Native to South Asia and South America, bitter melon, this plant also known as Goya, Bitter Gourd, Karela, or Balsam Pear, thrives in hot and damp climates. Although extremely bitter in taste, this plant has amazing health benefits.
According to Dr. Frank Shallenberger M.D., who specializes in Anti-Aging Treatment and Alternative Medicine at The Nevada Center of Alternative & Anti-Aging Medicine, this fruit can prevent cancer development because it kills cancer cells, thus inhibiting their growth.
The results of a study carried out by Dr. Shallenberger showed that bitter melon juice diluted to 5% in water can effectively fight pancreatic cancer. In fact, this fruit killed cancer cell lines by a rate of 90% and 98%. The anticancer properties of bitter melon in relation to pancreatic cancer specifically were further confirmed by an additional study conducted by the University of Colorado. As the results of the study revealed, bitter melon reduced the size of the pancreatic tumors by 64%.
The health benefits of bitter melon are not limited to cancer only. This fruit has also been proved beneficial for treatment of asthma, skin infections, stomach problems, hypertension, and diabetes. In fact, bitter melon has long been used as part of natural medicine in China, India, Africa, and South America.
With only 17 calories per 100g, bitter melon has quite low calorific value. However, its pods are rich sources of phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. To be more specific, bitter melon is abundant in vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folate, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese. Plus, it contains high amounts of iron, twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana. However, there’s one downside to this fruit and it’s the extremely bitter taste it has, which puts many people off from consuming it, even though it has plenty to offer in terms of health benefits.
1# Type2 Diabetes
Bitter melon packs high amounts of the phyto-nutrient polypeptide-P, which is a plant insulin beneficial for reducing blood sugar levels. Plus, bitter melon has charantin, a unique phyto-constituent that also produces a hypoglycemic effect in the body. What this phytonutrient does is raise glucose metabolism and glycogen synthesis inside the cells of liver, muscle and adipose tissue, thus reducing blood sugar levels and supporting the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
2# Eye Health
Bitter melon is extremely beneficial for eye health owing to its high beta-carotene content, which effectively treats eye problems and improves eyesight.
3# Liver Detox
Bitter melon juice is a highly recommended for a complete liver detox. It’s particularly beneficial after alcohol consumption because it cleanses, nourishes and repairs the liver more effectively than any other natural recipe. Bitter melon speeds up the body’s metabolism of alcohol, thus relieving hangovers.
4# Energy Boost
Apart from increasing energy levels, regular consumption of bitter melon juice can also significantly improve sleep quality.
5# Immune booster
Owing to the high content of antioxidants, bitter melon juice can considerably improve immune system function thus increasing the body’s immune response to infection.
Psoriasis as well as fungal infection, such as ring-worm and athletes feet, can also be treated with regular consumption of this bitter juice.
Full of dietary fiber, bitter melon promotes healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
HOW TO CONSUME BITTER MELON
Bitter melon is best consumed firm and green because the riper it gets, the more bitter its taste. Therefore, you’d better stay away from the bitter melon that’s started to turn orange or has soft spots.
It can easily be added to stir-fries or stuffed with tomato, onions, green chilies, garlic and curry leaves.
Alternatively, you can use dried and ground bitter melon when preparing iced or milk tea.
Add bitter melon to pickles.
All in all, this fruit is worth including in your diet because its nutritional value and health benefits far outweigh its pungent taste.
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