Call it bitter gourd or karela, this bright green, super bitter vegetable is probably a favorite of many around the world. Despite being shunned for its bitter, pungent taste, bitter gourd has always managed to remain as an indispensable vegetable in Indian cuisine due to its amazing health benefits. If you remember, when you were a child, your mother or grandmother must have counted bitter gourd and tried to feed you a lot of its vegetables. Actually, he was right in many ways. We are so busy condemning its bitter taste, that we have always overlooked the benefits of bitter gourd. Not only bitter gourd but the benefits of bitter gourd juice are also many.
What is Bitter Gourd?
Did you know that bitter gourd is not actually a vegetable but a fruit? Bitter gourd, which looks green from outside, is cream color from inside and its seeds are also big. Its Chinese variety is usually long, pale green in color, and covered with wart-like bumps. The Indian variety, on the other hand, is narrower and has sharper ends with rough, jagged spikes on the rind. Bitter gourd is packed with important nutrients, from iron, magnesium and vitamins to potassium and vitamin C. It is an excellent source of fiber, with twice the strength of spinach’s calcium, broccoli’s beta-carotene and banana’s potassium.
Benefits of Bitter Gourd
The medicinal properties of bitter gourd are widely regarded as highly prized in various traditional medicinal practices. Ayurveda, Chinese and ancient medicinal practitioners in Middle Eastern countries affirm the medicinal use of bitter gourd, especially to combat stomach ailments. It also helps in lowering the level of bad cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. It strengthens the immune system, improves respiratory diseases and also has anti-aging properties. Here we are telling you about the benefits of bitter gourd.
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Bitter Gourd to Control Blood Sugar
Bitter gourd also has benefits for diabetics. It is recommended to drink a glass of bitter gourd juice every morning. Its vegetable is rich in polypeptide-P, which can prevent sudden spikes in sugar levels. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend drinking at least 2 ml of bitter gourd juice mixed with water daily to reduce sugar levels. It has also been reported according to various studies that regular consumption of this juice improves glycemic control. However, if you are one of the people suffering from low sugar level, talk to your doctor before consuming this juice.
Bitter Gourd for Weight Loss
Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. It keeps your stomach full for a longer time and hence if you are planning to lose weight then bitter gourd can make your plan easier. Bitter gourd can be seen as a natural agent to treat obesity. In addition, bitter gourd contains 80-85% water, which helps in controlling appetite. It also improves metabolism.
Bitter Gourd Benefits for Eyes
The benefits of bitter gourd help in preventing vision related problems like cataract as it contains compounds like beta-carotene and vitamin A which are healthy for your eyes and strengthens the eyesight. Being rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, regular consumption of bitter gourd juice improves eyesight. It is also beneficial for children whose eyes start getting weak at an early age as it helps in preventing further weakening of their eyes.
Bitter Gourd Benefits for Liver
Eating bitter gourd as a vegetable benefits the liver a lot. The antioxidants present in the vegetable flush out toxins and stimulate the secretion of bile acids, which are essential for various bodily functions from digestion to metabolism. Apart from this, bitter gourd juice also has benefits for the liver. Along with cleansing the intestine, it also cures many liver problems.
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Bitter Gourd to Control Cholesterol
Bitter gourd juice has anti-inflammatory properties, which also help in reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the body. It significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also maintains the blood pressure of the body as it is rich in potassium, which absorbs excessive sodium in the body. It is rich in iron and folic acid which are known to reduce the risk of stroke and keep your heart healthy.
Prevent Cancer With Bitter Gourd
The benefits of bitter gourd are also known to reduce fatal diseases like cancer. A test-tube study showed that bitter gourd extract was effective in killing cancer cells of the stomach, colon, lung, and nasopharynx. However, further research is needed to determine how consuming bitter gourd can prevent the development of cancer in humans.
Boost Immunity With Bitter Gourd
The properties of bitter gourd fight viruses and bacteria and strengthen your immunity. It prevents allergies and indigestion. The antioxidants present in it work as a powerful defense mechanism against disease. It also helps in indigestion, constipation and other stomach problems which are quite common in this season.
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Disadvantages of Bitter Gourd
There are benefits of bitter gourd, there are also disadvantages of bitter gourd. Although it is recommended to eat bitter gourd to fight against various health problems, it is also advised to take it in moderation. If taken in excess, this bitter vegetable can cause severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Pregnant women are prohibited from consuming bitter gourd in the initial months as it can cause contractions and can lead to vaginal bleeding and miscarriage. If you have recently had surgery, talk to your doctor about whether you can eat bitter gourd to help with fever. Consult your doctor if you are taking an overdose of diabetes medicine as it can interfere with the medicines and cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Bitter Gourd
Q1. For how many days should I drink bitter gourd juice?
Ans: If you are going through liver related problem then after a week you should drink bitter gourd juice daily.
Q2. How to remove bitterness of bitter gourd?
Ans: To remove the bitterness of bitter gourd, remove its seeds while making vegetable or juice.
Q3. What elements are found in bitter gourd?
Ans: Vitamin A, B and C are found in abundance in bitter gourd. Apart from this, flavonoids like carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and manganese are also found.
Q4. When should I drink bitter gourd juice?
Ans: Bitter gourd juice should be drunk empty stomach. So it would be better to drink it in the morning.
Q5. What should not be eaten after eating bitter gourd?
Ans: Milk should never be drunk after eating bitter gourd.
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If you like the benefits of bitter gourd mentioned here, then definitely share them with your friends and family members.