Bitter Gourd (Karela) Benefits And Side Effects
Bitter Gourd (Karela) Benefits And Side Effects

Bitter gourd is counted among select healthy vegetables. Many people do not like it due to its bitter taste, but it is beneficial in terms of health. You will be surprised to know that bitter gourd has the ability to reduce the effects and symptoms of many diseases. Keeping this in mind, in this article of StyleCrease, we are going to tell the benefits of bitter gourd for the body. Here you will get the necessary information regarding the benefits of eating bitter gourd and how it can be used. While reading the article, the reader must keep in mind that bitter gourd is not a cure for any of the diseases mentioned here, but it can definitely play a supporting role in their treatment.

Let us first get some general information about bitter gourd.

Table of contents

What is bitter gourd?

Bitter gourd is a green vegetable and is a member of the squash family. The scientific name of bitter gourd is Momordica Charantia. It is also known in English as Bitter Melon and Bitter Gord. In addition, it is called Corolla in Bengali, Hagalakayi in Kannada and Karela in Hindi. It is very popular in Africa, Caribbean, India and Middle Eastern countries. Even though it is bitter to eat, it is rich in medicinal properties ( 1 ). How is it beneficial for health, this information is given below.

Now know how this bitter vegetable can be beneficial for health.

Benefits of bitter gourd

Know below the benefits of eating bitter gourd for health.

1. Benefits of eating bitter gourd for diabetes

Bitter gourd can be taken to prevent diabetes. Actually, the research published on the website of NCBI – National Center for Biotechnology Information proves the antidiabetic properties of bitter gourd. The study also revealed that bitter gourd may exhibit hypoglycemic (hypoglycemic – reducing blood sugar) effects ( 2 ).

At the same time, a research done on animals has also seen the effect of the hypoglycemic effect of bitter gourd ( 3 ). Further research is needed on how effective this effect will be on humans. As a home remedy for diabetes, it can be consumed in balanced amounts on medical consultation.

2. Benefits of bitter gourd for weight loss

Bitter gourd can also play an effective role as a home remedy for weight loss . Actually, a scientific research has seen the benefits of bitter gourd for increasing weight. The study’s findings found that bitter gourd’s antiobesity (obesity-lowering properties) effect was found in high fat-consuming mice, leading to increased weight gain. Simultaneously an increase in lipid metabolism was found ( 4 ). At the moment, further research is still needed for its effect on humans.

3. Medicinal properties of bitter gourd to prevent cancer

Talking about the medicinal properties of bitter gourd, it can also help reduce the risk of cancer. Studies related to bitter gourd have revealed that bitter gourd has properties to reduce the risk of cancer. Research has also said about Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, bitter gourd can also be used in the treatment of diseases like cancer.

Research has said that the use of bitter gourd can reduce the risk of cancer by inhibiting the formation of cancer cells. It can help prevent prostate cancer and colon cancer ( 5 ). However, readers should keep in mind that cancer is a serious disease, so consuming only bitter gourd is unable to cure this disease. It is better that a person for cancer should give first priority to medical treatment and should take bitter gourd only after the advice of the doctor.

4. Benefits of eating bitter gourd for liver

Bitter gourd can be beneficial for liver. Indeed, a research conducted on mice has revealed its hepatoprotective (Hepatoprotective – liver protecting) effect. Also, its benefits can be seen in diseases like fatty liver. Fatty liver is a problem in which fat starts accumulating in the liver. It has been observed that excessive alcohol consumption can also cause this problem ( 6 ). The benefits of bitter gourd can be seen here. According to a research from National Taiwan University, bitter gourd extract can show positive effects on alcoholic fatty liver disease by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation ( 7 ) According to another research, bitter gourd, fat deposition during fatty liver disease increases. May help prevent ( 8 ).

5. Benefits of bitter gourd for cholesterol

Cholesterol can cause heart disease or there is a risk of heart attack ( 9 ). In such a situation, it is necessary to eat foods that can help balance or lower cholesterol levels. Bitter gourd can prove beneficial here. According to a research based on this topic, supplementation of bitter gourd extracts was given to mice consuming a diet containing cholesterol. This led to a decrease in their cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat present in the blood). From this study, it is believed that bitter gourd extracts in food products may be given as supplements for hypercholesterolemia (hypercholesterolemia-elevated cholesterol status). At the moment, further research needs to be done for its effect on humans ( 10 ).

6. Benefits of bitter gourd for constipation and piles

Bitter gourd can also be beneficial in problems like constipation and piles. Actually, bitter gourd has the properties of digesting food, which can help to ease bowel movements. Also, it can leave positive effects on piles. A research conducted on hemorrhoids patients found that extracts of bitter gourd leaves can help relieve constipation by easing bowel movements. Constipation is also a cause of hemorrhoids, so it can be said that bitter gourd juice can be helpful in constipation as well as hemorrhoids. For constipation and piles, juice of bitter gourd can be taken on medical advice ( 11 ) ( 12 ). At the moment, further research is still needed on this.

7. Benefits of bitter gourd for eyes

Bitter gourd can also be beneficial for the eyes. Actually, this fact has come up in a research of the College of Horticulture of Karnataka. Research suggests that beta-carotene present in it may protect against the risk of eye diseases. Not only this, it can also help in increasing the light of the eyes ( 13 ).

8. Benefits of bitter gourd for inflammation

Bitter gourd also has anti-inflammatory properties. In this case, its intake may be helpful in preventing the risk of inflammation ( 14 ). Further research is needed on how beneficial it can be in problems caused by inflammation.

9. Benefits of bitter gourd for skin

Bitter gourd can be beneficial not only for health, but also for the skin. Indeed, according to a research done on rabbits published on the NCBI website, skin cream containing bitter gourd extract can prove to be effective for wounds. Rabbits on which this cream was used in the study showed rapid improvement in their wounds ( 15 ). This research has been done on animals, yet more studies are needed for its effect on humans.

After knowing the benefits of bitter gourd, know further what nutrients are present in it.

Bitter Gourd Nutritional Value

Below we are sharing a list of nutritional elements present in bitter gourd ( 16 ).

Water94.03 grams
Energy17 KCL
Protein1 gram
Total Lipid (Fat)0.17 grams
Carbohydrate3.7 grams
Fiber, Total Dietary2.8 grams
Calcium19 mg
Iron0.43 mg
Magnesium17 mg
Phosphorus31 mg
Potassium296 mg
Sodium5 mg
Zinc0.8 mg
Copper0.034 mg
Manganese0.089 mg
Selenium0.2 mcg
vitamin C84 mg
Thiamine0.04 mg
Riboflavin0.04 mg
Niacin0.4 mg
pantothenic acid0.212 mg
Vitamin B60.043 mg
Follett, Total72 micrograms
Vitamin A, RAE24 micrograms
Carotene, beta190 mcg
Carotene, alpha185 micrograms
Vitamin A, IU471 IU
Lutin + jiazantine170 mcg

In this section of the article we are giving some easy ways to use bitter gourd –

How to use Bitter Gourd

  • Find out the easy ways to use bitter gourd below.
  • Bitter gourd vegetables can be made.
  • Bitter gourd pickle can be made.
  •  Can drink bitter gourd juice.
  • Bitter gourd juice can be applied to hair.

The benefits of bitter gourd are many, but if used excessively, it may have some disadvantages as well. Therefore, below we are giving information about some disadvantages of bitter gourd.

Side effects of Bitter Gourd

The benefits of bitter gourd as well as the disadvantages of bitter gourd are many, which are explained below – ( 17 ) ( 18 ) ( 19 ).

  • Do not consume bitter gourd during pregnancy. Bitter gourd contains some ingredients that can cause miscarriage. However, this result has come out during research on animals and more research is still needed to know its effect on humans. It is better not to consume bitter gourd to avoid the harm of eating it.
  • Not only during pregnancy, but also breastfeeding women should avoid the consumption of bitter gourd. In fact, bitter gourd also contains some toxic substances, which can pass from a breastfeeding mother to her baby.
  • Those diabetic patients who are taking diabetes medicine, they should consult the doctor before consuming bitter gourd. Bitter gourd can reduce the amount of blood sugar. In this case, the consumption of bitter gourd with diabetes medicine can be harmful.
  • In some people consuming bitter gourd can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and headaches.

After reading the benefits of eating bitter gourd, many people will forget about its bitterness and want to include it in their diet. Readers should keep in mind that even though the medicinal properties of bitter gourd are many, it can only prevent the symptoms and risk of health problems. If someone is suffering from a serious illness, then medical treatment should be the first priority for him. Also, most studies related to bitter gourd have been done on animals. In such a situation, it is better to use bitter gourd in balanced quantity or according to the advice of the doctor. Apart from this, if you have any questions or suggestions related to the benefits of bitter gourd, do share it with us through the comment box below.


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