Bitter Melon, scientifically named Momordica charantia, is a creeper plant that originated in India. It is commonly known as Karela or Bitter Gourd.
Karela has many health benefits, and its ability to manage diabetes is one of the most known. It is good for your skin, improves respiratory health, strengthens your immune system, and also helps reduce the effect of hemorrhoids,
Bitter melon has been there for more than 600 years and has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-allergenic, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasite properties. It has become popular across the world due to the health benefits it offers.
Table of Contents
Bitter Melon Benefit
Bitter squash is one of the nutritious vegetables you should add to your diet. The health benefits offered by it are quite impressive. Let us have a look at the well-researched benefits it provides:
Bitter melon has properties that act like insulin which can help bring glucose to the cells for energy, thus lowering the blood sugar.
It is considered one of the best vegetables for managing diabetes.
Many research study supports that bitter gourd can helps in reducing blood sugar. It also lowers fructosamine, another marker to control blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a test measuring sugar levels in the body .
Helps with Blood Purification
Bitter gourd is pretty effective for blood purification. Properties like antioxidants and antimicrobial help to purify the blood, which results in clear and glowing skin.
Helps with Skin Diseases
Bitter melon is known as a blood purifier. The purification of blood leads to clear skin. The gourd also helps in treating many skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.
You can also apply bitter gourd juice topically onto your skin.
Helps with Cancer
Studies suggest that bitter melon has properties that can prevent and help fight cancer.
Bitter gourd can effectively fight cancers related to stomach, lung, breast, and colon cancer.
May Help in Reducing Weight
Bitter can help in reducing weight as it is high in fiber and low on calories. Thus, it will reduce your calorie intake and decrease belly fat and overall body weight.
Power Packed with Nutrients
Bitter melon is full of nutrients. One cup of bitter gourd provides:
|Vitamin C||93% of the reference daily index (RDI). The nutrient helps bone formation, healing injuries, and prevents several diseases .|
|Vitamin A||44% of RDI helps with skin health and vision |
|Folate||17% of RDI|
|Potassium||8% of RDI|
|Zinc||5% of RDI|
|Iron||4% of RDI|
Bitter gourd also contains powerful antioxidants like gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and epicatechin that helps to protect against cell damage .
Boosts Immune System
Bitter gourd contains vitamin C, which helps you fight infections and viruses. And it helps to increase your overall immunity levels.
Bitter Melon Recipe
There are many recipes for preparing bitter melon. Here are some of the interesting recipes:
- Grind bitter gourd in a mixer grinder.
- Add lemon and basil leaves to the juice
- You can add honey to remove its bitter taste.
- Cut the Bitter gourd into small slices and keep them in water (to reduce the bitter taste).
- Take some oil into the pan.
- Add cumin, turmeric powder, and chili powder.
- Now add cut slices.
- Add salt (according to taste).
- Cover the lid for 10 mins and let it cook.
- Serve with Bread/Roti.
Bitter Gourd Rings:
- Cut the bitter gourd into round rings.
- Deep fry them in a pan until golden brown.
- Serve hot with sauce/ketchup.
Bitter Melon Side Effects
Karela is highly healthy and nutritious. It has no side effects if consumed moderately.
It may have some adverse effects if consumed in high quantities, such as diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea .
Always consult your doctor if you are taking medicine related to diabetes, as it has an impact on reducing your blood sugar level.
Also, pregnant females and people on specific medication should consult a medical practitioner before including it in their regular diet.
Bitter Melon Before Bed
Bitter melon should not be consumed before night, according to Ayurveda. However, once in a while, it is acceptable to eat it before bed.
Here are some of the reasons why it should be eaten before bedtime.
- Heavy to Digest: Bitter gourd seeds are heavy to digest when they are ripe. It becomes difficult for our body to digest in an inactive state, i.e.sleeping. During the day, you are active, and it is easy to digest these seeds.
- Indigestion and Gas: Eating bitter gourd in large quantities during the night may lead to gastro problems like gas and indigestion.
- Citrus and Bitter: Bitter melon is bitter in taste and citrus in nature which falls under acidic food items. You may feel a burning sensation and can also have an acidity problem.
How To Eat Bitter Melon?
There are many ways to eat bitter gourd. You can eat it by cooking it traditionally, or you can make a juice and drink it.
How Much Bitter Melon to Drink Daily?
You can drink fresh bitter melon juice up to 1000 ml a day.
Do not continue drinking the juice for longer, as it drastically can reduce your blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor if you want to continue for a longer duration.
How To Grow Bitter Melon?
Bitter melon is easy to grow and can be produced at home.
Plant bitter gourds seeds in a pot. It requires a scorching and humid climate to grow and therefore requires 6-8 hours of sunlight.
The seeds take approx. 8-10 days to germinate and 2 months to become a huge plant.
What Is Bitter Melon Good for?
Bitter melon contains nutrients and can help lower blood sugar, prevent cancer, and reduce stress levels.
It is a natural medicine in Ayurveda to control diabetes that has been prevailing for many years.
Bitter gourd is also rich in antioxidants that can help prevent damage caused by free radicals. And it also helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases and diabetes .
How to Make Bitter Melon Tea?
The bitter melon tea recipe is simple and easy.
You need water, dried karela, and honey (for sweetener)
Take water in a pan and bring it to a boil.
Add dried karela pieces into it, and let it boil for another 10 mins.
Strain the tea and add honey to bring a bitter-sweet taste.
Bitter melon is a plant-based vegetable power-packed with nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. It provides many health benefits. But the most commonly known for controlling blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer, and treating diabetes.
As the name suggests, it has a bitter taste. It is highly nutritious and safe to consume. There are many ways in which bitter gourd can be consumed. It can be eaten by making traditional vegetables or making juice.
However, it should not be continued for an extended period without consulting a medical practitioner, as it can lower your blood sugar.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Fuangchan, A., Sonthisombat, P., Seubnukarn, T., Chanouan, R., Chotchaisuwat, P., Sirigulsatien, V., Ingkaninan, K., Plianbangchang, P., & Haines, S. T. (2011, March). Hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon compared with metformin in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 134(2), 422–428. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2010.12.045
- Alam, M. A., Uddin, R., Subhan, N., Rahman, M. M., Jain, P., & Reza, H. M. (2015). Beneficial role of bitter melon supplementation in obesity and related complications in metabolic syndrome. Journal of lipids, 2015, 496169. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/496169
- Indian Council of Medical Research Task Force (2012). Assessment of effects on health due to consumption of bitter bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) juice. The Indian journal of medical research, 135(1), 49–55. https://doi.org/10.4103/0971-5916.93424
- Wei, L., Shaoyun, W., Shutao, L., Jianwu, Z., Lijing, K., & Pingfan, R. (2013). Increase in the free radical scavenging capability of bitter gourd by a heat-drying process. Food & function, 4(12), 1850–1855. https://doi.org/10.1039/c3fo60169b
- Chambial, S., Dwivedi, S., Shukla, K. K., John, P. J., & Sharma, P. (2013). Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview. Indian journal of clinical biochemistry : IJCB, 28(4), 314–328. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12291-013-0375-3
- Gilbert C. (2013). What is vitamin A and why do we need it?. Community eye health, 26(84), 65.