The bitterest vegetable you are sure to ever taste is the bitter melon. There is a reason why “bitter” has made it to its name. It is also called bitter gourd and Momordica charantia. The name “charantia” refers to the charantin content of bitter melon that is hypoglycemic. This bitter vegetable has many health benefits, including slimming. For people who are interested in bitter melon and weight loss, here are three reasons why eating bitter melon leads to a good healthy figure.
First, bitter gourd contains many minerals and vitamins while having a minimum of calories. The USDA National Nutrient database reports that for every 100 grams of bitter melon, there are 17 Kcal Energy, 0.040 mg Riboflavin, and 0.040 Thiamin. It is said to be rich in potassium (319 mg), water (93.95 g), phosphorus (31 mg), calcium (19 mg), magnesium (17 mg), sodium (6 mg), carbohydrates (4.32 g), dietary fiber (3 g), sugar (1.95 g), protein (1 g), zinc (0.77 mg), iron (0.43 mg), copper (0.034 mg), dietary folate (72 mcg), folate (72 mcg), food folate (5.6 mcg), selenium (0.2 mcg), and manganese (0.089 mg), as well as Vitamins A, B1-3, C, E and K, for every hundred grams. This shows it is one of the most nutritious vegetables, even if it is very bitter in taste, not to mention ugly in appearance: it looks like a withered cucumber for its warts and ridges. Few people know it, but it is actually a vine that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, which makes it similar to the cucumber, squash and pumpkin in some ways, even if its taste is significantly different. But thanks to this bitter taste, aphids, caterpillars and insects won’t come near it, which makes it a low-maintenance and high-nutrition addition to any garden.
The second reason in favor of eating it would be in the fact that bitter melon contains compounds that block glucose from overcrowding the blood and produce insulin-like substances. These do not only treat diabetes, but also make losing weight easy. As we ingest food, we build up glucose (sugar) in our blood and too much of it would block our arteries. To check this, our body produces insulin to control glucose levels. However, as we eat too many sugary foods and our system produces too much insulin in response to the glucose, we could become insulin resistant. This condition characterizes the diabetes mellitus disease. Adding bitter melon to your diet helps you body effectively balance blood sugar levels, so losing weight becomes easier since you won’t be craving for more food.
In Asia where the bitter melon vine thrives, people prefer their bitter melon dish bitter. Some take it raw, mixed with onions and tomatoes. The Chinese believe that the more bitter the dish, the more medicinal it is.
The third reason for supplementing your diet with it is in the effect of the taste itself: you lose appetite. While number two reason explained what’s going on in our blood cells as we eat bitter melon, up in our palate, the third reason translates to not wanting to eat more food because of the bitter taste we just ingested.
Traditional healing and herbal detoxification suggest the eating of bitter foods to trigger weight loss. Traditional Indian medicine suggests the following foods: ginger, papaya, mango, pineapple, and bitter melon fruit and its leaves.
Bitter melon leaves or bitter greens are perfect for deliciously bitter soups and teas. Both the melons and leaves are distributed as herbal weight loss supplements. Bitter melon and weight loss go hand in hand regardless of how the bitter vegetable is packaged, prepared and ingested.