Bitter gourd or bitter melon (mormodica charantia) from the family of cucurbitaceae is a fruity vegetable used for food and medicinal purposes especially in China, India, Central America and few places around the world. It is gradually gaining popularity in the west largely because of its numerous health benefits especially for diabetes.
The part of the plant that is consumed and used for medicinal purposes is the fruit of the bitter squash. Bitter gourd juice contains a train of important nutrients ranging from triterpene lycosides, including the characteristics Mormodin and Charantin. Other Triterpene glycosides (the momordicosides), vitamins, including beta carotene, ascorbic acid, niacin and thiamine elemental compounds(e.g. Iron, Iodine, Magnesium, Sodium, Calcium) and fatty acids including stearic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acids are also present ,insulin like compounds or compounds exerting hypoglycemic activity have been described. The seed essential oil contains sesquiterepene, phenylpropanolds and monoterpenes including nerolidol.
In addition, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber; it also contains twice the calcium of spinach, beta carotene of broccoli and the potassium of banana. Due to the bitter nature of this fruit, most people who don’t know much about this God’s free gift to humans tend to dislike it. There is good news! The bitterness of the drink can be reduced by the addition of sweeteners especially pure honey (this does not alter the taste and health benefits).Other fruits can be used as substitute such as pineapple, apple, lemon. The fruit is compulsory for anyone who is in quest for healthy living and can be taken raw or developed because contrary to its name ‘’ bitter gourd’’ is totally ‘’sweet’’ for your health.
According to the USDA, 100g of bitter gourd contains about 34g calories with 13mg Sodium, 602g Potassium, 7g total carbohydrates and 3.6g proteins. With all the numerous benefits, one is therefore encouraged to include bitter gourd in his diet.