Despite its taste, bitter gourd is associated with many health benefits.
Bitter gourd or bitter melon is cultivated around the world and considered a staple in many Asian cuisines. The Chinese variety is generally long, pale green and is covered with bumps. But the Indian variety is comparatively narrower with pointed ends and rough spikes.
The sharp flavour of the vegetable is the main reasons why many of us do not like consuming it. However, the below six health benefits will convince you to start eating them.
Helps in managing diabetes
The vegetable contains bioactive compounds, which are called saponins and terpenoids. While these compounds are responsible for their bitter taste, they also help lower blood sugar level in people with diabetes. The bioactive compounds, not only aid in moving the glucose from the blood to the cells but also help the liver and muscles to better process and store glucose.
Bitter gourd is packed with vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C. Additionally, it contains twice the amount of calcium of spinach and beta-carotene of broccoli.
Aids in weight loss
Bitter melon is low in calories and high in fibre making it an excellent weight loss diet food. One cup of the vegetable contains 2 grams of fibre, which is responsible for reducing hunger and appetite. Therefore, swap high-calorie foods with bitter gourd to cut calories and increase fibre intake.
Keeps digestive system healthy
Since bitter gourd is a great source of dietary fibre, it helps relieve constipation and indigestion. It supports the production of healthy gut bacteria that helps in absorbing nutrients and digestion.
Bitter melon is filled with polyphenols, which are compounds that have the ability to lower inflammation in your body.
Reduces cholesterol levels
Having high cholesterol causes the build-up of fatty plaque in your arteries, which forces the heart to work harder, thus, increasing the risk of heart disease. But studies have found that bitter gourd can reduce cholesterol levels and also help in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Bitter gourd can be consumed in its vegetable form or a juice. Alternatively, make a bitter melon smoothie with apples and spinach for a healthy and nutrition-packed snack. You also have the option of soup, baked chips or chutney and pickles.