Bitter Gourd or bitter melon goes by the name Karela in the Indian subcontinent. Growing off a vine, bitter melon is known both for its characteristic oblong shape, texture and not to forget, its bitter taste. Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd mostly include its ability to aid the process of detoxification, boost in immunity and complete digestion.
On one hand, it is significantly low in sodium and cholesterol while bitter melon is rich in Riboflavin, Phosphorus,Vitamin A , Vitamin B6, Vitamin C,Phosphorus, as well as Panthothenic acid, which enables its consumers to enjoy health benefits of bitter gourd.
Other names of Bitter melon-
- Momordica charantia (Botanical name)
- Bitter Squash,
- Bitter Melon,
- Balsamic Pear,
- Patrick Pear,
- Pavakkai (Tamil) ,
- Goya (Okinawan),
- Karela (Sanskrit),
Calories (energy) in Bitter Gourd : 25 K.cal / 100 gm
Major Nutrients Present in Bitter Gourd :
Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd :
The Positive Facet of Consuming Bitter Gourd are as follows:
- Alongside other Phyto-nutrients, the pods of bitter gourd are rich in polypeptide-P. Being a plant insulin, it reduces the sugar levels in the blood and is an essential component of charantin that is a hypoglycemic agent whose action increases the glycogen uptake from the adipose and hepatic tissue. By increasing glycogen uptake and effectively investing in the metabolism, both charantin and polypeptide-P balance the glucose levels in the blood stream proving to be an impressive cure to type 2 diabetes.
- Bitter gourd being low in cholesterol and calories can aid weight loss.
- Contains phytonutrients like polypeptide-P, a plant insulin, known to reduce blood sugar level.
- Newborn pods of bitter gourd are rich in folates. Flats when consumed during the early phase of pregnancy, reduces the occurrence of neural tube defects in the fetus.
- Did you know that bitter gourd is a goldmine of Vitamin C. Due to its anti oxidation properties; vitamin C plays a significant role in flushing out all the toxic free radicals from the system.
- Flavonoids like zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein are present in abundance in pods of bitter gourd. With the presence of the above chemicals, bitter gourd helps you to fight aging, senescence, cancer and a large number of other diseases.
- Stimulates easy digestion and peristalsis thus helping in relieving in indigestion and constipation problems.
- Research projects in its early stages suggest that certain Phyto-nutrients present in bitter melon are highly effective in treating HIV infections.
- Bitter gourd has the ability to undergo peristalsis enabling the human body to digest the food. It also helps the body to clear out remnants of previously undigested food and semi-digested food stuck in the nook and cranny of the fold of the intestines, thus cleaning the system. Aiding the detoxification process, it purifies the blood and as our grandmothers suggested, it renders a glow to the skin.
- With its high mineral content, that participate in vital processes such as nerve impulse conduction, muscular movements, etc., bitter gourd balances the micronutrition related deficiency in the system.
Points of Caution:
- Due to the presence of resins, saponic glycosides and quinine can make some people intolerant towards the vegetable. Toxicity symptoms that include hypoglycemia, nausea, diarrhea can be reduced by parboiling or soaking the vegetable in salted water before cooking.
Major Nutrients Present- Nutritive Value of Indian Foods from National Institute of Nutrition.