High on nutrition: Bitter gourd is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It contains iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins like A and C. It contains twice the calcium of spinach and beta-carotene of broccoli. Various antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are present in bitter gourd. It also helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s not all. It strengthens the immune system, improves respiratory health, boosts skin health and contains anti-ageing properties.
Great for diabetics: Bitter gourd contains polypeptide, an insulin-like compound called and charantin, which has anti-diabetic properties. These components actively help in reducing the blood sugar levels. It also helps prevent unpredictable spikes and drops in insulin levels by regulating the metabolism and use of sugar the body has consumed. Bitter gourd acts as a hypoglycemic agent. It is rich source of soluble fibre and is low in glycemic index, which helps in lowering the blood sugar level.
Aids digestion: It is an excellent source of dietary fibre. Regular consumption of bitter gourd contributes to relieving constipation and indigestion. It supports healthy gut bacteria, which favours digestion and nutrient absorption.
Boosts weight loss: Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. These properties help in weight management. It keeps one full for longer, so one can avoid over-eating. It stimulates the liver to secrete bile acids that are essential for metabolising fat in the body. Moreover, bitter gourd contains 80-85 per cent water, which is a universal suppressant of hunger. It also improves metabolism.
How to consume bitter gourd: Bitter gourd can be consumed in vegetable form, juice, or can be made into a smoothie by adding apples and spinach to it. You can also have it as a soup, in the form of baked chips, make parathas from it and turn it into a chutney and pickle.
How to make bitter gourd less bitter:
Sprinkle salt all over the bitter gourd pieces and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This will minimise the bitter taste of the gourd making it more palatable.
Soak it in tamarind juice for a few minutes.
Boil equal parts sugar and vinegar. Pour this mixture on bitter gourd and let soak for some time.
Sauté it in olive oil.