Bitter Gourd or Karela and Its Incomparable Health Benefits

Bitter gourd or bitter melon is a commonly used vegetable in Asian countries. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals and it is why it offers several health benefits.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd or bitter melon is known by various names. It is called karela in Hindi, karvelah in Sanskrit, Nigauri in Japan, Goya in Okinawa, Ampalaya in the Philippines and Ku-gua in China.
It is nicknamed as elegant vegetable or gentleman’s vegetable as despite being bitter, it doesn’t impart its bitterness to other vegetables. It is also known as balsam pear, bitter cucumber, bitter pear or bitter  apple.

Scientific Name of Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon or Karela

The scientific name of bitter Gourd or Karela is Momordica charantia. It belongs to Cucurbitaceae family.

Availability of Bitter Gourd or Karela


Bitter gourd or Karela is mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions including Amazon, Brazil, Central and South America, China, China, Colombia, Cuba, East Africa, Ghana,Haiti, India, India, Japan, Malaya, Malaya, Mexico, Middle East, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nutrients Found in Bitter Gourd


Bitter Gourd or karela is rich with nutrients. The common nutrients found in it are calcium, calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, copper, fat, fibre, total dietary, iron, magnesium, manganese, nutrients, potassium, protein, sodium, sodium, sugar, water and zinc among the others.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd


Bitter Gourd or Karela is widely acclaimed for its various health benefits. Right from diabetes mellitus to weight loss to boosting immunity, it offers an array of benefits. Here we will be discussing them in details.

Reduces Blood Sugar Level


As  bitter gourd is equipped with several medicinal properties, it is being used indigenously for the management of blood sugar level. Its effectiveness in managing blood sugar level has been confirmed by various studies.It is believed that bitter gourd plays an important role in the secretion of insulin. It is the hormone that controls blood sugar level. However more studies are needed to establish the exact role of bitter gourd or karela in diabetes control.

Supports Weight Loss


Supporting weight loss is another benefit of Karela. Bitter gourd is also well known for impacting glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes weight loss by reducing fat formation in the body. It also checks accumulation of fat in the body. As per some studies, bitter gourd attacks adipocytes, the fat stores cells of the body.

Improves Skin and Hair Health


Due to high presence of Vitamin A and C, bitter gourd plays a significant role in improving hair and skin health. This vegetable has also been found effective in the treatment of several skin diseases like psoriasis, itching and other skin disorders. It helps in controlling dandruff, split ends and hair loss. As it helps repair skin and hair, it delays the ageing process.

Purifies Blood


Consumption of bitter gourd is recommended to those suffering from blood contamination. Its high presence of antioxidants purifies and ensure smooth blood circulation leading to good health.

Boosts Immunity


As bitter gourd is known for effectively fighting germs and other infections. It  helps boost our immunity. It also offers a soothing effect for indigestion and allergies. The antioxidants present in bitter gourd checks the growth of cancerous cells and tumors. All these things combined offer a fillip to immune system.

Relieves Respiratory Diseases


Bitter gourd has been found effective in the treatment of respiratory disease like asthma, bronchitis and allergy related respiratory disorders. Its anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory an anti-viral properties regulates your ailing respiratory system.

Detoxes Liver


Several diseases are caused due to an ill functioning liver. Bitter gourd with its detoxifying properties regulates the functioning of liver. Consumption of bitter gourd is advised for those suffering from liver related disorders.

Relieves Hangover


Juice of bitter gourd has been found effective in relieving hangover caused due to drinking. Its consumption also flushes out the alcohol accumulation in the liver. The best thing about bitter gourd is that it relieves hangover without any side effect.

Relieves Piles and Fissures


Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, bitter gourd is an effective in the treatment of piles, hemorrhoids and anal fissures that are manifested in the form of swollen  veins in lower rectum and anus.

Helps Healing Of Wounds


As we have said earlier bitter gourd or karela is equipped with anti-inflammatory properties. It also promotes blood flow and coagulation. Due to this, it helps in healing of wounds and reducing the chances of infection.

Boosts Digestive System


Suffering with a bad digestive system? Bitter gourd or karela could have great health benefits for you. Due to high presence of fibers, bitter gourd offers respite from indigestion, acidity and constipation. Its consumption boosts digestion system and offers relief from common digestive disorders.

Combats Cancer


The ingredients found in bitter gourd reflect anti-cancer properties. Its consumption prevents formation and growth of cancerous cells. Active fatty acids that are found in its seeds checks the proliferation of cancerous cells in breast and liver. The extracts of bitter gourd has  ability to kill cancerous cells of digestive and respiratory system. Ingredients found in bitter gourd or karela is considered as anti-malignant. It’s one of the major health benefits of karela.

Regulates Cholesterol Level


High cholesterol level can form plaques in your arteries. This deposition forces your heart to make extra effort while pumping the blood to your body. These things increase the risk of heart disease.Several studies have found that consumption of bitter gourd or karela keeps cholesterol level in check, and thus reducing the chance of heart disease. Isn’t it one of the major health benefits of Karela.

Some studies have found that soluble extract of bitter gourd keeps bad cholesterol or LDL in check. However more studies are needed to confirm this. It is also a major health benefits of Karela.

Offers Relief in Malaria


Use of bitter gourd or bitter melon or Karela has been known for offering relief from Malarial. The plant and its various parts have been used for getting relief from malaria. This use was more common in Asians, Colombians and Panamanians. Not a surprise bitter gourd is acclaimed for its health benefits.

Controls Iron Deficiency And Anemia


Hemoglobin which is an ingredient of blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body. But deficiency of iron negatively impacts formation of hemoglobin. The lack of iron can also results in the lack of enough healthy red blood cells. It is also a major health benefit of karela.To control this, you should add enough iron rich food in your menu. Bitter gourd is one rich source of iron.

Also Read
Sponge Gourd (Gilki) – You Can’t Ignore its Health Benefits

When to Not Eat Bitter Gourd : Side Effects


Bitter gourd or better melon may be loaded with several benefits and adding it to your meals is strongly advised. But there are situations where you are strongly advised against eating Bitter Gourd.Bitter gourd may meddle with your insulin level, if you are on medication. You should keep your doctor in loop.

Side Effect of Bitter Gourd or Karela

If you are pregnant, consumption of bitter gourd may be harmful.  It is one of the major side effects. You should seek your doctors suggestion.A large amount of bitter gourd consumption may trigger situations like diarrhea, vomiting,  gastric bleeding, and kidney damage among the others.

So it is better to consume it in moderation.  Preferably you should use it as food and not as a supplement. Bitter melon should be one of the many things in your menu rather than only one thing.

How to Consume Bitter Gourd


Bitter gourd can be commonly found in grocery stores from June to September. It can be consumed in various ways. Here we are discussing the major ways to consume bitter gourd.

Use It As a Snack


Bitter gourd can be used as a snack. For this you can use  thick bitter gourd with high diameter. Cut it into pieces,  make it hollow by removing the seeds and boil it. Make a feeling of onion, garlic and seeds of bitter gourd. Fill the feeling into the hollow pieces of bitter gourd and deep fry it.  And now a delicious snack is ready.

Stir Fry It


You should cut the bitter gourd in woks. Put a frying pan on the gas stove. Add some oil into it. Add onion and garlic into it. Add these bitter gourd woks when oil is hot. Fry it. Whisk two eggs and pour into it. Fry till eggs are cooked. Add salt to taste before serving it.

Make Bitter Gourd Juice


You should make bitter gourd juice if you like to have it in liquid form. To do this you should cut the green bitter gourd into several pieces. You can also add fruits like pomegranate, mango, banana and papaya into a juicer. Process it. Your delicious juice is ready.

Bitter Gourd Recipes

Bitter Gourd Tea


Tea bags of bitter gourd are available in some of the organic stores in Asian countries. Dip them in hot water like green tea and consume it.However, you can also make bitter gourd tea on your own using slices of bitter gourd and honey.

Bitter Gourd – Frequently Asked Questions


Who should avoid bitter gourd?


People who are undergoing surgery should be cautious while using bitter gourd or karela as it might interfere with blood sugar level.Pregnant women should also avoid karela as it may negatively impact pregnancy.

Breastfeeding women should also avoid it. However more data is required  to confirm its harmful effects.

Those allergic to karela should also avoid it.

Is Karela good for kidney?


Karela is considered good for kidney in different countries. However scientific data is required to prove its efficacy.

Does bitter gourd or karela can cause allergy?


Yes. People may have allergy with bitter gourd. Those allergic to it should avoid it.

Why people hate bitter gourd?


Bitter gourd is true to its name. That means it is bitter in taste. Due to its taste many people hate bitter gourd.
Why people feel dizzy after eating bitter gourd?
Bitter gourd is supposed to lower blood pressure. And excessive lowering of blood pressure results in dizziness.

Is Karela/ bitter gourd hot or cold?


Ayurveda, the Indian system of healing has the concept of hot or cold. As per the ayurvedic classification Karela is considered cold.

Can I eat bitter gourd raw?


Yes, you can eat it raw if you can tolerate the taste. Remember, it is very bitter in taste.

Is Karela rich in iron?


Yes, apart from Iron, it is rich in other vitamins and minerals too.Also Read


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