Nutritional Benefits of Karela
by MedPlus Team, November 19, 2018
Top reasons why karela must be in your diet
Bitter Melon, As a fruit that also has healthy properties of a vegetable, bitter melon contains a wide variety of Nutrients. The Bitter Melon/Bitter gourd is known as Karela in Hindi, Kakarakai in Telugu. This karela helps in controlling diabetes. It has been identified by many cultures as having great medicinal value. In this article, We also tell how to make karela more palatable.
Nutritional benefits of karela/Bitter gourd:
Bitter gourd is a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins like A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, and B9. It is rich in calcium and beta-carotene. Bitter gourd contains various anti-oxidants like phenol, flavonoid, and other anti-inflammatory compounds.
It helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels, thus helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It also boosts the immune system, enhances respiratory health, improves skin health and contains anti-aging properties.
Great for diabetics
Karela contains a polypeptide, an insulin-like compound called and charantin, which has anti-diabetic properties. These components usually help in lowering the blood sugar levels. It also helps to prevent unpredictable insulin spikes and drops by regulating the metabolism and utilize the consumed sugar levels. Bitter gourd serves as a hypoglycemic agent. It is a great source of soluble fiber and is low in the glycemic index, which helps in reducing the blood sugar level.
Karela is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Regular consumption of bitter gourd contributes to relieving constipation and indigestion. It supports and maintains healthy gut bacteria, which is useful in digestion and nutrient absorption.
Boosts weight loss
It is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. Together these properties help in weight management. It keeps you full for a longer time, so you avoid over-eating. It encourages the liver to secrete bile acids that are essential for metabolizing fat in the body. Moreover, karela contains 80-85% water, which is a universal hunger suppressant. It also enhances metabolism.
How to consume bitter gourd
Karela can be consumed in vegetable form, juice, or can be prepared in a smoothie by adding apples and spinach to it. You can also include it as a soup, prepare paratha and also make it as chutney and pickle.
How to make bitter gourd less bitter:
Sprinkle some salt on the bitter gourd pieces and let it marinate for about 10 minutes. This will lower the bitter taste of the gourd making it more palatable.
Soak the karela in tamarind juice for a few minutes.
Pour boiled mixture of sugar and vinegar in equal parts on the bitter gourd and let it sit for some time.
Shallow fry it in olive oil.