Bitter Melon Supplement

Bitter Melon (Karela)

Bitter melon, bitter gourd or karela is another wonder fruit (vegetable) with extraordinary properties that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It was later introduced into China in the 14th century. It grows in the form of a vine and is oblong in shape with a jagged, ridged exterior. It is extremely bitter in taste. However, it is cooked using different recipes and consumed with relish too.

As far as health benefits are concerned, bitter melon is considered to have many important properties. It contains an insulin-like peptide called charantin, and also lectins or non-digestible sugar-binding proteins, which help reduce the amount of sugar absorbed by the digestive system. With a healthy diet, this helps maintain blood sugar at normal levels, and may therefore be used in the treatment of diabetes.

Bitter Melon has nutritive properties, is rich in vitamins and in minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc and phosphorous, and also in fibre and powerful antioxidants. Moreover, it is rich in iron content too. These properties make bitter melon an important disease-fighting fruit.

Bitter melon helps in inhibiting conversion of sugar into fat and stimulating breakdown of fat in the body thus assisting in managing weight gain, the bane of most health-related issues. In addition, bitter melon or karela works as a good blood purifier and powerful detoxifier, supports liver health and the function of a normal immune system, promotes the natural metabolism of the body, the high content of fibre helps in digestion and in maintaining a normal level of triglycerides and cholesterol. Several tests conducted on animals indicate that bitter melon has the potential to lower the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.

Intake of bitter melon in the form of karela extract capsules can be bought as a herbal dietary supplement and each capsule is said to contain 500 mg of extract, equivalent to 5g fresh bitter melon. Various methods of preparation and dosage are prevalent and all parts of the plant are used.

Although the fruit has many benevolent properties, it is suggested that it be used with caution. There is need for more research to be conducted and standardization to be attained. Therefore, it cannot be recommended as a standard complementary remedy for managing blood glucose levels, before one is certain about its long-term benefits.

Also read our blog about Health benefits of Ashwagandha and Turmeric