The very mention of bitter gourd or karela may make you sneer for its highly bitter taste but there are various benefits associated with this plant and hence its consumption is widely recommended for several medicinal purposes. This plant is a powerhouse of vital nutrients, including magnesium, iron, vitamin C and potassium. The high content of dietary fiber makes it an excellent food to include as part of our daily diet. The calcium content is also twice as much as is present in dark leafy vegetables and carrots. You can also find its level of beta-carotene double to that as found in broccoli and potassium as found in a banana. Though the name and taste of this gourd are bitter, its benefits give sweet and positive results for the betterment of the health. Here are a few wonderful benefits that you need to look out for:
Maintains blood sugar levels – People suffering from diabetes are recommended to include bitter gourd as part of their staple diet as it is said to contain an insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p or p-insulin. Studies have shown that regular intake of bitter melon significantly lowers the blood sugar levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. The uptake of glucose in the body is also shown by research studies to increase and glycemic index gets improved with bitter melon.
Improves the texture of skin and makes hair lustrous – High in anti-oxidants and Vitamin A and C, juice of bitter gourd can delay the onset of skin ageing and reduce lines and wrinkles. Acne problems also see improvement with the use of this superfood. People suffering from eczema and psoriasis are also advised to consume bitter gourd during their treatment. It is said to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the UV rays. Regular consumption of bitter gourd also adds shine to the hair and aids in treating several hair problems such as dandruff, hair loss, greying, split ends and so on.
Cleanses the liver – Bitter gourd strengthens the liver and cleanses the liver with its anti-oxidant properties and activity of the enzymes. Bladder functioning of the liver also gets a boost with the consumption of bitter gourd. Juice of bitter gourd is also said to aid in cleansing the bowel system and in healing several liver problems.
Aids weight loss – Being low in calories, bitter gourd and the juice extracted from it is said to be a favourite super-food of people with a weight loss goal. Research studies have shown that bitter gourd extracts can dislocate the human cells and also deter the formation and growth of fat cells. It is a natural agent to fight obesity.
Strengthens your immune system – It boosts the immunity by fighting the bacteria and viruses. Allergies and indigestion treatment also receive help with bitter gourd consumption. Anti-carcinogen and anti-tumour properties in bitter melon make it a beneficial food for those with risks of prostate, breast, and cervical cancer.
Good for eyes – It strengthens eyesight and prevents several vision-related problems. The presence of compounds such as Vitamin C and beta-carotene also makes it a must-food for those with cataract.