Bitter melon is a plant native to India, but it is also widely used in cooking in China as well. A tripical vine, it is grown all over the world, from Africa to the Caribbean.
As its name implies, the fruit of the plant is extremely bitter – making it something of an acquired taste, especially among people who are used to a Western diet. But despite its unusual appearance and flavor, bitter melon has a host of health benefits that make it a great addition to anyone’s diet.
1. Bitter Melon And Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common disorders in the world, both in developed and developing countries, and not all patients with diabetes manage it solely through the means of Western medicine. Some estimates speculate that around one third of diabetes patients use some form of complementary or alternative medicine.
Bitter melon has received a lot of attention recently as a food with potent antidiabetic properties, used widely in traditional medicines for the treatment of diabetes in Asia, South America, India and East Africa. Bitter melon contains over 225 different medicinal constituents, but it is known for having been “used as dietary supplements and ethnomedicine throughout centuries for relieving symptoms and conditions related to what we known in modern days as diabetes.”(1)
It works by affecting the metabolism and regulating blood sugar levels, two things that individuals with diabetes often struggle to control.
2. Bitter Melon And Obesity
The effects of bitter melon on metabolism make it a unique food with implications for the treatment and management of obesity, a condition that has a high comorbidity with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. The treatment of obesity is strongly related to the treatment of diabetes, but is also unique unto itself, as the two don’t necessarily always go hand in hand.
One paper explains that “[bitter melon] extracts and different compounds seem to exert their beneficial effects via several mechanisms… [which] mediated glucose, and fat metabolism in various tissues which are directly related to the beneficial effect of controlling and treating diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and obesity related cardiovascular complications.”(2)
3. Bitter Melon And Cancer
Although research on the subject is still in the experimental stage, there is strong evidence that bitter melon extract may be effective in the treatment of breast cancer tumors.
“Although there are effective drugs for treating advanced stages of breast cancers, women eventually develop resistance,” a recent study explains.
“One of the approaches to control breast cancer is prevention through diet, which inhibits one or more neoplastic events and reduces cancer risk… [Bitter melon extract] treatment of breast cancer cells resulted in a significant decrease in cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death.”(3)
Making Bitter Melon Part Of Your Diet
Cooking with bitter melon can be difficult, especially if you are not used to it. The fruit can be found in Asian and Indian markets, and is commonly prepared by stir-frying it with sugar and salt. It can also be paired with sweet sauces, like mango chutney, and with mild meat like pork.
While the taste may take some getting used to, it’s a worthy food to introduce into your diet, especially if you are someone who struggles with weight related issues, or is living with diabetes.
- 5 Nutritional Hacks To Prevent Parkinson’s Disease
Don’t want to end up on a lifetime of medication to treat Parkinson’s disease? Well you don’t have to with …
- 5 Good Reasons to Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Sometimes a person may need to seriously think about how much alcohol they drink. Maybe it’s time to take a …
- These Things Happen to Your Body When You Eat Oatmeal Every Day
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” That’s hardly news. But what’s even more important is what you eat …
- Surprising Food Companies You Support When Buying Organic
(originally written by Willy Blackmore) Even if you avoid high-calorie, high fructose corn syrup–heavy foods, you might be paying the …
- Top 10 Sugary Breakfast Cereals to Avoid
If you think a bowl of cereal in the morning is the best way to start off your day, think …
- 6 Signs That You’re On a Good Diet
(originally written by David Sciola) Being of a Paleo persuasion, there are many foods I completely avoid that other diets …
- Here’s 600 Proven Reasons Why Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb
(originally written by Sayer Ji) There is a medicinal spice so timelessly interwoven with the origins of human culture and metabolism, so …
- 5 Everyday Foods That Can Help Prevent Kidney Stones
The pain from having a kidney stone can be excruciating. This is why it is vital you ensure you are …
- Native American “Root Beer”: A Homemade Tonic to Purify Your Blood
The root beer we find on the grocery store shelves today is a far cry from its healthful ancestor. Homemade …
- Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Can Eat Every Day
The links between chronic inflammation and increased risk of diseases like cancer are well documented – as one study puts …
- High Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Dangerous Heavy Metals
The enzyme, Xylose isomerase, is used to turn glucose to fructose in the high fructose corn syrup creation process; what …
- Nitrate-Rich Leafy Greens Amazingly ‘Good for The Heart’, Study Finds
A recent study by the Universities of Cambridge and Southampton has found that nitrate, found in leafy green vegetables, may …
- 5 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With Coconut Water
Coconut is a true superfood. It you don’t like the texture of coconut oil or coconut meat, you can still …
- Top 10 Summer Superfoods Your Body Is Craving
Diet is essential for maintaining optimum health, but what food should you be eating this summer? These superfoods are packed …
- This Is What Happens In Your Body When You Drink a Coke
What Does Coke Do To You Have you ever wondered what does coke do to you? Why Coke comes with …