Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, has been used in Asian, specially Indian cooking since a long time. This vegetable belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is known by different names. The plant of bitter melon is a climber having dark green leaves and yellow or green fruits. Specially, the seeds and fruits have great nutritional value. It contains nearly all the essential nutrients required by human beings. It contains iron, calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B3 and also vitamin C. Another bright fact is that it contains 0% fat and cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd
- It is effective in treating skin diseases or skin infections, eczema, and even skin sores.
- It has anti-viral properties and can be used for treating herpes virus.
- Bitter melon extract can also be used for treating psoriasis.
- It is also used as a purgative and anthelmintic if a person is suffering from jaundice, piles or indigestion. It is widely used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is most effective for its detoxifying and cleansing properties.
- It helps in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and also body temperature.
- It is believed that bitter melon extract can be used for treating HIV, although the theory is not proven yet. But, it is found that the melon works against the negative reactions of HIV medications.
- It is even believed that the extract can be used against cancer, as it helps in improving cell function of people suffering from cancer.
One of the most important bitter melon health benefits is its effectiveness in the diabetic diet. It has been known as an excellent and natural product for diabetes. People suffering from diabetes do not have an ability to convert the sugar in their blood into energy. It helps in enabling the uptake of glucose, and hence, indirectly helps in reducing the level of glucose from the blood. It also helps in improving insulin production and glucose tolerance of the body, and hence, it can be included in a diabetic diet.
Intake of Bitter Gourd
This melon cannot be consumed in its raw form as it is extremely bitter in taste. Many people prefer to consume extract in capsule or tincture form. One can even have juice or soups made of bitter melon every day. You can even look for bitter melon tea which may be available with the leading herbal tea brands. You can even make your own tea by boiling leaves of bitter melon into water and drinking this liquid as tea.
Although there are several health benefits, it is not recommended to take it in excess amounts as it can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea. Excess intake of bitter melon seeds can also result in headache and fever. Pregnant women or a wishful mother-to-be are also advised against having it. Any supplement or medication containing bitter melon should be taken only after a doctor's consultation
As the numerous health benefits have been known since ages, bitter melon is widely used in many countries. Although bitter in taste, it is a boon for mankind!