in a
Bitter melons have a roughly oblong shape and bright green in color.
When sliced, the fruit is hollow, with only a thin layer of seeds
which become bright red when the fruit is ripe. However, bitter
gourds are mostly eaten before they are fully ripe. They are used as
a vegetable in stir-fry, made into bitter melon tea, soup and
In Asia, bitter gourds are employed for medicinal uses. It is
believed to have antimalarial properties, with capability to treat
digestive problems. In some countries, they are produced into
plant-source insulin to treat diabetes.
Bitter Melon Nutrition Facts and Calories
of 1 cup (93 g) Raw Bitter Melon (1/2-inch pieces)
Bitter Melon Recipe
Bitter Melon Juice Recipe
Make: 1 glass
- 1 bitter gourd, rinsed, seeded and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup water
- Lemon juice
- Blend the bitter gourd with the water in a blender. Strain through a
sieve. Add the lemon juice and salt according to your preferences
Bitter Melon Side Effects
People who take medications to control diabetes have to be careful
as eating bitter melon may further lower the blood sugar levels.
Those with G6PD deficiency should avoid bitter melon to avoid the
risk of favism. Pregnant women should also avoid the fruit as
abortion has been recorded in animals.
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