Contrary to its name, bitter gourd is, in fact, sweet for health! Bitter gourd is grown abundantly in India where it is known as karela. And karela juice is considered by millions of Indians as a must-have health and superfood. Here are some health benefits of bitter gourd or karela juice.
Most people do not know that bitter gourd is not really a vegetable but a fruit. When this fruit of the bitter squash or melon is juiced, it is loaded with benefits. Bitter gourd (or karela) juice is a powerful combination of vitamins and more, especially vitamin C and flavonoids. It has twice the calcium of spinach, beta-carotene of broccoli, and the potassium of a banana -and it is fibre-rich. Here are eight reasons why you should add karela and its juice to your diet to help you eat right:
Want lower blood sugar levels? Take karela juice daily to avoid type-2 diabetes.
Bitter gourd contains a plant-based insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p or p-insulin which fights diabetes naturally. Studies show this insulin in bitter gourd can even control type-1 diabetes. Some diabetics can lower the dose of their diabetes medication simply by consuming bitter melon juice daily.
But this is a decision your healthcare provider or expert should make.
2. Bad Cholesterol
Want to make your heart healthy? Drink karela juice every day.
Bitter gourd also helps lower bad cholesterol levels in the body, thereby lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. Indian doctors and dieticians often recommend that we add bitter gourd to our daily diet because it is anti-inflammatory. Also, karela is rich in iron and folic acid which lowers the risk of stroke and keeps your heart healthy. Karela is also rich in potassium which absorbs excessive sodium in your body, thereby controlling blood pressure.
Want to cure a hangover after a night out drinking, or cleanse your liver?
Drink a glass of bitter gourd juice to remove alcohol and other toxins in your liver. Karela juice is healthy for the liver and the entire digestive system. It prevents liver failure by activating the antioxidant nature of enzymes in the liver. Plus karela improves bladder function.
4. Weight Loss
Want to lose weight?
Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. There are only 57 calories in 1 cup of cooked bitter gourd: 58%fat, 36% carbs, 7% protein. Eating karela keeps you feeling full, further helping you achieve your weight loss goals. Bitter gourd juice can even treat obesity by preventing the body from producing new fat cells.
Want to stop getting sick easily or fight off cancer? Add karela to your diet.
Bitter gourd boosts your immune system because it is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight viruses and bacteria, from minor allergies to cancer. Bitter melon may possess anti-carcinogen and anti-tumour properties, lowering breast, cervical and prostate cancer risks. Although it is still yet to be confirmed, early lab tests suggest that phytochemicals within bitter melons may be able to treat HIV infection.
Want to improve your eyesight? Add bitter gourd juice to your diet.
Drinking bitter gourd juice can prevent eye problems such as cataracts and poor vision. Bitter gourds are an excellent source of flavonoids like beta-carotene, vitamin A and lutein. It even helps in getting rid of dark circles!
Want flawless skin and lustrous locks? Bitter gourd juice is your answer to getting gorgeous naturally.
Powerful anti-oxidants along with vitamin A and C delay premature skin ageing and smoothen wrinkles. Karela juice is also anti-acne, anti-eczema and psoriasis because it acts as a blood purifier. Plus it gives sun protection! You can consume karela whole by steaming it, and you can juice it. Or, you can apply bitter gourd juice topically to your scalp to reduce hair loss, greying, dandruff and itchiness. Just mix it with some yoghurt and to repair split-ends, rough hair. Nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, biotin and zinc make hair shiny and youthful.
Want to cure constipation?
Eat bitter gourd whole because it has plenty of fibre and the juice can ease indigestion. Karela promotes bowel movement and rids constipation.
A word of caution..
Karela juice is considered to be a superfood.
But please do not go overboard.
Experts recommend you take 30 ml bitter gourd juice daily. Excessive karela juice can lead to abdominal pain, and pregnant women too should watch how much bitter gourd they consume.