Have you ever heard of Momordica charantia? Or wait, what about karela? Now don’t get scared. These are just a couple of other names for a bitter gourd, which is also known as bitter melon or bitter squash in English. The first thing that comes to my mind seeing it is the bitterness in the name. They are dark or light green in color depending on the region where they are grown. Though they taste very bitter, they are filled with many beneficial antioxidants and essential vitamins.
Its seeds are white when unripe and that turn red when they are ripe. The vegetable-fruit turn reddish-orange when ripe and becomes even bitterer.
Bitter gourd thrives in hot and humid climates, so are commonly found in Asian countries and South America.
Westerners may not be so used to bitter melons, so may find them more difficult to consume. But if you can generally take the bitter taste, you may be able to take this too. Try it, at least for all its healthful virtues!
Karela Benefits for Health:
Bitter gourd has multiple health benefits. It is mostly consumed for triggering the blood sugar level. Diabetes is a common ailment that affects many people today. Regular intake of bitter gourd juice helps prevent the rise of blood sugar levels. It also helps cure insulin resistance without taking any external medication.
If not detected at the right stage, cancer is almost an incurable disease. Karela benefits to prevent some particular types of cancer. It also helps trigger leukemic cancer cells effectively.
Karela is an excellent natural antioxidant. The antioxidant is essential for removing toxins from the body. At the same time, it helps to rejuvenate the body cells and prevents free radicals. The juice of karela is the finest tonic for those who are addicted to smoking. Taking karela juice helps to cleanse the nicotine layer from the system.
Asthma patients can highly benefit by having karela juice. It helps cure a chronic cough and breathing problems by removing the sputum that accumulates within the lungs and the respiratory tract.
Karela juice is excellent for the skin. It helps to remove the fine lines from the upper surface of the skin. Having this juice will also prevent premature aging. It helps cure and purify blood from within the system.
Karela enhances digestion. It increases the production of enzymes that aid the digestion process.
Regular consumption of karela juice is best for triggering the condition of an HIV patient. Studies conducted on natural antidotes of HIV/AIDS establish the goodness of bitter guard in preventing further damaging of the skin cells.
8. Weight loss:
Bitter gourd is excellent for weight loss. Karela benefits to weight loss is attributed to its high fibre and low carbohydrates and calories content. It makes an ideal diet for those who are on a weight loss program.
9. Immune system:
Karela helps boost the immune system.
Regular consumption of karela helps to cure constipation.
Nutrition Value of Karela:
Karela is an excellent source of all essential nutrients. The amazing health benefits of karela are all attributed by its excellent nutrient content. Be it the vitamins or the minerals, karela has it all. Regular consumption of karela juice fulfills the deficiency of major nutrients that we require on a daily basis. It is a rich store of all water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C, B1, B2, and B3. It also contains minerals like zinc, alkaloids, manganese, and folic acid. The vitamins and minerals in the bitter guard are much higher when compared to other green vegetables that are popularly available.
Choose unripe bitter melons that are firm, like how you would a cucumber. Avoid those that have turned orange or have soft spots. Ripe bitter melons can be excessively bitter.
Store bitter melons in the vegetable bin in the refrigerator which has the right temperature. It should keep for three to four days.
Keeping bitter melons at room temperature or with other fruits and vegetables will hasten the melon to ripen and become more bitter, due to the emission of ethylene gas.
Clean your bitter melon under cold running water and brush with a soft vegetable brush. To prepare, slice the melon lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. To lessen the bitter flavor, soak it in salt water for about half an hour before juicing/cooking.
The smaller variety is more bitter than the bigger one. To help make bitter gourd juice more palatable, take it with honey, or add carrot or apple juice. For diabetics, drink the juice with green apple juice.
Do not consume more than two ounces of bitter melon, or more than two melons a day. Excessive consumption may cause mild abdominal pain or diarrhea. Diabetics taking hypoglycemic drugs will need to alter the dosage of their drugs if they consume bitter melon on a regular basis. Please consult your doctor.
Pregnant women should avoid taking too much bitter gourd or its juice as it may stimulate the uterus that may lead to preterm labor.