Bitter melon is characterized by its bitter taste and is known for its many amazing health benefits. However, you have really understood those uses. So let AnCu Life help you know more about the effects of bitter melon on health and the notes when choosing to use this food!
1. Some features of bitter melon
Bitter gourd has the scientific name Momordica charantia. Bitter melon is a climbing plant that grows in the tropics and subtropics, in the same family as cucurbits and cucumbers. This is the most bitter of all fruits and vegetables.
The length of the wire body can grow to 5m. Bitter gourd leaves have 3-7 deeply separated lobes, about 4-12cm wide and hairy. The male and female flowers of bitter melon are different in color.
The fruit shape is oblong and the outer wrinkled, markedly resembling nodules. The fleshy layer surrounds the seed cavity, the middle is filled with a large nodule and seeds. When fully ripe, bitter melon turns orange and soft. When raw, it is green or slightly yellow (depending on the variety of bitter melon).
Bitter melon comes in many varieties and is grown throughout the countries of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Depending on the variety, the shape, color and bitterness of bitter melon will be different.
Most of the bitter gourd varieties in China have an oblong shape of about 20 – 30cm, green color (even with a little yellow) and have large nodules next to small nodules. While Indian bitter melon, the fruit has a narrower oblong shape with 2 pointed ends along with the surface of small, dark green nodules.
2. Nutritional value of bitter melon
Bitter melon is one of the foods that provide many important nutrients for the body.
On average, every 100g of bitter melon includes:
– Energy: 21 kcal
– Water: 93.95g
– Carbohydrates: 4.26g
– Fiber: 2.1g
– Vitamin C: 89.4mg
– Iron: 0.77mg
– Vitamin A: 426 IU
The composition of vitamins A, C, folate and fiber in bitter melon contains a lot. In addition, there are other beneficial antioxidants such as catechin, gallic acid, epicatechin and chlorogenic acid that help protect cells from disease, especially cancer.
3. The benefits of bitter melon
Here are the most prominent effects of bitter melon that you should know to have a reasonable diet from this fruit:
Helps reduce blood sugar
Many studies have been tested on different scales, with the same results: bitter melon can contribute to long-term improvements in blood sugar levels, positively affecting the index of fructosamine and hemoglobin A1c .
According to a 3-month study on 24 adults with diabetes, the results showed that when taking 2,000mg of bitter melon daily, it was able to reduce blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c. In addition, bitter melon also reduces fructosamine – a factor that helps control blood sugar.
In addition, other evidence shows that bitter melon also increases insulin secretion by the pancreas, which reduces glucose absorption in the intestine, instead increasing the ability to absorb and use glucose in peripheral tissues. The result is a decrease in blood sugar.
However, we still need to have more tests to prove: how bitter melon really affects the blood sugar levels of the majority, instead of testing on the body of people. have diabetes.
Helps prevent cancer
According to the results of test-tube studies, bitter melon has the ability to fight cancer in the stomach, colon, lung, oropharynx and breast cancer, such as:
– Bitter melon extract is effective in killing cancer cells in the stomach, colon, lung and nasopharynx.
– Bitter melon extract can also prevent the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, even kill cancer cells.
And until now, there are still many other studies going on to prove that: when consumed with bitter melon in daily food, it will affect the development and growth of cancer cells.
When cholesterol is high, fatty plaques can build up in the arteries, making the heart work harder to pump blood to the organs, leading to the body’s susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.
Several animal studies have shown that: bitter melon extract can lower cholesterol levels and contribute to heart health:
A test on rats (following a high cholesterol diet), it was observed that: the use of bitter melon extract significantly reduced total cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol, LDL and cholesterol. neutral.
Another test on mice showed similar results.
Support weight loss
Fiber is contained in bitter melon but contains few calories (for every 100g of raw bitter melon there is 2.1g of fiber), so this is a food that helps in weight loss as well as belly fat. Fiber will make your digestive system work slower, help you feel full longer and avoid cravings.
In addition, according to some studies, bitter melon also has a useful effect in burning fat, supporting the weight loss process more effectively. Like the results of a study on 42 adults (including 21 men and 21 women) showed: they lost an average of 1.3 cm in waist circumference after adding bitter melon to their diet for 7 weeks.
Furthermore, another study in rats (with a high-fat diet) observed that: bitter melon extract reduced their body mass compared to baseline.
4. Note when using bitter melon
Although bitter melon has high nutritional value and benefits for health, you should also note some problems when using this food.
Cause side effects
Consuming too much bitter melon in a short time can cause harm to health such as making the body vomit, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Consider using for pregnant women
A woman’s body during pregnancy is often sensitive to many foods, especially affecting the development and safety of the fetus.
Because it contains many compounds and may have some that will affect the fetus or cause uterine contractions, bleeding, premature birth and even miscarriage, bitter melon does not seem to be recommended in the diet. pregnant women’s diet. However, this still needs to be studied further before conclusions can be drawn.
Therefore, pregnant women should be considered and consulted with a doctor before choosing to use bitter melon.
Suffering from some other illness
If you have a health problem, talk to your doctor before choosing foods to avoid making the condition worse, or affecting the effectiveness of the medication you are taking. use.
For example: Bitter melon has an impact on blood sugar, so it will affect your health if you are taking blood sugar-lowering drugs.
5. How to choose and buy delicious bitter melon
To absorb optimal nutrients from bitter melon, you should also pay attention to choosing fresh and delicious bitter melon by applying some tips that AnCu Life suggests below:
Should choose bitter melon with tiny veins as much as possible, the fruit is safer, not abused chemicals and fertilizers. Because with the bitter melon fruit has a bulging body, shiny skin and dark green color, often used stimulants to develop.
In addition, you should also choose bitter melons that have an outer skin that is not scratched or crushed. The grip feels firm, not soft, mushy and the outside color is even.
You should give priority to buying bitter melon at supermarkets or reputable stores, with clear product origins to ensure health. At the same time, when preliminary processing, it is necessary to soak in diluted salt water for 15 minutes and rinse with clean water 2-3 times to reduce dirt and pesticides.
6. Attractive dishes from bitter melon
After knowing the nutritional value and how to choose delicious bitter melon, go to the kitchen to immediately make attractive dishes for your family from this fruit! Such as:
Stuffed bitter melon
This is a familiar soup on the rice tray of Vietnamese families. The meat filling is stuffed inside the bitter gourd fruit, which looks very attractive with the sweet and fragrant broth from pork bones. The rich, lumpy flesh of the black fungus is mixed with the smooth and bitter taste of the melon fruit.
Bitter gourd with chili peppers
Bitter gourd with chili is an attractive soup with many ingredients, you can eat it alone or use it with bread, instant noodles. The rich meat flavor combined with the bitter taste of melon and the fatty panther of quail eggs, brings an indescribable taste to you.
Bitter gourd salad – dried bitter melon salad
Dried fish bitter melon salad seems difficult to eat, but you can apply some tips to reduce the bitterness of bitter melon in the way that AnCu Life suggests below. Therefore, the dish has a slight bitter, crispy taste of bitter melon mixed with the salty taste of dried fish, especially the fat of mayonnaise.