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Bitter gourd has many health benefits, but when eating it, special attention should be paid

1. Nutritional value of bitter melon

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is also commonly referred to as bitter gourd. As a tropical fruit, bitter melon is low in calories and carbs and high in beneficial fiber. Bitter gourd contains many phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that have many health benefits, such as flavonoids, triterpenoids, and polyphenols.

The nutritional value of bitter melon varies depending on what part of the plant you eat and whether it is cooked or raw. The following nutritional information is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approximately 1 cup (124g) of cooked bitter melon without added fat.

Calories: 24

Fat: 0.2g

Sodium: 392mg

Carbohydrates: 5.4g

Fiber: 2.5g

Street: 2.4g

Protein: 1g

Bitter melon has many health benefits, but when eating, special attention should be paid - Photo 1.

Bitter gourd contains many natural plant compounds that are beneficial for health.


Most of the calories in bitter melon come from carbohydrates. Since the total calorie content is very low, the carbs in bitter melon are also low. One cup of cooked bitter melon provides just over 5 grams of carbohydrates, about half of which is fiber (2.5 grams). Bitter gourd also contains some natural sugars but overall it is a low glycemic fruit.


Bitter melon has very little fat. One cup of cooked bitter melon contains less than 1/2 gram of fat unless additional fat is added during cooking.


Like most fruits, bitter melon is not a significant source of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

The micronutrients in bitter melon include vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron and magnesium. Bitter melon also provides some helpful B vitamins and antioxidants, like lutein and zeaxanthin.

2. Health benefits of bitter melon

Bitter gourd has many health benefits, but special attention should be paid when eating it - Photo 2.

There is not much evidence that bitter melon helps lower blood sugar.

Bitter gourd is often mentioned when you want to manage diabetes, however, research results on this issue are sometimes uncertain. Here are some of the health benefits of bitter melon that have been scientifically proven to date.

2.1 Lose belly fat

Although most of the data to date has been done on animals rather than humans, there is promising evidence for the ability of loofah to reduce visceral fat storage.

Supplementing with bitter melon has been shown to reduce the proliferation of fat cells because substances in bitter melon affect the genes responsible for creating new fat cells. A reduction in waist circumference when eating bitter melon has also been observed in preliminary human studies.

2.2 Enhance immunity

Bitter gourd contains a protein called Momordica anti-human immunovirus protein (MAP30). MAP30 has been shown to support many immune system functions. By inhibiting HIV infection of T lymphocytes, increasing numbers of natural killer cells and helper T cells, and increasing B-cell production of immunoglobulins, MAP30 may support optimal immunity.

Bitter melon has many health benefits, but when eating, special attention should be paid - Photo 3.

Bitter gourd can support your immunity.

2.3 Supports heart health

Although research is limited in humans, bitter melon also shows promise in the area of ​​heart health. Studies have demonstrated the ability of bitter melon extract to aid in lowering cholesterol levels by promoting cholesterol excretion through bile acids.

Furthermore, it is widely accepted that eating fruits and vegetables promotes heart health by providing antioxidant fiber, potassium, and vitamins. Increasing the variety and amount of fruits and vegetables in your meals, through foods like bitter melon, supports a heart-healthy lifestyle.

2.4 Preventing aging at the cellular level

Bitter gourd contains several antioxidant compounds that have been shown to be effective against free radicals. Many studies have found that both the leaves and fruits of bitter melon are beneficial phenolic compounds with the ability to reduce harmful oxidants.

While this has yet to be proven to prevent or treat disease, it does highlight the need for further research in areas including prevention of aging and cancer.

2.5 Protecting eyesight

The vitamin A in bitter melon can help prevent eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Specifically, lutein and zeaxanthin are known to accumulate in the retina, providing local protection against oxidative damage. Moreover, bitter melon contains vitamins E and C which also help to prevent AMD.

3. Side effects of bitter melon

Medical experts advise pregnant women to avoid eating bitter melon because it can cause premature contractions and miscarriage. Anyone using a P-glycoprotein substrate or a Cytochrome P450 substrate can also have problems with bitter melon. Bitter gourd may not be safe when used with other blood sugar-lowering drugs or insulin.

Bitter gourd is not a commonly known food allergen, however, in some cases, hypersensitivity reactions can occur. If you notice symptoms after eating or handling bitter melon, see your doctor for a specific examination and evaluation.

Diarrhea, vomiting, and headaches have also been associated with bitter melon use. So, if you have never eaten bitter melon, you should start with small amounts and gradually increase your consumption to see how your body reacts to this new food.

4. How to preserve and safe food when using bitter melon

Bitter melon has many health benefits, but when eating, special attention should be paid - Photo 4.

Soaking bitter melon with dilute salt water helps to remove the bitter taste.

Store bitter melon in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it, as bitter gourd goes bad after it’s harvested. Before processing, be sure to rinse thoroughly under running water and dry with a paper towel to remove dirt or bacteria.

After cutting, bitter melon should be stored like other fruits, in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Discard if you see any signs of slime, mold or deterioration.

If you don’t like the bitter taste, try soaking the fruit in salt water 30-45 minutes before cooking.

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