We’ve all heard of foods and plants that have been used by native people as cures. Some of them have been used for hundreds or thousands of years.
In most cases, they’re foods that we know and are used to seeing or eating. But every once in a while you come across something you’ve never heard of before. That’s definitely the case with bitter melon which is also known to some as bitter gourd.
Bitter melon is found mostly in Asia, Africa, and China.
It looks like a bigger version of a cucumber, but it’s a lighter green and it’s much bumpier. When the bitter melon is ripe its fruit turns orange.
It has red seeds that you can eat too. You can also plant the seeds to grow a plant yourself.
Though bitter melon is said to taste really bad (hence the name), people in Japan’s islands still eat it all the time. They claim that it’s a long life food because of its health benefits.Tweet
Whether that’s true or not, studies have shown that the fruit does offer some amazing health benefits.
2 Reasons to Try Bitter Melon (and a Warning)
1. Bitter Melon Lowers Blood Sugar
The top health benefit of bitter melon is that it helps control insulin levels and lowers blood sugar. It does this because it contains a compound called “charantin”.
Charantin helps the body make pancreatic beta cells. These cells help the body make insulin.
In people who have diabetes, the body destroys or hurts these cells.
Bitter melon also contains peptides and alkaloids. These are also helpful for managing blood sugar.
2. Bitter Melon Has Antiviral and Antibacterial Uses
Besides being a great food for people who have diabetes or who are at risk for the disease, bitter melon can also fight all kinds of diseases.
Studies have shown that it can fight stomach viruses like e.coli and salmonella. It may even kill herpes and HIV viruses.
People in the islands where it is grown believe that it will cure malaria and kill parasitic worms.
There are even studies that show that an extract made from the melon can stop the growth of prostate tumors. It has also been said to fight leukemia and other types of cancers.
There is a lot of active and promising research on this powerful fruit!
Bitter Melon is NOT for Everyone
If you want to see whether this natural approach to high blood sugar will work for you, it’s important that you speak with your doctor first.
If you’re already taking drugs that lower your glucose levels, adding the fruit’s powerful effect could lead to complications.
The fruit and its extracts are also not good for anybody who is pregnant or breastfeeding, as it causes the uterus to contract.
Can You Find Bitter Melon at Your Local Supermarket?
Bitter melon is not yet a staple in the produce market, so you may need to hunt for it a bit.
Your best bet for finding the whole fruit is in Asian stores. It’s also available as a supplement in health food stores, and as a juice.
You can also find concentrated bitter melon extracts and seeds made into pills, capsules or powders that are available for purchase online. Just be sure you buy from a company you trust if you go this route.
Yours in health and happiness,
P.S. Please share this article with your friends and I welcome your comments below. Have you ever tried bitter melon?