health benefits of karela

Bitter gourd , also called Momordica charantia (MC) or bitter melon , is a member of the cucerbitaceae family, a perennial climber and is characterized by warty-fruit like gourds or cucumbers.

The white to green unripe fruit changes to yellow as the fruit ripens.The fruit has a characteristic bitter taste, which becomes more pronounced as the fruit ripens.

The plant thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, including:

  • South America
  • Asia
  • Parts of Africa
  • The Caribbean

Karela is a bitter melon with sweet consequences for health! What are the health benefits of consuming karela or bitter gourd?

  1. Results of animal and human studies show that the fruits, leaves and seed extracts of this plant possesses blood sugar lowering effects.
  2. Bitter melon/ bitter gourd/ karela has shown to be an emetic, a laxative, a tonic, and used to treat anaemia, arthritis, colds, fever, gout, infertility, kidney stones, peptic ulcers, and stomach ache
  3. It is also used as an antimalarial, together with related species, and as an abortifacient.
  4. In addition to hypoglycaemic activity, M.charantia has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-tumour, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity.
  5. Bitter melon fruit extract possesses antihyperglycemic, antioxidative, and cardioprotective properties which may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic cardiac fibrosis (blockage of cardiac vessels associated with diabetes).
  6. The fruit, as well as the whole plant is believed to possess anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties

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Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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