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.
- Here’s Why It’s So Important to Know How To Reduce Antinutrients in Foods
Whole grains and veggies are great for you, but they can also be a double-edged sword. These foods contain many …
- Can’t Afford Organic All The Time? No Worries, These 15 Foods Have Virtually No Pesticides!
Foods that are pesticides free – Accessibility? While many health-conscious shoppers choose to buy organic produce, the reality is that …
- 5 Tasty Blueberry Recipes For The Whole Family
Blueberries are known for their abundance of health benefits. As a potent source of antioxidants, they combat free radicals and …
- The Effects of Chemicals in Processed Food Can Be Made Worse by The Presence of Other Chemicals
We know that chemicals in processed foods are bad for us, but they may be even worse for us than …
- Can You Burn Calories And Fat By Drinking Coffee
Have you ever thought, while sweating away on the treadmill or the stair climber, that it might be nice to …
- 8 Artificial Food Dyes That Are Bad For You
Food coloring is a tactic the food industry has utilized for decades. From those marshmallows floating in your bowl of …
- The World’s Most Powerful Anti-Viral Vitamin Comes From The Sun
Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a global pandemic. As one study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition …
- When You Find Out What Onion Skins Can Do For You, You’ll Stop Throwing Them Away…Who Knew?!
Americans toss forty percent of the food they buy. On top of that, most people throw away (hopefully at least …
- 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 …
- 10 Dead Simple Food Rules to Live by for Flawless Skin
There are many foods beneficial for our skin, but few match the nutrient capabilities of the following in terms of …
- 10 Probiotic-Rich Foods To Keep Your Digestive Tract Happy
It’s important to keep your digestive system chock-full of probiotics to promote a healthy digestive system. Probiotics are bacteria that …
- Cauliflower and Chia Seed Crust With Heart, Cancer Prevention and Brain Benefits
Pizza probably isn’t what you think of as a healthy meal, but there are many tips and tricks that improve …
- 6 Healthy Breakfast Recipes
Did you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It’s never a good idea to skip …
- 5 Healthy Swiss Chard Recipes to Boost Your Intake of Vitamin K
Swiss chard is vastly underrated in the vegetable kingdom. With 16% more iron than kale, it is also an excellent …
- 14 Fast Food and Restaurant Employees Confess the One Item You Should Never Order
(originally written by Charisma Madarang) The following question was posed on Reddit: “Fast food workers of Reddit, what should we NOT …