Bitter gourd is a tropical vine that belongs to the gourd family and is closely related to zucchini, squash, pumpkin, and cucumber.
It’s cultivated around the world for its edible fruit, which is considered a staple in many types of Asian cuisine.
In addition to its sharp flavor and distinct appearance, bitter melon has been associated with several impressive health benefits.
Here are the benefits of eating bitter gourd.
Aids natural weight loss
Bitter gourd or bitter melon contains ingredients that lower and maintain blood sugar levels in your body and prevent your body from absorbing extra sugar.
On top of this, experts say that bitter gourd is partly responsible for an increase in the number of beta cells in your pancreas. These cells are involved in secreting insulin, which are essential for maintaining blood sugar levels.
100 gram serving of bitter gourd contains only 17 calories and it’s also full of fiber helping to slow down the digestion process keeping you fuller for longer and preventing hunger pangs from hitting.
The blood sugar balancing properties of bitter gourd also make it effective in preventing the onset of diabetes.
One study found that bitter gourd pulp extracts significantly lowered blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes and improved insulin sensitivity in insulin resistant rats.
Bitter gourd can not only prevent diabetes but treat the illness effectively. The fruit contains an insulin like compound known as polypeptide-P or P insulin, which has been shown to control diabetes naturally.
These substances either work individually or together to help reduce blood sugar levels.
High cholesterol is caused by a buildup of deposits in the arteries and can limit blood flow, increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
While high cholesterol should always be treated by professional medical care, if you’re looking to maintain a healthy cholesterol, bitter-gourd is a good food to add to your diet.
A number of animal studies have found that bitter melon may decrease cholesterol levels to support overall heart health.
More specifically experts think that bitter gourd can lower levels of total cholesterol bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides which can cause heart problems especially in later life.
Good for skin and hair
It’s the vitamin and mineral content found in bitter gourd that makes it such a beneficial fruit for skin and hair health.
Notably bitter gourd is packed full of antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C which prevents skin aging and diminish wrinkles.
Vitamin C is particularly effective in neutralizing the free radicals that cause oxidative stress to skin and result in aging of the face and hands.
Bitter gourd is also a good cleansing food for removing unwanted toxins from your body.
As a high-fiber food, bitter gourd is a simple snack for improving your digestion.
Drinking bitter gourd extract on a daily basis can help move foods more quickly through your digestive system, retaining water and preventing constipation and other digestive issues.
Bitter gourd is used as a natural laxative in herbal medicine and despite its sharp taste, it’s also known for its soothing effect on the stomach.
Taking bitter gourd is thought to prevent stomach ulcers and other similar damage caused by too much acid production .
Bitter gourd is an extremely rich source of vitamin C, which helps boost immunity and prevent you from getting sick.
As an antioxidant vitamin C fights against free radicals in the body, which studies have shown could help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy aging.
It’s thought that drinking one dose of bitter gourd extract is enough to ward off all number of illnesses and help you maintain good health long into the future.
Speeds up wound healing
You don’t just benefit from bitter gourd internally. It’s also an effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent for healing wounds.
Experts say that getting your daily intake of bitter gourd will help speed up wound healing, reducing inflammation and preventing infection at the site of an injury.
Bitter gourd is used in herbal medicine for preventing bacterial growth thanks to its high natural sugar content.
Some studies have already looked into the beneficial effects of applying a bitter gourd cream to skin wounds.
We already know that bitter gourd boosts the immune system and it’s even been found to reduce the risk of cancer.
Bitter gourd has been shown to disrupt the production of glucose, potentially inhibiting the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
In particular, some studies suggest that bitter melon may also be effective in killing other cancerous cells in the liver, colon, breast or prostate. The effects of bitter melon are yet to be studied in cancer patients.
Helps manage arthritis pain
Thanks to its vitamin K content and anti-inflammatory properties, bitter gourd can help people suffering from arthritis to experience reduced pain and inflammation in their joints.
It’s thought that vitamin K destroys inflammatory cells that contribute to rheumatoid arthritis, helping to prevent the disease from worsening and manage the frequency of flare-ups.
As an added bonus they also had improved blood sugar and lowered BMI levels according to the data.
Bitter gourd is a fruit in the gourd family with a unique appearance and flavor.
It’s not only rich in several important nutrients but also linked to numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and cholesterol levels.
Note that people who are pregnant or on certain medications — particularly blood sugar-lowering medications — should speak to their healthcare provider before consuming high amounts or taking supplements.
Still, in moderation, bitter gourd makes for a flavorful, nutritious, and easy addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet.