6 great reasons to include bitter gourd or karela in your diet

Do you hate karela or bitter gourd. These health benefits will make you fall in love with them

Read this in Hindi.

Bitter gourd or karela might have gained negative reputation because of its extreme bitter and unpleasant taste but it is also considered as a valuable vegetable and has been used in folk medicine since a long time for its numerous therapeutic benefits. Packed with some key nutrients and healthy components, bitter gourd could serve as a healthy addition to your diet. Here are some reasons you should overlook its bitter taste and consider eating it.

1# Maintains digestive health: Bitter gourd is a rich source of cellulose, which adds to you daily dietary requirement of fibre, improving digestion and helping prevent problems like dyspepsia and constipation. Besides it also contains antihelminthic compounds that can kill infectious worms in your stomach [1].

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2# Improves your immunity: Bitter gourd is an extremely rich source of Vitamin C which helps boost your immunity. It also exhibits powerful antiviral property capable of stimulating the immune system and activating natural killer cells in the body. It also helps stimulate anti-inflammatory responses of the intestinal and systemic environment [1,2].

3# Great for diabetics: Bitter gourd has certain phytonutrients like polypeptide P (insulin like protein) that mimicks the action of insulin and lowers blood sugar levels in those suffering from diabetes. Another compound known as vicine is a glycol alkaloid that has hyoglycemic effects. Besides some studies show that other phytochemicals like triterpene, proteid, steroid, alkaloid, inorganic, lipid and certain phenolic compounds are responsible for conferring bitter gourd with a potent anti-diabetic activity [1]. Read more about why bitter gourd or karela is good for diabetics.

4# Aids weight loss: A 100g serving of bitter gourd contains just 17 calories making it a great option for those who want to lose weight. It also stimulates the liver to secrete bile acids that are crucial for metabolising fat in the body. Although there is no evidence suggesting bitter melon can help weight loss in humans, a promising study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that consumption of bitter melon restricted weight gain and accumulation of body fat in without altering their energy intake in rats [3].

5# Prevents vision related disorders: Vision related disorders like cataracts and age related macular degeneration affects a lot of people when they age. If you want your vision to be as clear as it is now, then eat bitter gourds as it is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, nutrients that are great for your eyes. Additionally, vitamin C and antioxidants present in bitter gourd can reduce the damage to your eyes caused due to oxidative stress. Read about more natural remedies for better eyesight.

6# Keeps you looking beautiful: Bitter gourd has an abundant supply of fibre, vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals which help flush out the toxins and also prevent damage caused due to free radicals in your body.

Here are 10 simple and tasty ways to include bitter gourd or karela in your diet plan.

Image source: Getty images

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  1. Joseph B, Jini D. Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease 2013;3(2):93-102. doi:10.1016/S2222-1808(13)60052-3.
  2. Manabe M, Takenaka R, Nakasa T, Okinaka O. Induction of anti-inflammatory responses by dietary Momordica charantia L. (bitter gourd). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2003 Dec;67(12):2512-7. PubMed PMID: 14730127.
  3. Qixuan Chen, Laureen L. Y. Chan and Edmund T. S. Li. Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Reduces Adiposity, Lowers Serum Insulin and Normalizes Glucose Tolerance in Rats Fed a High Fat Diet. J. Nutr 2003; 133: 1088 1093.

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