Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is a superfood with a unique flavor that offers an array of health benefits. It is a versatile vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways, from stir-fries to curries, and is available in many parts of the world. Bitter gourd is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet. It contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron, as well as important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients help to boost the immune system, protect against free radical damage, and support overall health. Bitter gourd also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, digestive issues, and arthritis. In addition, it helps to reduce cholesterol levels, improve blood circulation, and improve overall heart health.
Bitter Melon Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart
It is a very nutrient-dense vegetable. It is low in calories, but high in essential vitamins and minerals. This vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and dietary fiber. It also contains small amounts of iron, calcium, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin A. Bitter gourd is also rich in antioxidants and contains several plant compounds, such as cucurbitacin, cucurbitin, and charantin, which may offer health benefits. Whether you are looking to incorporate more nutritious vegetables into your diet, or you are searching for a natural remedy for a health condition, bitter gourd is worth a try. It is a delicious and nutritious superfood that can offer a wide range of health benefits. Nutritional value per 100 g bitter gourd:
- Biotin: 0 mcg
- Calcium: 10 mg
- Carbohydrates (Carbs): 4.3 g
- Chloride: 72 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Choline: 7.4 mg
- Chromium: 0.9 mcg
- Copper: 0.2 mg
- Dietary Fiber: 2 g
- Energy (Calories): 17 kcal
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Iodine: 2.4 mcg
- Iron: 0.8 mg
- Magnesium: 18 mg
- Manganese: 0.2 mg
- Molybdenum: 3.2 mcg
- Pantothenic Acid: 0.4 mg
- Phosphorus: 28 mg
- Potassium: 177 mg
- Protein: 0.7 g
- Saturated fat: 0.1 g
- Selenium: 0.5 mcg
- Sodium: 10 mg
- Sugars: 1.5 g
- Vitamin A: 836 IU
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.1 mg
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.8 mg
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.4 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
- Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 28 mcg
- Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
- Vitamin C: 47 mg
- Vitamin D: 0 IU
- Vitamin E: 0.2 mg
- Vitamin K: 15 mcg
- Water: 91.4 g
- Zinc: 0.4 mg
Bitter Melon in India
Bitter melon is used as a traditional medicine wherever it is found. It has a long history of use in Asia, Africa and Latin America and has been widely acclaimed as an important remedy for diabetes mellitus since ancient times. In terms of taste, bitter gourd is an acquired one. It has a distinctively bitter flavor, but when cooked the right way, the bitterness is balanced out by its sweetness. It can be cooked with other vegetables, such as green beans and onions, to create delicious and healthy dishes. Bitter melon slices are dried and used as herbal tea. This is very popular in China and Vietnam. Bitter melon is rarely used in mainland Japan, but is a signiﬁcant component of Okinawan cuisine and is deemed as its national vegetable and honored with a special festive day – Goya honoring day.
- Scientific Binomial: Momordica charantia
- Common English: Blsam Pear / Carilla / Bitter Gourd
- Ayurvedic: Kaaravellaka / Kaaravella / Kaathilla / Sushaavi
- Unani: Karelaa
- Sanskrit: Kaarvellakah / Kathillah / Paraaru / Sushavi
- Hindi / Urdu: Karela
- Bengali: Karala
- Marathi: Ambalem / Karali
- Telugu: Kakara
- Tamil: Iraca-valli / Pagakkai / Pavakkai / Paakal / Paharkai
- Kannada: Haagalakaay / Haggala Kai
- Malayalam: Kayppa / Pavaykka
- Punjabi / Sindhi
Bitter gourd fruit is used topically for wound healing. The plant has also been used in traditional ceremonies and considered a powerful charm which is worn as a necklace, wrist or ankle bracelet or crown. Fragrant yellow blossoms can be used for flavoring. Traditionally, bitter melon has also been used as a treatment for gastrointestinal complaints, worms, constipation, headaches, skin conditions, viral infections and as an emmenagogue.
- Diabetes: Bitter melon is highly beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. It is specially helpful to diabetics who are higher weight. It contains an insulin-like principle, known as plant-insulin which has been found effective in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. It has antidiabetic properties which has capacity to regulate vitiated carbohydrate digestion, glucose metabolism and utilization, possesses insulin mimetic and secretagogue activities, and corrects the impaired antioxidant defense in diabetes.
- Cholera: The fresh juice of bitter gourd is also effective medicine in the early stages of cholera.
- Measles: In the treatment of measles, take out juice extract of few bitter gourd leaves and mix it with turmeric root powder and honey. Give this mixture to the patient suffering from measles.
- Psoriasis: A paste of seeds gives encouraging result in psoriasis and ringworm. Bitter gourd juice and one teaspoon of lime juice mixing together in the morning on empty stomach can give guaranteed results for psoriasis. Repeat the same for at least 6 months.
- Anticancer Activity: Various preliminary studies with crude bitter melon extract and its various constituents have shown anticancer activity.
- Stomach Problems: Karela acts as an anthelmintic in the intestines. It has the added vermicidal effect of flushing bacterial and parasitic infections from the intestines as it mildly purges the bowel. It also reduces inflammation in the intestines.
- Kidney Stones: Bitter gourd can be included in a formula for urinary stones as it has a direct effect on the urinary channel. It has an affinity for the blood.
- Anemia: It is a traditional remedy for anemia as it stimulates the tissue fires to work at optimum efficiency. It helps to build hemoglobin count by enhancing absorption.
- Weight Loss: Juice of bitter gourd has lipid lowering capacity which may be helpful for weight loss.
- Digestive Aid: Leaf juice is given as an emetic and purgative in biliousness.
- Piles: A paste of the root is applied externally to piles.
- Ulcers: Powder of the whole plant is used as a dusting powder or in the form of an ointment on leprous and other intractable ulcers.
Caution in patients on hypoglycaemic medication. Try avoiding during pregnancy as it has a bitter and descending effect. Avoid bitter melon seed or the outer rind due to the presence of toxic lectins and avoid use of bitter melon in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.
Q. What are different ways to use bitter gourd for diabetes?
It is good practice to be include bitter gourd liberally in the diet of the diabetic. For better results
- The diabetic should take the juice of about 4 or 5 fruits every morning on an empty stomach.
- The seeds of bitter gourd can be added to food in a powdered form.
- Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the form of decoction by boiling the pieces in water
- Dry bitter gourd pieces and ground in the dry powder. Use this powder to make herbal tea.
- Combination of turmeric, karela, fenugreek seeds, and black pepper is also helpful for regulating blood sugar levels.