8 Health Benefits Of Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd is a vegetable that is quite popular in Indonesian society. As the name suggests, namely bitter, the bitter taste gives a sensation when someone consumes it. In some countries, bitter gourd is known by different names. In Indonesia, bitter gourd is known as pare, in England, it is known as African cucumber, balsam apple, balsam pear, in Spain it is known as Amargoso, whereas in Tagalog it is known as ampalaya.

Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia L) has antioxidant activity that can be used to capture free radicals. Free radicals are known as the main cause of various chronic and degenerative diseases, for example, ageing, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and others. 

One of the compounds that play a role in the capture of free radicals is phenolic. Behind its bitter taste, bitter gourd has a phenolic content that is very useful in capturing free radicals. The higher the phenolic content in bitter gourd, the free radical scavenging activity also increases. 

Phenolic compounds have a very big role in efforts to capture free radicals compared to other compounds. The total phenolic content of bitter gourd is the largest antioxidant compound compared to other antioxidant compounds.

To be able to utilize the maximum phenolic content in bitter gourd plants, it is necessary to know the phenolic content in each part of the bitter gourd plant. From the results of research, it is known that the total phenolic content from highest to lowest in a row is the total phenolic content in ripe fruit, leaves, young fruit, and bitter gourd stalks. Whereas the most dominant type of phenolic compound in the bitter gourd is gallic acid

Bitter gourd contains various vitamins, such as vitamins A. C, E, B1, B2, B3, B9. Besides, bitter gourd also contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, and contains antioxidants such as phenols, and flavonoids

Nutrition in it makes bitter gourd a fruit that is rich in benefits. Here are various benefits of bitter gourd for the health of your body.

1. Controlling blood sugar
Bitter gourd has functional properties like insulin, which helps carry glucose into cells for energy. Because of these properties, bitter gourd can help lower blood sugar.

Consumption of bitter gourd can help your cells get glucose as food. In addition, bitter gourd is also able to prevent the accumulation of glucose in the blood and transfer it to the liver, muscles, and fat tissue.

Even so bitter gourd is not an approved treatment or drug for prediabetes or diabetes, although there is research that bitter gourd can manage blood sugar.

2. Boosts immunity
Bitter gourd contains abundant antioxidants, one of which is vitamin C. Antioxidants form a defence against foreign objects that will damage the body. Antioxidants attack free radicals in the body and eliminate other harmful compounds that can cause several diseases.

3. Maintain eye health
Bitter gourd contains flavonoids such as α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which can improve your eye health. Thus, the other benefit of bitter gourd is that it can improve vision, especially at night, and slow down macular degeneration.

These compounds play a role in countering the effects of ageing, eliminating free radicals and reactive oxygen species which can cause many complications.

4. Relieve asthma
Bitter gourd can help reduce symptoms caused by certain respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and fever.

Bitter gourd has antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, which makes bitter gourd the ideal supplement for maintaining respiratory health.

5. Treat skin problems
Traditional Chinese medicine has used bitter gourd as a treatment for skin problems.

Antifungal and antibacterial compounds present in bitter gourd fight many skin infections including ringworm, scabies, and even psoriasis. Bitter gourd stops the activity of guanylate cyclase which can worsen psoriasis.

6. Help treat HIV and Herpes
A study showed that the phytochemical composition in bitter gourd can inhibit the activity of the human immunodeficiency virus. Bitter gourd provides additional effects in combination with AIDS treatment.

Besides, research also shows that bitter melon, with antiviral properties, can help treat patients with herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and prevent the spread of herpetic plaque to others.

7. Improve bone health and wound healing
Bitter gourd also contains vitamin K, which is an important nutrient in regulating normal blood clotting. Vitamin K also helps spread calcium throughout the body, thereby increasing bone density and reducing the risk of fractures.

8. Improve digestive health
Although bitter gourd is a low-calorie fruit, it is rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Dietary fibre helps good digestion and peristalsis of food and waste run smoothly through the digestive system. So that bitter gourd is good for relieving digestive disorders and preventing constipation.

Besides, the high charantin content can help increase your glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis, which can help you lose excess weight by reducing the storage of fat cells.

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