Bitter gourd is counted among the most beneficial vegetables for health. However, due to the bitter taste, not everyone likes to eat it but some people consume it in many forms due to its health properties. Bitter gourd has the status of medical medicine in Ayurveda which has the power to reduce the effects and symptoms of many diseases.
Bitter gourd contains calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, copper, vitamins A, B, C and minerals. Therefore, its intake works to protect the body from diseases like fever and contagious disease. It also contains a good amount of phosphorus which supplies enough phosphorus for teeth, bone, brain, blood and other body parts. Its effect is warm.
What is Bitter Gourd?
Bitter gourd is a green vegetable. Many people know it by the name of Bitter Melon. At the same time, its scientific name is Momordica Charantia. Apart from this, it is also known by different names in many places. It is called Hagalakayi in Kannada, Corolla in Bengali and Karela in Hindi. The bitter gourd plant is a type of vine which gives flowers and fruits especially during the cold season. Bitter gourd is a very popular vegetable in India and the Middle Eastern countries, as well as in countries such as the Caribbean and Africa.
Benefits of Bitter gourd
To lose weight-
According to scientific research, bitter gourd has an antiobesity effect which helps prevent weight gain. Therefore, consumption of bitter gourd and its juice proves effective in weight loss.
Consuming bitter gourd is beneficial for the eyes. This has also been confirmed in the research of Mudigere College of Horticulture, Karnataka. According to research, bitter gourd contains an element called beta carotene which helps to increase illumination, reducing the risks of diseases related to the eyes.
Bitter gourd helps in balancing the cholesterol level. According to a research, bitter gourd extract is found to have cholesterol and triglyceride (a type of fat present in the blood) reducing effect. On this basis, it is good to use bitter gourd extracts with foods during hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol status).
Bitter gourd has anti-inflammatory properties which work to reduce the risks of inflammation. Therefore, it is a good idea to use bitter gourd to avoid inflammatory problems.
According to the report published on the site of NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), bitter gourd has antidiabetic properties which has the ability to reduce diabetes. Apart from this, research also shows that bitter gourd also exhibits hypoglycemic (reducing blood sugar) effect in the body. Therefore, it is good to eat bitter gourd to prevent diabetes.
The medicinal properties of bitter gourd may prove to be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer because a research related to bitter gourd suggests that bitter gourd has cancer-reducing properties. At the same time, according to Ayurveda, bitter gourd can also be used in the treatment of cancer because bitter gourd works by reducing the risks of cancer by inhibiting the formation of cancer cells. Thus, bitter gourd can prove to be helpful in preventing stomach and prostate cancer.
Bitter gourd has a hepatoprotective (liver protecting properties) effect which benefits in fatty liver disease. Fatty liver is a problem in which fat accumulates in the liver but according to a research by National Taiwan University, bitter gourd extract has a positive effect on alcoholic fatty liver, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. This helps prevent the accumulation of fat on the liver. Hence, bitter gourd proves beneficial for the liver.
For constipation and piles-
Bitter gourd helps to relieve constipation and troubles of piles because bitter gourd digests food and extracts of its leaves have properties to relieve constipation which help simplify bowel movement. Since, constipation is also a cause of hemorrhoids. Therefore, the consumption of bitter gourd and its juice proves beneficial in constipation as well as hemorrhoids.
The use of bitter gourd is a good home remedy to remove skin problems. In fact, a lot of nutrients are found in bitter gourds which work to nourish the skin. Hence, the consumption of bitter gourd has a positive effect in the treatment of skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. At the same time, its juice helps in getting rid of skin infection. Apart from this, antioxidants present in bitter gourds also protect skin cells from free radicals.
Uses of Bitter gourd
- The bitter gourd is cooked to make a curry and eaten.
- Bitter gourd juice is also consumed extensively especially by diabetic patients.
- Some people also consume bitter gourd pickles.
- Bitter gourd juice is applied on the hair and skin.
Side effects of Bitter gourd
- Excessive consumption of bitter gourd can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches. Therefore, it should not be consumed in excess.
- People taking diabetes medicine should take bitter gourd as per doctor's advice because in this case bitter gourd can reduce the amount of blood sugar.
- Breastfeeding women should also avoid the consumption of bitter gourd because some toxic substances present in bitter gourd can pass from mother to baby.
- Excessive consumption of bitter gourd should be avoided during pregnancy because it is believed that bitter gourd contains some ingredients which can cause miscarriage. Therefore, in pregnancy, bitter gourd should be consumed only in small quantities.