Bitter melon is a fruit shaped like a cucumber, with an extremely sour taste and rough appearance; widely used in Asia, China, India, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Bitter melon has an acidic pH ranging from 4.15-4.28; however, when ripe and consumed, the fruit has an alkaline-forming effect, like most melons.
Bitter melon contains an abundance of flavonoids, triterpenoids, and polyphenols, all of which have been demonstrated to inhibit and decrease the formation of malignant cells.
Additionally, it supports the treatment of various illnesses, including diabetes, obesity, digestive issues, and several other diseases.
What are the benefits of bitter melon?
Although it has a sour taste, not attractive to everyone, bitter melon is a warehouse of nutrients that provide so many health benefits.
Below are the benefits of bitter melons:
1. Helps in the prevention and regulation of Diabetes
According to research, bitter melon can successfully lower blood sugar levels by accelerating the body’s process of metabolizing glucose. The fruit includes at least three compounds with anti-diabetic effects, including vicine, charanti, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, and polypeptide-p, an insulin-like molecule.
These drugs either operate alone or in synergy to lower blood sugar levels.
It is also known that bitter melon includes a lectin, which works similarly to insulin in the brain to suppress hunger and lower blood glucose levels through acting on peripheral tissues. The hypoglycemia impact that results from eating bitter melon is thought to be caused mainly by this lectin.
Many clinical trials have been done to determine the effectiveness of bitter melon in managing diabetes.
Four-week clinical trial’s findings were published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in January 2011. They demonstrated that individuals with type 2 diabetes who consumed 2,000 mg of bitter melon daily had considerably lower blood glucose levels than those who consumed 1,000 mg of metformin daily.
While a study published in the March 2008 edition of Chemistry and Biology discovered that bitter melon boosted cellular uptake of glucose and improved glucose tolerance, other earlier research has also suggested a link between consumption of bitter melon and improved glycemic management.
For the best results, it is ideal for people with type 2 diabetes to speak with a dietitian before making any dietary changes and to have routine blood sugar monitoring tests.
2. Prevents Obesity
Significant co-morbidities that contribute to the development of diabetes include obesity and dyslipidemia. Accordingly, the effectiveness of bitter melon in preventing these two co-morbid disorders has also been studied, largely using animal models.
Supplementation with the methanol fraction of bitter melon dramatically reduced hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol diet in a dose-dependent manner.
Due to the high fiber structure and low-calorie count, bitter melon helps people lose weight. Adipose cells, which are responsible for storing fat in the body, are prevented from forming and expanding.
It also enhances metabolism, and the antioxidants aid in the body’s detoxification, which overall reduces fat.
Bitter melon has been proposed to be added to the diets of people with pancreatic cancer since it can interfere with the production of glucose and also help slow the growth of these cells.
Moreover, bitter melon aids in the prevention of several additional cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and liver cancers.
4. Detox effect
Oxidants are produced as specific metabolic waste products or produced as by-products from exposure to the environment. This frequently results in aging or other degenerative illnesses.
Antioxidant-rich meals can prevent or fight such problems.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that bitter foods, such as bitter melon, purify the body and help with digestion. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medical system that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Due to its powerful antioxidant content, bitter melon has a purifying effect on the body and helps in eliminating free radicals.
5. Skin health
Bitter melon provides a variety of skin-beneficial essence.
Health professionals have discovered that the bitter melon’s natural substance has a calming impact on the skin, making it “effective” for treating psoriasis, eczema, and other skin diseases while also making the skin whiter and brighter.
In addition to acting as a digestive stimulant, bitter melon may also help with indigestion.
Saliva production is believed to be increased by bitter herbs, which also encourage the formation of stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
They are, therefore, specifically used when there is low stomach acid but not when there is heartburn (where stomach acid could make you feel pain).
7. Kidney stones – pain relief
Kidney stones are a highly painful health condition. Kidney stones might be naturally broken down by bitter melon and then removed from the body.
Bitter melon lowers high acid levels, which contribute to kidney stones. To make a nutritious and healing tea, combine warm spring water and bitter melon powder.
Can You eat bitter melon every day?
Bitter melon should be eaten as a fruit or as powder, juice, or supplement.
Nutritionists recommend 50-100 milliliters of bitter melon juice each day, or around 2-3 ounces spread out throughout the day, or one tiny bitter melon per day.
If taking bitter melon as a supplement, discussing the appropriate dosage with your doctor is essential since some dietary supplements may lessen or intensify the effect of prescription drugs.
What are the side effects of bitter melon?
A person may suffer the following symptoms if they take too much bitter melon, whether as food or a supplement:
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea
- Vomiting and nausea in children
- Low blood sugar, especially in individuals that are using medication for diabetes.
It is not recommended for pregnant women to consume bitter melon in any form since it may increase the risk of contractions, bleeding, and pregnancy loss.
There has to be more research done before it can be determined whether bitter melon—either as fruit or supplement—may safely and affordably lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels in case the bitter melon interferes with your diabetes medication and causes dangerously low blood sugar levels.