Some of the benefits of including Bitter Gourd in diet are boost energy, good for eyes health, heart, liver, anti-cancer, anti-tumor, helps in diabetes management, aid digestion, weight loss and useful in treating various skin and fungal infections.
Nutritional value of Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) are also known as Calabaza (Spanish), Courge (French), Dýně (Czech), Karela (Hindi), Paakharkaai, Pavakkai (Tamil), Pavayka, Kaippakka (Malayalam), Kakara kayi (Telugu), Karelu (Gujarati), Korolla (Bengali), Karle, Karali, Kareti (Marathi), Kalara, Changkha (Oriya), Karela (Urdu & Punjabi) in many household.
It has about 17 calories per 100 gm of weight. The bitter taste of nutritious vegetable, bitter melon posses many health benefits and has many reasons to include this healthy food in diet. The whole plant including leaves, seeds and bitter gourd fruit is good for health.
It contains Proteins, Water, Dietary Fiber, Vitamins ( Vitamin A,Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid), minerals ( Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium).
Detailed view on bitter melon health benefits are below.
Health benefits of Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon
Bitter gourd is very effective on counteracting high levels of glucose in the blood. Studies has shown that bitter gourd stimulate the regeneration of beta cells in diabetes.
In other study, bitter melon could be more effective in the management of diabetes and its related complications as compared to drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) in type 2 diabetic patients. It contain alpha-glucosidase inhibitors which may have therapeutic value in diabetes type 2.
Another study confirmed bitter gourd contain compounds which has hypoglycemic mechanism, seems to act like insulin or via insulin secretion from the pancreas.Bitter gourd may act via facilitation of glucose metabolism and/or the inhibition of glucose absorption in the gut.
Bitter gourd has therapeutic advantage to insulin resistance in improving insulin sensitivity.
Bitter melon has hypoglycemic activity,that makes an excellent remedy for diabetes. The insulin-like peptides, alkaloids, and charantin combine to lower blood and urine sugar levels without increasing blood insulin levels. Intake of bitter gourd not only helps in diabetes management but also prevent diabetes related complications like nephropathy, cataract, insulin resistance.
2. Wound healing
Studies has found the tropical application of bitter gourd improves and accelerates the process of wound healing in diabetes.
Bitter melon has antimicrobial activity which is quite helpful in inhibiting the growth of bacterial infections.
Studies has found bitter melon has strong anti-viral properties, that makes an effective natural treatment against many infections.
In vivo Studies has found that bitter gourd demonstrate anti-tumor activity and also enhances the immune functions.
Bitter melon is rich in antioxidants which helps to reduces damage due to oxidative stress. This oxidative stress is main culprit behind damage and death of cells.
Studies has shown bitter gourd is capable of acting against multiple stages of the viral life cycle, on acute infection as well as replication in chronically infected cell. Bitter gourd has anti-tumor, anti-viral properties and contain anti-HIV agents which makes it therapeutic treatment of HIV infection.
8. Blood Purifer
Bitter melon (M. charantia) may have a therapeutic role in removing excess of toxins like ammonia from the blood. Studies has found that bitter gourd has excellent antioxidant potentials and helps in maintaining the cellular integrity of the liver tissue , that could offer protection against AC-induced hyperammonemia.
9. Weight loss
Studies has found bitter melon has a preventive effect on abdominal and liver fat. Another study states that including bitter gourd in the diet helps to prevent and reduces visceral obesity. This visceral fat has dangerous impact on hormones function and increase the risk of various health disease like diabetes. Studies state that bitter melon significantly reduces insulin resistance and suppresses visceral fat accumulation.
Drinking fresh bitter melon juice helps the development and prevent accumulation of fat .
Studies has found bitter gourd has anti-ulcer properties. The intake of bitter gourd increases healing of gastric ulcer and also prevents development of gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers.
Studies has found eleostearic acid, a fatty acid found within bitter melon seed oil, inhibits cancer cell proliferation and induce programmed cell death. Bitter gourd juice inhibit the growth of breast cancer by blocking breast cancer cell proliferation and killing those cancer cells. The bitter melon can be an effective preventive or therapeutic agent for colon cancer.
Another study states that bitter-melon induces cancer cell cycle arrest and apoptosis without affecting normal cell growth.