Health Benefits of Bitter Melon
As a common vegetable in Asian countries, bitter melons have many health benefits and can help protect against diabetes and other diseases. It looks like a cucumber and tastes slightly bitter. It is rich in a variety of nutrients including iron, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins.
Bitter melon is known as a type of “plant insulin” which is widely used for diabetes treatment with very little side effects. Scientific studies showed that they contain a type of substance which can activate a type of enzyme called AMPK. It is a protein which can stimulate the glucose intake and metabolism of the body and will be helpful to facilitate the absorption of insulin for diabetes. In addition, they can also help protect against the diseases caused by diabetes such as cataracts, neuropathy and gastrointestinal diseases. Although these facts are based on animal researches instead of human experiments, it is believed that they have similar effects on human body as well. Moreover, regular consumption of bitter melon can be helpful for treatment of asthma, bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, pharyngitis and other respiratory diseases. Also, they contain a chemical substances which have the inhibition effects on the guanylate cyclase which is type of enzyme that is believed to be able to cause cancer.
Although better melons can bring great benefits for use, we should avoid too much within a day. Over consumption may affect the blood sugar levels, thus interfering with the diabetes medication and the performance of insulin therapies. In addition, the cholesterol medicine may also interact with the bitter melon and result in a negative effect. Pregnant women should avoid eating too much in a short time because it can lead to complications of preterm delivery. In addition, it also has the possibility to cause diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Image provided By Sierra Michels Slettvet (bitter melon Uploaded by Rojypala) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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