Bitter Gourd is also called Momordica Charantia, or “Karela’ as per the local Indian language. It is a tropical or sub tropical vine of the Cucurbitaceae family and has many varieties, which differ from one another in shape size and colour. The tendril bearing vine grows for about five meters with alternately placed leaves.
The fruit has an oblong shape with rugged and rough exterior of dark or light green in color with white pith and seed. The fruit turns yellow on getting ripe and the pith turns red. The Indian Bitter gourd is narrower in shape with pointed and tapering ends. Bitter Gourd has the following health benefits which make it very popular.
Treating diabetes with juice of bitter gourd has been popular since ancient times in India. Type 2 diabetes is caused because of the failure of the cells to absorb the glucose in the cells due to lack of sufficient quantities of insulin or due to development of some resistance towards insulin. In such a case, the cells are unable to absorb the sugar of the food taken in due to the inactiveness of the insulin. Bitter gourd juice has the capability to activate the protein kinase in the cells, so that they are able to absorb the sugar present in the food eaten. This helps in controlling Type 2 diabetes. Bitter gourd has some chemicals which act as insulin to reduce the sugar level in the blood.
For a Healthy Heart
Bitter gourd helps to keep the heart healthy by reducing the bad cholesterol in the body, which has the tendency to stick to the walls of the arteries and increase the chances of heart attacks. The lesser the sugar levels in the blood; the more healthy is the heart. Therefore bitter gourd simultaneously gives a healthier heart too.
Helps in Weight Loss
Bitter gourd helps in losing weight in two ways. First by controlling the calories in the body and secondly by providing filling component. Calorie intake gets controlled because as vegetables have fewer calories, intake of excess calories gets curbed. Simultaneously, bitter gourd is made up of 85% water, so the filling component of bitter gourd is maximum water. Water acts as a hunger suppressant and thus this helps in losing weight automatically. Bitter gourd also has antioxidants which helps in flushing the body system and helps in weight loss by increasing metabolism and digestion.
Prevents Skin Problems
Healthy skin can be obtained by proper nutrition. Bitter gourd is a natural blood purifier. It improves the appearance of your skin. Taking bitter gourd regularly can help to keep your skin damage free. This also helps in keeping your skin free from blemishes and keeps it glowing. Bitter gourd is also used to treat skin diseases and infections such as psoriasis and eczema. It also helps in fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
Helpful in Proper Kidney Functioning
As Bitter gourd consists of about 80-85% water in its pods, it helps in kidney and bladder functioning besides curing kidney stones by breaking the stones naturally.
Besides the water content in Bitter gourd, it also contains a lot of fiber. This makes Bitter gourd easily digestible. The nutrients are absorbed by the body and the waste is easily thrown out and this helps in curing constipation and indigestion problems of the body.
Thus regular intake of Bitter gourd in form of juice etc can keep you free of many health problems such as diabetes, heart attack, kidney stones, damaged skin etc. It can be taken as a daily dose of medicine to keep you fit and fine.