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Though it is bitter to taste, karela (bitter gourd) is packed with essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, folate, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and has high dietary fibre. Karela is extremely rich in iron and contains twice the calcium of spinach, twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, and twice the potassium of a banana.
Drinking raw karela juice provides excellent medicinal benefits. It works as a tonic for diabetes and asthma patients. Read on to know some of the health benefits of this wonder gourd.
- Weight management: Per 100 grams of this fruit contains just about 20 calories, and is one of the best low-calorie foods. Coupled with its other benefits, this should find its way to anyone wanting to improve overall health.
- Diabetes: Karela has the chemical polypeptide-P, also known as plant insulin, actually helps in blood sugar control. It works as an insulin for diabetics. A glass of bitter gourd juice is one of the most well-known and successful remedies for diabetics.
- Rich in folate: Bitter gourd is rich in folates and one can get up to 20% of the recommended daily from about 100 grams of this fruit. Karela is widely consumed by pregnant and menstruating women to prevent anemia and to keep blood iron levels in control. In pregnancy, it helps in reducing neural tube defects in the developing embryo.
- Loaded with antioxidants: Alpha and beta-carotenes, xanthenes, and lutein - all these help in controlling the release of free radicals from the body and in reducing bodily inflammation. This is the most important reason for the development of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and premature ageing and bitter gourd helps in preventing or prolonging the onset of such diseases. Another independent antioxidant is vitamin C, and about 100 grams of karela provide more than 100% of the daily required dose.
- Good for digestion: Bitter gourd is widely used for its digestive properties. It improves mobility, relieves constipation, and reduces problems of indigestion.
- Good for the respiratory system: Bitter gourd juice is the best for treating your respiratory problems. Its juice is the best remedy for curing respiratory issues like cold, cough, and even asthma.
- Blood purifier: It is an excellent blood purifier. Karela juice is one of the best ways to detoxify the body if consumed in the morning.
Though still to be proven, karela is known to help HIV/AIDS patients, as they contain phytochemicals, which are known to improve immunity and reduce overall infection and inflammation in the body.
Methods of Use:
- Both the leaves and the bitter gourd per se can be consumed for their health benefits.
- The juice is the most beneficial method, though it might take you some time to acquire this taste. Whether it is for weight loss or diabetes, this offers the best medicinal value.
- Curries are usually prepared with karela in different styles depending on cooking preferences in that area.
- It can also be baked, boiled, and fried.
After reading these amazing benefits, hope you will relish karela beyond its bitter taste. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!