Bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd) is a vegetable that is used extensively in Asian countries. It has its reference in ancient Ayurveda, for its multiple health benefits. It tastes bitter and its importance in the Western diet came since of late, as an aid to combat the dreaded disease of diabetes.
Description and Nutritional Benefits
Bitter melon looks like a cucumber with grooved tubercles all through the body. It is divided in two categories, one is pale green and oblong while the other is oval and has a dark green color. Bitter melon contains 92 percent moisture and is without any fat. It is rich in iron, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins.
Bitter Melon and Blood Disorders
Bitter melon helps in the purification of blood. It is beneficial in treating blood disorders like blood boils, toxemia itches, ringworm and other fungal infections.
Bitter Melon and Diabetes
Bitter melon also known as plant insulin, is used widely as anti diabetic treatment without potential side effects. According to a research conducted jointly by Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, there are four distinct components of bitter melon that triggers an enzyme called AMPK. This is a protein that stimulates fuel metabolism and enables glucose uptake. Moreover it reduces insulin resistance, a condition in which diabetics cannot properly use and absorb insulin..
Bitter Melon and Diabetes-Related Diseases:
Bitter melon also helps to combat on conditions created by diabetes. It mainly prevents diabetes related cataracts, neuropathy and gastrointestinal disorders. However, these facts are based on research performed on animals rather than humans.
Bitter Melon and Other Diseases
Bitter melon has also been helpful in treatments of respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and pharyngitis. According to Dr. Loretta Lanphier, Clinical Nutritionist, of Oasis Advanced Wellness, bitter melon also clinically demonstrates to contain a phytochemical that inhibits an enzyme called guanylate cyclase, which is linked to the development of cancer.
Bitter Melon and Weight Loss
According to bitter melon has been traditionally used as a weight loss aid in India. Dr. Lanphier, sited a research in the University of Hong Kong, where bitter melon added in diets of rats fed on a high-fat diet, revealed to block fat absorption in the body. In other words, it is said to reduce adiposity.
Bitter Melon and Side Effects
Bitter melon supplements should be taken under the supervision of a doctor. Bitter melon affects glucose levels so it can interfere with diabetes medicines or insulin therapies. Moreover cholesterol lowering drugs and bitter melon may also have contradictions. It should be avoided during pregnancy as it leads to pre-term labor complications. It also leads to diarrhea and abdominal pain.