Bitter melon may be the most bitter of all vegetables but it is also the most nutritious. It has minerals and vitamins that could not be found together in common vegetables. It has twice the beta carotene found in broccoli, twice the calcium in spinach and twice the phosphorous in banana. It is rich in folate, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber and vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3. Yet all these are packaged in an intensely hard-to-swallow bitter flavor. But with a bitter melon capsule, the problem is solved. Bitter melon capsules and supplements provide all the nutrients and therapeutic benefits of bitter melon without the bitterness.
Bitter melon is useful and helpful to diabetic patients. The bitter vegetable is believed to treat diabetes mellitus by stimulating the production of insulin and inhibiting glucose to form or clog in the bloodstream. Bitter melon contains charantin, a hypoglycemic compound, and polypeptide P, an insulin-like compound, which both help lower blood sugar level.
Bitter melon is also known as bitter gourd, balsam pear, karela, ampalaya or wild cucumber. The bitter melon fruit looks like a cucumber but with a warty exterior. It is best eaten when green and unripe. As it turns orange, it becomes even more bitter and begins to rot. Inside the hollow pod are white seeds that turn red when ripe. Not many people eat the seeds because they often cause nausea and vomiting, although still edible and nutritional. Pregnant women should not eat too much bitter melon.
The bitter melon vine thrives in the tropical and non-tropical climates of China, India, Southeast Asian countries, Africa and the Caribbean. People in these parts of the world have traditionally consumed bitter melon as a popular vegetable and medicinal food. Leaves are boiled in broths and soups, while the melons are cooked in different types of dishes or sometimes eaten raw with onions and tomatoes. It is also made into juices and tea. But not all locals enjoy the intensely bitter taste.
Bitter melon capsules, pills, tablets and supplements are now widely popularized and distributed around the world. One example is the Solaray bitter melon supplement. A single capsule has bitter melon extract with 75mg 15% charantin, gelatin (capsule) and cellulose. The recommended dosage is one capsule 2 times a day with a glass of water.
Although bitter melon capsules are natural and organic, they should not be taken without first consulting a physician. Bitter melon supplements could lower blood sugar levels and therefore the physician may adjust the prescribed doses of oral insulin.
Solaray is the manufacturer of the Bitter Melon Extract 500mg that is available online for $10.95 for every bottle of 30 capsules. While growing bitter melon vines in parts of the United States is a challenge, bitter melons are not difficult to find in Asian produce markets around the country. As a food supplement, the bitter melon capsule should not replace prescribed medicines. The US Food and Drug Administration labels herbal supplements in such a way that they should not be distributed in order to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, but simply to “supplement” prescribed medicines.