If you have eaten bitter melon before, you will agree that it can be the worst-tasting vegetable you’ve ever tasted. As the name implies, it is a vegetable that’s bitter than any coffee or medicine, and is part of the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family. This means bitter melon is a cousin of the sweet and nutty tasting pumpkin and squash.
The bitter melon is known to grow in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and is planted mostly for its fruit although some also use the young leaves or sprouts for food and medicinal purposes. There are several varieties you will see in the market and in different countries, but all will have similar features: bitter taste, green, oblong fruits with wrinkled skin. The flesh of a bitter melon is bitter and will be tougher and have strong bitterness as the fruit matures, while the pith will become sweeter.
Because of its bitterness, the bitter melon is avoided by many without realizing the health benefits it can provide. For many years now, researchers have studied bitter melon or bitter gourd and found out that it can be beneficial for people who are suffering from diabetes, liver and spleen problems and mild cough. And if you are still skeptical in trying out bitter melon, then here are a few more reasons for you to start enjoying the bitterness of this wonderful vegetable.
Bitter Melon Boosts the Immune System
All the bitterness of this vegetable is not just a way to prevent animals from eating bitter melon, but it has a hidden benefit. Bitter melon is filled with antioxidants, perhaps even stronger than other vegetables and fruits. It contains Vitamins A, B and C, which are composed of antioxidants that help remove radicals and fight off toxins and infections by strengthening the body’s immune system. This means bitter melon is a great way of keeping your body free from diseases.
Bitter Melon Lowers Blood Sugar Level
If you are afraid of your blood sugar, then having bitter melon in your weekly diet should be fine. There are three major players present in bitter melon that helps in lowering blood sugar: Charantin, Polypeptide-p and Vicine. These big words simply work together and create a hypoglycemic effect on the body. However, if you are already taking in blood sugar pills, make sure you don’t take much bitter melon since it can make the blood sugar too low.
Bitter Melon can Make Your Skin Look Younger and Hair Healthier
As mentioned earlier, bitter melon contains a large amount of antioxidants, and these antioxidants help in improving the skin. With toxins and free radicals efficiently removed from the body, the skin will show off by looking healthier and younger. With the blood sugar controlled, forming of blemishes are also prevented. The hair is also affected the same way as the skin, with the antioxidants helping the hair grow stronger and shinier. Bitter melon also contains antifungal properties which can help relieve your skin from psoriasis, dandruff and other skin and scalp infections.
Bitter Melon can Suppress Your Appetite
If the bitterness is not enough to suppress your appetite, then the bitter melon’s low calories and fiber will definitely help you. The calories are steady source of energy, even in the small amounts, which gives you enough fuel for your activities without craving for more food. The dietary fiber helps a lot, too, since it can fill up the tummy easily and will keep you feeling full for hours.
Bitter Melon can Keep the Kidney and Liver Healthy
Bitter melon eases digestion and helps detoxify the body, therefore helping the liver cleanse the blood for any toxins, bacteria or infection. It also breaks down fats and kidney stones, which helps the liver and the kidney. If the kidney and liver are damaged, bitter melon’s healing properties or enzymes can help repair the damaged cells
Bitter Melon can Prevent Serious Diseases
All these benefits to this last but definitely most important benefit you can get from bitter melon- it protects you from diseases. Whether it is just a simple colds, cough, fever, or infection, or it is as serious as heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer. With further research, there will surely be a way to extract all these benefits from bitter melon effectively and help many people with health issues.
Judging the book by its cover is never wise, and it goes true even with bitter melon. You can still enjoy the benefits from bitter melon, just be creative in making the food with bitter melon and you’ll sure come up with foods that can still taste well even with the hint of bitterness.