Bitter Gourd, bitter melon or Momordica charantia (1) famous as Karela in Hindi is an unique edible vegetable-fruit with a bitter taste. It has originated in Indian sub-continent. Bitter Gourd is used as food and medicine. It is considered the most bitter among all fruits and vegetables. They are dark or light green in color depending on the region (2) where they are grown. Here you will see some health benefits of bitter gourd with very interesting bitter gourd recipes.
Health benefits of Bitter Gourd (Karela)
Boil bitter melon leaves or fruits in water and consume it every day to fight against infections. This also helps to build your immunity.
Bitter gourd diabetes
Bitter melon juice benefits include helping to overcome type 2 diabetes. Green juice for diabetics: cucumbers, green apples, bitter melon, celery, ½ green capsicum (bell pepper). Bitter melon contains certain chemicals that are like insulin which help to reduce the blood sugar levels. Bitter gourd juice for diabetes can be taken by everyone to stay healthy (3).
Health benefits of bitter gourd helps in easy digestion as it contains fiber properties. The food is digested and the waste is thrown out of the body which helps in curing indigestion and constipation problems.
Kidney and Bladder
Bitter melon helps to maintain a healthy liver and bladder. It is also useful in curing kidney stones.
Bitter gourd nutrition helps reduce the bad cholesterol levels which clog the arterial walls and thereby reduces the chances of heart attacks. Also, it is known to lower the blood sugar levels that help in maintaining a good heart health.
Health benefits of bitter gourd can prevent cancer cells from multiplying. This can be an unknown health benefits of bitter gourd (4).
Bitter gourd juice for weight loss
Bitter gourd nutrition contains antioxidants that help to flush out your system. This improves your metabolism and digestive systems, thus helping you lose weight quickly. The two other major factors that aid in weight loss with bitter gourd are the calorie control and filling components (5).
Drink one glass of bitter melon juice daily to heal liver problems. Keep consuming this continuously for a week to see health benefits of bitter gourd.
The fresh pods are an excellent remedy for curing respiratory problems like asthma, cold, cough, etc. Also, the paste of bitter melon leaves, along with the paste of basil (tulsi) leaves, when taken with honey in the morning, is a good remedy.
Bitter gourd benefits for skin
Bitter melon benefits in treating skin diseases or skin infections, eczema and psoriasis. The regular consumption of bitter gourd juice helps in improving psoriasis as well as other fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot.
Prevents Skin Problems
Consuming bitter melon can help you get rid of acne, blemishes and deep skin infections. Bitter melon is useful in treating blood disorders like blood boils, scabies, itching, psoriasis, ringworm and other fungal diseases. Consume the juice of a bitter melon mixed with lemon on an empty stomach daily for 6 months or till you get the desired results.
Bitter gourd helps in controlling the blood flow and clotting, causing wounds to heal faster, preventing further infections.
Bitter gourd contains vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. By fighting and eliminating the harmful free radicals, it helps to prevent wrinkles by slowing down the aging process. It also protects the skin from damage by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Hair benefits of Bitter Gourd (Karela)
To impart a natural shine to your hair, mix a cup of fresh bitter gourd juice with yogurt and apply on your hair. Wash off after sometime.
Dandruff is a common problem and is mostly caused due to the consumption of unhealthy food and exposure to pollution. For this, prepare a hair pack by mixing bitter gourd juice and cumin seeds. Regular usage of this pack will rid you of dandruff within a month.
Dry and Itchy Scalp
For dryness of the scalp, rub a fresh piece of bitter gourd on it and massage your scalp in a circular motion. Then, rinse off with clear water. For itchiness, prepare a hair pack by mixing bitter gourd juice with either avocado or banana and apply it on your scalp. This should be used at least once a week to get rid of an itchy scalp.
Bitter gourd juice helps in reducing hair fall naturally. Mix bitter gourd juice with a dash of sugar and use this paste on your hair to get good results
Rough and Tangled Hair
For rough and tangled hair, pour a cup of bitter gourd juice and allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse off your hair.
Bitter gourd can also treat premature greying of hair. Apply freshly squeezed bitter gourd juice on your grey strands. Doing this once in every ten days will reduce the grey hair growth.
Increased intake of oily food can cause the accumulation of excess oil in your hair. If you have oily hair, you should first limit the consumption of oily food. You can apply a mixture of bitter gourd juice and apple cider vinegar to remove the excess oil from your hair.
Some Bitter Gourd disadvantages
Inspite of various health benefits of bitter gourd there are some bitter gourd disadvantages as well.
Preterm pregnancy labour
Too much consumption of bitter gourd or its juice is a big no for pregnant women. This is because having too much of bitter gourd tends to stimulate the uterus and might lead to preterm labour.
Bitter gourd might cause adverse effects on the body when consumed together with other glucose-lowering agents.
Those suffering from a deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) can tend to develop a condition called favism if they consume seeds of bitter gourd. This condition can lead to anemia, fever and headache, stomach pain and in worst case scenario, can also make a person comatose.