It took me a long time to get into bitter gourd. I mean, who likes tasting something so bitter right, when there are so many other things to enjoy.
Well, in the end, it was the incredible benefits of Bittergourd that won me over. Even if it was a bitter pill or fruit to swallow, I’d be damned if I didn’t try to get some in me!
Bitter gourd is well-known for its ability to lower blood glucose in diabetics. Commercially there are many products and pills available, but the greatest benefit comes from consuming fresh bitter gourd.
1. Bitter gourd slows down carb digestion
The glucose metabolism starts in the gut. Carbohydrates and sugars are metabolized to glucose before glucose is transported from the gut to the blood. Bitter gourd reduces the amount of glucose that is released into the blood by inhibiting the enzymes that break down disaccharides to two glucose molecules. Bitter gourd can influence the transport channels for glucose, which also reduces glucose transport into the blood.
2. Bitter gourd mimics insulin
The pancreas secretes insulin into the blood when there is too much sugar in our system. Insulin helps to transport the sugar from the blood to the skeletal muscle and the fat tissue where it is used to produce energy. Insulin will also stop the liver to produce sugar from glycogen storages and to release the sugar into the blood.Thus, insulin is necessary to lower high blood sugar levels. In Type I diabetes, also called insulin-dependent diabetes, the pancreas does not produce or secrete enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels low. Bitter gourd has been shown to increase pancreatic insulin secretion. Additionally, scientists found an insulin-like molecule in bitter gourd.
3. Bitter gourd reverses insulin resistance
Bitter gourd helps in Type II diabetes, which is also called insulin-independent diabetes or adult onset diabetes. In Type II diabetes, the liver, skeletal muscle, and fat tissues do not respond adequately to insulin as they are insulin resistant. People with insulin resistance or those with a high risk of developing Type II diabetes have a good chance to prevent and treat the disease without drugs by increasing their physical activity and changing their diet. Of course adding Bitter gourd to the equation has its benefits too.
4. Bitter gourd prevents diabetic complications
Peripheral neuropathy is the worse complication of Diabetes – in the long run, it can lead to blindness, diabetic feet, kidney disease, stroke, or heart attack. Consuming bitter gourd can help prevent these complications.
5. Bitter gourd can protect the body from other non-communicable diseases
Being overweight is one of the most important risk factors for diabetes and other diseases, and Type II diabetes is often accompanied by hypertension, high plasma cholesterol, or high plasma lipids. Together, these conditions increase the risk of stroke or heart attack. For overweight Type II diabetic patients, bitter gourd can help to improve health. In mice and rats, bitter gourd has been shown to reduce hypertension, plasma cholesterol and plasma lipids. Apart from this, bitter gourd helps weight loss. There is also evidence that bitter gourd might be effective in cancer treatment.