The health benefits of karela (Bitter-Gourd) are greater than those of many vegetables. Karela’s bitter taste is generally attributed to the quinine it contains. Cooked bitter gourd stimulates the appetite, cleanses the liver, purifies the blood, and provides many other benefits. Perhaps Bitter Gourd is the secret of the Okinawa Islander longevity! Although, the bitterness of this gourd might turn some people away from it, in-fact, it can really sweeten your health because of its disease preventing and health promoting phyto chemical compounds.

Main Name: Bitter Gourd, Bitter Melon
Biological Name: Momordica charantia
Hindi Name: Karela
Names in other Indian languages: Paakharkaai, Pavakkai (Tamil), Pavayka, Kaippakka (Malayalam), Kakara kayi (Telugu), Karelu (Gujarati), Korolla (Bengali), Karle, Karali, Kareti (Marathi), Kalara, Changkha (Oriya), Karela (Urdu & Punjabi) and Titaa Kerelaa(Assamese).

In English, this vegetable is called as Bitter Gourd, Bitter Melon and Bitter Squash. They are dark or light green in color depending on the region where they are grown. Moreover, it has various types of shape and size. Though its taste very bitter, it is riches with many beneficial antioxidants and essential vitamins.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd

We can consume this miraculous vegetable in various ways like drinking its juice, pickle or using them in recipes. Here are some of the most popular health benefits of Bitter Gourd:

Acne: Consuming Bitter Gourd can help to get rid of acne, blemishes and deep skin infections.  Bitter Gourd is useful in treating blood disorders like boils, scabies, itching, psoriasis, ringworm and other fungal diseases. The anti-oxidants in it are also useful for anti ageing. To get rid of Acne, Blemishes, or any Skin problems consume juice of Bitter Gourd mixed with lemon on an empty stomach daily for 6 months or till you get the required results.

Constipation: Bitter Gourd helps in easy digestion as it contains fiber properties. The food is digested and waste is thrown out of the body, which helps in curing indigestion and constipation problems. Bitter Gourd stimulates easy digestion and peristalsis of food through the bowel until it is excreted from the body. Thus, helps in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.

Cancer: Fresh bitter Gourd is an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 g of raw pod provides 84 mg or about 140% of RDI). Vitamin-C, one of the powerful natural antioxidants, helps the body scavenge deleterious free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development. Bitter Gourd can prevent cancer cells from multiplying. Moreover, it is an excellent source of health benefiting flavonoids such as ß-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin. It also contains a good amount of vitamin A. Together; these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.

Diabetes: Bitter Gourd juice is the most common remedy to overcome type 2 diabetes. It has been a part of the Chinese and Indian ancient medicine for a long time but only recent research has proven that, it is no     folklore. Type 2 diabetes is caused partially due to the inability of a cell to absorb the sugar in the blood due to insufficient insulin or due development of resistance to insulin. In both cases, the cells are unable to absorb the sugar due to the ineffectiveness of insulin produced. The absorption of sugar occurs due to the activation of AMP-activated protein (Kinase) in the cells. Bitter gourd activated these (kinase) proteins due to which the absorption of sugar increases. Hence aids in bringing diabetes in control. Moreover, cucumbers, green apples, bitter melon, celery, green capsicums (bell pepper), Bitter melon contains certain chemicals that are like insulin which help to reduce blood sugar levels. Bitter melon notably contains phyto-nutrient, polypeptide-P; a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it composes hypoglycemic agent called charantinCharantin increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in the cells of liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Together, these compounds are thought to be responsible for reduction of blood sugar levels in the treatment of type-2 diabetes.

Heart disease: Bitter Gourd is very good for the heart in many ways. They help to reduce the bad cholesterol levels which clog the arterial walls and thereby reduce the chances of heart attacks. In addition, it is known to lower blood sugar levels that help in maintaining good heart health.

Immune system: Boil bitter Gourd leaves or fruits in water and consume it every day to fight against infections. This also helps to build your immunity. Fresh pods are an excellent source of folates, contain about 72 µg/100g (Provides 18% of RDA). Folate helps reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in the newborns when taken by mothers during early pregnancy. In addition, the vegetable is an also good source of niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.

Kidney and bladder: Bitter Gourd helps to maintain healthy liver and bladder. It is also useful in curing kidney stones.

Liver tonic: Drink one glass of Bitter Gourd juice daily to heal liver problems. Keep consuming this continuously for a week or even more to see results.

Respiratory disorders: Fresh Salads of Bitter Gourd are an excellent remedy for curing respiratory problems like asthma, cold. Cough, etc.

Weight loss: Bitter Gourd/Melon contains antioxidants, which help to flush out your system. This improves our metabolism and digestive systems. The two other major factors that, aid in weight loss is the calorie control and filling components. Calorie control happens as such because vegetables are low on calories, which allows you to consume more quantities of them.  The vegetable is very low in calories, providing just 17 calories per 100g. Nevertheless, its pods are rich in phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Filling component in this vegetable is water. We know that water is a universal suppressant of hunger. In addition, the pods of this vegetable contain on the whole 80-85% water.

Due to its hypoglycemic action, bitter gourd 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. The blood purifying properties of bitter gourd deem it to be an ideal treatment for blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to blood poisoning caused by bacterial toxic substances in the blood. Fresh juice extracted from bitter gourd is beneficial for people suffering from piles. All you need to do is prepare a mixture of bitter gourd juice and buttermilk and have it every morning for about a month.

Cellulose is a good source of fiber, which helps in preventing constipation. Bitter gourd contains cellulose that acts as a great digestive agent and helps in stimulating the secretion of gastric juices. This, in turn, helps people suffering from dyspepsia. Bitter gourd encourages the liver to secrete more bile juices which are necessary for the metabolism of fats. Hence, if you are yearning for a perfect, slim figure, include loads of bitter gourd in your diet. Researches indicate that a glass of bitter gourd juice strengthens the immune system and increases the body’s power to fight against infections. Besides, it also improves the immunity of cell functioning in people suffering from cancer.

Regular consumption of bitter gourd juice is known to stimulate the energy and stamina levels in the body, especially in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Bitter gourd is a known remedy for curing various skin diseases and skin infections, such as eczema. Not only it avoids the skin from developing blemishes, it also improves the glow and texture of the skin, ensuring that you do not develop any acne. It has also been acknowledged for successfully healing skin eruptions, chapped skin, burns, and hemorrhoids. Consuming bitter gourd juice on a regular basis aids in improving the condition of psoriasis and other infections of fungus, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Bitter gourd acts as an antidote for alcohol intoxication and promotes purification, restoration, and nourishment of the liver. The juice, in particular, is beneficial for treating a bad hangover. With high levels of beta-carotene and other beneficial compounds, bitter gourd juice is regarded as the best drink for alleviating eye disorders and strengthening eyesight. Further, it is recommended by herbalists for normalizing restless sleeping patterns. Diluting 2 ounces of bitter gourd juice with honey and water helps in fighting and improving pharyngitis, bronchitis, and asthma. By cleansing the blood and body from harmful toxins, bitter gourd helps in getting rid of jaundice, due to its highly beneficial properties.

By stimulating the secretion of gastric juices properly, bitter gourd helps in enhancing the digestion process. To add on, it is used for treating intestinal worms, constipation, and diarrhea. Bitter gourd is considered beneficial for the overall health of women. Not only it helps in treating menstrual disorders and female genital tract related problems, it assists in secreting milk during the lactation phase after pregnancy.

Some magical effects…

1. After eating Bitter Gourd is normal to feel thirsty.

2. In fact, apart from the outside the Raw Bitter Jerky MSG Mischief, I believe that the each diet crush for a reason, the water carrier to break down fat. Therefore, when you feel thirsty is your body telling you that you need water to decompose the fat. Say so, not all thirsty excited about it.

3. Bitter gourd is something cold. Do not eat any cold item during the consumption of Bitter Gourd or do not drink tea(Whit tea, green tea, weight loss tea) altogether stop to drink water. Although tea polyphenols is a good thing, but theophylline it will hurt you. You have been feeling tired from eating Bitter Gourd.

4. under normal circumstances, the bitter gourd and other natural foods to lose weight, the first is to exclude edema, to remove fat from the intestine, although these things are removed, a lot of people a moment to see less than the effect of the surface, do not give up, adhere time you turn to the subcutaneous fat. Eat bitter gourd without dieting, but at least you should reduce the intake of spicy and greasy.

Nutritional value of Bitter Melon:

Bitter Melon is high in vitamins A, B and C, flavonoids such as α-carotene, ß-carotene, lutein, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.

Bitter Gourd Nutrition Facts
Amount: 1 cup
Total Weight: 93 g

The Bitter Gourd correct consumption method:

1. We should eat Bitter Gourd as raw salad form.

2. We should take care off not to flood damage; flood damage will make Bitter Gourd effective material loss.

3. We should take at least two to four Bitter Gourds in a day.

4. We should not add seasonings; the seasonings inside of spicy and greasy substances will reduce the speed of weight loss.

5. It is highly recommended that, consumption of Bitter Gourd at least half an hour before a meal.

6. It can be seeded or peeled; but do not boil.

7.  Black and Green Bitter Gourd is effective and expensive. Do not eat Yellow Bitter Gourd.

Specific consumption methods for Weight Loss Management:

Method: Drinking its juice…

The juice and nutrients of Bitter Gourd is most effective to absorption and lose weight. However, do not forget, the juice of the bitter melon which is prepared by squeezing should eat. Moreover, it is highly preferable to take Bitter Gourd juice, if you can gulped. If you really cannot do that, add a cucumber or tomato together with the juice.

Remember, do not add the sweet fruit, otherwise, the sugar will affect the program. Most of sub-soluble and insoluble fiber of Bitter Gourd is to promote gastrointestinal motility and break down fat in the intestine.

If your stomach is not good, it is recommended that, you can drink a bitter gourd juice before lunch and dinner each. Otherwise, if your stomach is very good, then, of course, it is before in the dinner one, and then drinks the last cup before three hours of bedtime. Reaction that is more obvious is thirsty. You do not want the middle of the night to drink plenty of water, and then in the toilet. The middle of the night to drink water can cause swelling of the body because the body absorbs juice of the Bitter Gourd.

Method: Directly eating….

If you do not have, a juicer can be eaten directly. However, it is recommended that, you eat bitter gourd cut in half and seeded.  Otherwise cut into small pieces 1.5 cm wide, then uninterrupted edible by eating, chewing carefully, until the feeling Bitter Gourd Julian swallow. Like eating a cucumber in his hand, as breath after eating, you only eat the equivalent of one-third of the Bitter Gourd. It will work as natural weight loss good stuff; you can only absorb one-third or less.

Some important tips:

  1. Always wash Bitter Gourd thoroughly under running water.
  2. Use fresh Bitter Gourd for best results.
  3. Always choose Bitter Gourd that is fresh, bright, and deep green in color.
  4. Don’t consume more than two Bitter Gourd a day
  5. The Bitter Gourd leaves should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place. They stay fresh in refrigerator up to a week.
  6. Marinade with salt to reduce bitterness.
  7. Pregnant women should be careful while consuming this vegetable. The laxative component of the vegetable may lead to premature contraction, vaginal bleeding and miscarriages. Do consult your doctor once.

How to Buy Bitter Gourd: 

  • Select bitter gourds that are unripe and fir, as the ripened ones are extremely very bitter. Young and immature bitter gourds can be used for cooking due to their bright green skin, white flesh and small and tender seeds.
  • Avoid buying bitter gourds that have soft spots or have turned orange. This indicates overripe and mushy vegetables that can often split into segments that curl back, exposing the seeds covered in bright red.

Bitter Gourd Storage Tips:

  • Wash the bitter melons in running cold water, once you bring them home. Dry them gently on paper towels and place them in a perforated plastic or paper bag.
  • When stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator at 50F, bitter gourds last for 3-5 days longer.
  • Storing bitter gourds at room temperature or with other fruits and vegetables can increase the speed of the ripening process, making them bitter.

Bitter to lose weight more and more people of all ages; do not change any eating habits. Not to do the exercise to lose weight, eat Bitter Gourd, you can easily loss two kilo gram weight in a week.

Bitter Gourd to lose weight, there are three reasons:

(1) rich in dietary fiber: retard the absorption of lipids.

(2) Contain a relatively high vitamin C: speed up the metabolism of lipids.

(3) contain a small amount of organic acids: to promote the absorption of calcium and phosphorus; protection of vitamin C is not decomposed; promote the absorption of proteins and lipids.

Safety profile: Bitter gourd may contain alkaloid substances like quinine and morodicine, resins and saponic glycosides, which may be intolerable by some people. The bitterness and toxicity may be reduced somewhat by parboiling or soaking in salt water for up to 10 minutes. Toxicity symptoms may include excessive salivation, facial redness, dimness of vision, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscular weakness. (Medical disclaimer).

Author Details

Dr. Hirendrakumar Bhagawati is a Consulting Nutritionist and Homeopath and also a Massage Therapist based in Guwahati. He has several researches in form of writings to his credit. Dr. Hirendrakumar Bhagawati is associated with Amrapali Rendition Magazine as the Consulting Editor.