Lesser-Known Benefits of Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd)

Updated on November 26th, 2019
bitter melon benefits for health

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd is an oriental plant. The bitter melon benefits are known to men for centuries. It is an excellent organic way to treat cholesterol, bloating, and infections. Here we will talk about the benefits of bitter melon, its efficacy for diabetes, bitter melon recipe and its side effects.

According to a few studies, it is useful for obesity and heart health. The bitter melon extracts can treat many common diseases.

Bitter Melon: A fruit or a Vegetable?

Bitter melon is a member of the cucurbit family and is a tropical plant. It is mostly grown in Asia and Africa where it is widely categorized as the bitterest fruit with bumpy skin. The best months for its cultivation are September and October.

Bitter melon is available in multiple shapes. Its bitter taste is distinctive and is mostly a part of Oriental cuisines. The bitter melon benefits are the reason why it is widely used.

[Also Read: Benefits of Winter Melon for Health]

Surprising Health Benefits of Bitter Melon

There are many unexpected bitter melon benefits you are unaware of. Check them out:

  • Treats Diabetes and Manages Blood Sugar:

Many studies tried to prove and encourage people to choose alternative medicine and treatment to treat diseases like type II Diabetes. Drinking bitter guard juice or decoctions to treat diabetes is an age-old practice in Oriental countries(1).

Elements like polypeptide-P are similar to organic insulin. This element is present in bitter melon. Apart from this component, other components like steroidal saponins, charantin, and alkaloids are part of the phytochemical composition of bitter melon. These components help to reduce blood sugar level.

[Also Read: Foods for Diabetes]

  • Boosts Immunity

If you have low immunity or quickly get infected and suffer from common diseases, then adding bitter melon in your daily diet can be helpful for you. It is full of antioxidants, which act as a powerful defense system against viruses or infections. Bitter melon is also high in Vitamin C.

  • Heals Hemorrhoid

Hemorrhoids Symptoms

The anti-inflammatory agents of bitter melon can treat or give you relief if you are suffering from piles or a health condition known as hemorrhoids. Make a paste from the bitter melon root and apply it on arterial swelling to get relief from pain. This paste can stop bleeding as well. You can also address any other kind of skin issues and soreness with this homemade salve.

[Also Read: Natural Treatments to get rid of Hemorrhoids ]

  • Improves Vision

For a better eye-health, we need specific components, such as β-carotene, lutein, α-carotene, and zeaxanthin. Bitter melon contains all of these. These properties boost our eyesight. They can reverse the effects of age on our vision and fight free radicals. Thus preventing the risk of eye-related complications.

  • Relieves Asthma

Bitter melon can give you relief from respiratory issues like bronchitis and asthma. The anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic and anti-viral components of bitter melon aid better respiratory functions by preventing respiratory problems or infections. It eases the clogged portion of the respiratory tract as well.

  • Prevents Cancer

Free radicals are harmful to cells. It quickens aging and triggers various physical complications such as cancer. The abundance of anti-oxidants in bitter melon can fight these dangerous free-radicals and boost our body’s natural defense system to prevent frequent and severe diseases.

Bitter melon is also rich in anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor properties. According to a few studies, consumption of bitter melon can prevent breast, prostate and cervical cancer. It has organic chemotherapy agents which are useful for the cancer patients.

  • Boosts Bone Health

Bitter melon is high in vitamin K. Vitamin K naturally improves our body’s natural blood clotting ability. It also aids calcium absorption and distribution in our body and boosts the bone density. As a result, the risk of bone fracture is reduced. If you have osteoporosis, then consuming bitter melon can help you.

  • Removes Kidney Stone

A kidney stone is indeed a painful health condition. Bitter melon can naturally break the kidney stones and help flush them out. It also reduces the high acid which creates these dangerous kidney stones by bitter melon.

  • Promotes Weight Loss

health benefits weight loss
Image: ShutterStock

Every 100 gram serving of bitter melon provides 17 calories. Thus, its a great food option for weight loss due to its low calories and high dietary fiber. Apart from that, it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as well.

[Also Read: Vegetables to Help You Lose Weight]

How Effective Is Bitter Melon for Diabetes?

Effectiveness for diabetes is included Bitter melon benefits. There are a lot of researches and studies conducted to prove and test its efficacy. You can also consider it as an herbal remedy.

It has three anti-diabetic components which include vicine, natural insulin called polypeptide-p and charantin. Charantin can reduce blood sugar level, and it is already proved. All of these components are individually effective and can work together as well to combat diabetes.

Another substance known as lectin is capable of reducing glucose concentration in blood and suppresses appetite. Its activity is somewhat similar to insulin.

Best Recipes for Bitter Melon

bitter melon recipe

To get the bitter melon benefits, you can try this following recipe:

What you need:

  • Bitter melon: One pound
  • Minced garlic: One tablespoon

For Seasonings:

  • Chili pepper flakes: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil for stir-frying: Two tablespoons
  • Light soy sauce: Two tablespoons
  • Red wine vinegar: One tablespoon
  • Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil: Few drops (optional)

How you can make it:

  1. Cut the bitter melon into half (Lengthwise). Remove all the seeds with a spoon. Now cut them into thin slices.
  2. Mix the salt with the bitter melon slices and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Take a small bowl and mix the minced garlic and chili pepper flakes.
  4. Heat a pan and add oil. Add the minced garlic and chili flake mix.
  5. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Now add the bitter melon and stir for 2 minutes. Add a dash of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to this.
  7. Add sugar and stir for 2 minutes until bitter melon turns brown.
  8. You can add some sesame oil (Optional).

The hot and crispy bitter melon is ready!

Side-Effects of Bitter Melon You Must Know

Bitter Melon is safe for many people, and everyone can bet on the bitter melon benefits. But long term use of bitter melon can cause some issues. You should be aware of the following side-effects:

  • During Pregnancy: Bitter melon can be unsafe for a pregnant woman. Few bitter melon components can cause menstrual bleeding and can lead to abortion or miscarriage. So, talk to your doctor before consuming it.
  • Diabetes: Bitter melon can reduce your blood sugar level to a large extent. So monitor your blood sugar level if you are consuming bitter melon.
  • Post-Surgery: Vitamin K is a blood clotting agent, and bitter melon can lower blood sugar regulation. So bitter melon can be harmful to surgery.
  • Stomach Upset: Excessive consumption of bitter melon can cause diarrhea or a stomach upset.Bitter melon benefits are widely accepted and used since ancient time. The usefulness of bitter melon is proved. It is readily available in the local market and easy to cook at home. You can consume bitter melon juice directly if you do not want to cook it. So include bitter melon in your daily diet and live a healthy life.
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