Bitter gourd also known as karela has a bad reputation for being extremely bitter with a very unpleasant taste, but did you know that many people consider it valuable for folk medicine and health benefits?
Research has shown that bitter melon contains phytonutrients like polypeptide P that will mimic the action of insulin and helps to lower the blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes. Bitter melon contains another compound known as vicine which is a glycol alkaloid that has a hypoglycemic effect. Recent studies have shown that there are other phytochemicals that help bitter melon with powerful anti-diabetic activity.
Bitter melon is very low in caloric content. A serving only has 17 calories. Bitter melon has been found to stimulate the liver which secretes bile acids that are important for metabolism of fat in the body. A recent study has shown that bitter melon has been effective in controlling weight gain and controls the accumulation of body fat without altering energy intake in rats. More studies are needed to confirm these promising results.
Studies are being done to link bitter melon and better eye health. Promising results have been found that bitter melon may help with cataracts and age related macular degeneration. Bitter melon contains a lot of beta – carotene and vitamin A. Both nutrients are important for eye health. Bitter gourd also contains vitamin C and other antioxidants which are known to reduce damage to eyes caused by oxidative stress.
Loaded with vitamin C, the bitter gourd has been found to help aid your immune system. Vitamin C has antiviral properties which are capable of stimulating the immune system and can stimulate the anti-inflammatory response in the intestinal system.
Adding bitter gourd to your diet will add more fiber to your digestion. Bitter melon contains cellulose which helps to improve digestion and is also helpful in the prevention of dyspepsia and constipation. Research has shown that bitter melon can be used to kill infectious worms in the stomach.
Health Benefits of Bitter Melon
Great for diabetics
Bitter melon may aid in weight control
Bitter melon has been shown to aid in eye health
Bitter melon has vitamin C and aids the immune system
Bitter melon contains a lot of fiber