Article originally written by Pushkar Joshi. B.V.Sc and AH. IAAS, Paklihawa
Bitter gourd(Momordica charantia) is an important vegetable crop and is grown for its immature tuberculate fruits which have a unique bitter taste. This fruit is found in tropical and sub-tropical(24-27 °c is considered for the optimum for the growth. The seed germinates best when temperature is higher than 18°c) and belongs to family cucurbitaceae.It is a luscious, climbing vine with slightly fuzzy stem clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious flowers. It is widely grown in Asia, Africa and Caribbean for its edible fruit.
Bitter gourd is originated from the south Indian state of Kerala and was introduced into china in 14th century. It is widely used in cuisines of East Asia, South Asia and southeast Asia.
There are different varieties of Bitter gourd;
Arka Harit, Pusa Vishesh, Pusa Do-mausami, Pusa Hybrid 1, Priya(VK1)*, Priyanka, Panjab 14, Kalyanpur Baramasi, Hirkani, Phule Green.
- Helps in maintaining blood sugar level:
Bitter gourd contains an insulin like compound called polypeptide-p or p-insulin which has been shown to control diabetes naturally.
Bitter gourd increases the uptake of glucose and improves glycemic control.
2. Hot water bitter gourd can kill cancer cells:
Hot water bitter gourd(Cut 2-3 thin slices of bitter gourd and put in a glass, pour hot water, water will become alkaline) will emit an anti-cancer substance. This is a new development in the world of natural medicine, useful in treating cancer.
Hot water bitter gourd extract will affect the cyst and tumor.
Using bitter gourd in treating cancer, it will only kill the malignant cells of tumor. It will not affect the healthy cells.
3. Lowers bad cholesterol level:
Helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the body which then reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
4. Helps in weight loss:
Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. It keeps you full for longer and hence, it can easily fit in your weight loss.
5. For glowing skin and lustrous hair:
Bitter gourd juice has powerful anti-oxidant along with vitamin A and vitamin C which prevent premature skin ageing and diminishes wrinkles. The nutrient vitamin A, vitamin C, biotin and zinc impart shine and luster to your lock of hair.
6. Cardiovascular maintenance:
Amino acid and polyphenol oxidase in bitter gourd, can balance high blood pressure, blood circulation, reduce blood clotting and can prevent the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis.
Fig: Vein thrombosis
7. Boost your immune system:
Antioxidant works as powerful defense mechanism against illness and also help fight free redical damage that can cause various types of cancer.
8. Strengthens eyesight:
Bitter gourd have compound like Beta-carotene and vitamin A which are healthy for eye sight.
How to consume bitter gourd:
Bitter gourd can be consumed in vegetable form, juice, or can made in smoothie by adding apples and spinach to it. You can also have it as a soup, tea, in the form of baked chip, make parathas from it and turn it into a chuthey and pickles.
How to make bitter gourd less bitter:
- Sprinkle salt all over the bitter gourd pieces and let it sit for about 10 minutes, this will minimize the bitter taste of the gourd making it more palatable.
- Soak it in tamarind juice for a few minutes.
- Boil equal parts sugar and vinegar. Pour this mixture on bitter gourd and let soak for sometimes.
- Saturate it in Olive oil.