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      7 Amazing health benefits of BITTER MELON
      05/07/2020 / By Divina Ramirez / Comments
      7 Amazing health benefits of BITTER MELON

      Momordica charantia, also known as bitter melon or bitter gourd, is a unique vegetable-fruit known for the numerous health benefits it provides. As the name implies, it is known for its distinctive bitter flavor. It is widely consumed across the globe, but it is more commonly cultivated in South America, Central America and tropical regions of Asia.

      The bitter melon is commonly consumed as a vegetable or juiced to create smoothies and juice cleanses. But it is also popularly used in traditional Caribbean medicine to treat obesity, inflammation and Type 2 diabetes due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It is also reported to possess anti-carcinogenic properties that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

      The following are the health benefits of the bitter melon.

      Contains vitamins and minerals

      According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), bitter melon contains the following:

      • Calories: 17 kcal
      • Carbohydrates: 3.70 g
      • Protein: 1.00 g
      • Fat: 0.17 g
      • Fiber: 2.80 g
      • Niacin: 0.400 mg
      • Riboflavin: 0.040 mg
      • Thiamin: 0.040 mg
      • Potassium: 296 mg
      • Calcium: 19 mg
      • Iron: 0.43 mg
      • Magnesium: 17 mg
      • Zinc: 0.80 mg

      Bitter melons are also an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes disease-causing free radicals.

      Relieves inflammation

      The bitter melon has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity. It contains bioactive plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as cucurbitane-type triterpenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, saponins, triterpene glycosides.

      The bitter melon is also known to interact with immune cells and regulate the immune system’s inflammatory response.

      Prevents oxidative stress

      Antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenols play an important role in the prevention of cellular damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals naturally occur as a result of the body’s various metabolic processes. However, an abundance of free radicals due to poor nutrition and lifestyle choices can damage cells, lipids, proteins and DNA. If left unchecked, free radicals can significantly increase the risk of chronic and degenerative diseases including atherosclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and degenerative eye disease.

      Regulates blood sugar levels

      Bitter melon is also known to lower blood sugar levels thanks to the antioxidants it contains. It can also restore insulin sensitivity in diabetic individuals. Bitter melon can also boost energy levels by stimulating glucose metabolism.

      Lowers cholesterol levels

      A high amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to plaque buildup along arterial walls, which increases the risk of heart attack, coronary heart disease and stroke. Several animal studies revealed that bitter melon can decrease LDL-cholesterol levels significantly, thereby supporting overall cardiovascular health.

      Reduces the risk of cancer

      Several studies suggest that bitter melons may possess anti-carcinogenic compounds that can inhibit the growth of malignant tumors. Extracts of the bitter melon are also known to induce apoptosis or programmed cell death of cancer stem cells.

      Aids weight loss

      Bitter melons are low-calorie fruits that contain high amounts of fiber. Fiber promotes digestion and regulates bowel movement. It is also processed by the gastrointestinal tract very slowly, which helps keep you full for longer periods of time. Consuming bitter melons can increase your fiber intake without extra calories, thereby promoting weight loss.

      Bitter melon is quite easy to prepare. Despite its unique flavor, the bitter melon is a versatile vegetable-fruit that can be incorporated in different dishes and recipes. The bitter melon is not only rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, but it is also linked to numerous health benefits.

      Sources:

      LifeHack.org

      Nutrition-And-You.com

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