This green gourd may be bitter in taste, but is packed with so many benefits, people who use it swear by it. Whether it is diabetes or asthma, the green bitter gourd has helped in many ways. Read on to know some of the health benefits of this wonder gourd. Hope that makes you learn to relish it beyond its bitter taste.
1. Weight management: 100 g of the vegetable contains just about 20 calories, and is one of the best low-calorie foods. Coupled with its other benefits (listed below), this should find its way to anyone wanting to improve overall health.
2. Diabetes: Karela has the chemical polypeptide-P which is also known as plant insulin. It works as insulin and helps in blood sugar control. A glass of bitter gourd juice is one of the most well-known and successful home remedies for diabetics.
3. Rich in folate: Bitter gourds are rich in foliates and one can get up to 20% of the recommended daily from about 100 g of this vegetable. Widely used in menstruating women and pregnancy to prevent anemia and blood iron levels. In pregnancy, it also helps reduce neural tube defects in the developing baby.
4. Loaded with antioxidants: Alpha and beta carotenes, xanthine’s, and lutein. All these help in controlling the release of free radicals and reduce bodily inflammation. This is the most important reason for the development of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and premature ageing. Therefore, bitter gourd helps in preventing and/or prolonging the onset of these diseases. Another independent antioxidant is vitamin C, and about 100 g of karela provides more than 100% of daily required dose.
5. Good for digestion: Bitter gourd is widely used for its digestive properties. It improves mobility, relieves constipation, and reduces problems of indigestion.
6. Good for respiratory system: Respiratory benefits of bitter gourd include clearing up of sputum, improving breathing, and relief from cough. Widely used in asthma patients.
7. Blood purifier: It is an excellent blood purifier and juice consumed in the morning is one of the best ways to detox the body.
Though still to be proven, karela is known to help HIV/AIDS patients, as they contain phytochemicals, which improve immunity and reduce overall infection and inflammation in the body
Methods of Use:
1. Both the leaves and the bitter gourd per se can be consumed for their health benefits
2. The juice is the most beneficial method, though it might take you some time to acquire this taste. Whether it is for weight loss or diabetes, this offers the best medicinal value
3. Curries are usually prepared with karela in different styles depending on cooking preferences in that area
4. It can also be baked, boiled, and fried.