Karela, otherwise known as “bitter melon” or “bitter gourd”, is a unique vegetable/ fruit which can be enjoyed as either a food, juice or used for medicinal purposes. The edible pieces of the bitter melon are known to be one of the most sour, tart-tasting and bitter foods in the world, which could encourage many individuals to avoid eating them. Although, the way in which this vegetable can benefit your health is truly worthwhile dealing with the slightly unpleasant taste -besides with our recipes found later on in the article you’ll have nothing to worry about!
This weird-looking vegetable grows best in the Caribbean, Asia, some parts of Africa and Southern America to name a few places. This is because the gourd is usually found in either subtropical or tropical regions at it’s best.
Bitter melon is a key component used in various medicines that have been used for hundreds of years, intended for ailments such as colic, fevers, burns, chronic pain, skin conditions and regular painful menstruation in women. Certain research has even found that using bitter melon could actually kill any breast cancer cells, as well as prevent them from growing back and stopping them from spreading further throughout the body/ cells.
The juice of karela is one of the most effective ways of consuming this particular superfood, as to benefit from it’s various health benefits and as a treatment for a whole range of symptoms and problems. The juice is not only high in many important nutrients such as iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C but is also a fantastic source of important dietary fibre. Additions to the juice such as black pepper, lemon or ginger can decrease the bitter taste and make the drink more palatable for those who dislike the vegetables initial taste.
So, without further ado let’s go on to our compilation of all the juices health benefits that we have discovered during our research on this topic, especially for you guys!
The health benefits of drinking bitter gourd juice.
Helps to maintain blood sugar levels.
Karela contains a compound which is similar to insulin named polypeptide-p or otherwise known as p-insulin, which has even been able to control diabetes naturally. Further research has also found that karela may be able to increase the uptake of glucose, as well as improving glycemic control in the body, quickening how fast it is metabolised.
Therefore consuming the vegetable karela regularly could allow for the body to naturally maintain the blood sugar levels, while improving overall functioning/ health.
Lowers the levels of bad cholesterol.
Evidence has been found to show that karela is an anti-inflammatory which also helps to lower the risk of bad cholesterol levels in the body. By lowering the levels of low density lipoproteins (LDLs) you significantly reduce the risks of suffering from illnesses such as heart disease, strokes and cardiac arrests. Thus karela aids in keeping both your heart and body as a whole as healthy as it can possibly be.
Absorbs excess sodium in the body.
Karela also helps to maintain the blood pressure levels in the body by being rich in potassium which absorbs excess sodium, helping to avoid hypertension from occurring.
Improves the health of both the skin and hair.
The bitter gourd is high in many powerful antioxidants which will help to keep the hair and the skin looking flawlessly healthy when consumed on a regular basis, we recommend around 1 or 2 cups per day of the juice. Not only does the bitter melon contain various antioxidants which improve the quality of both hair and the skin, but additionally also contains both the vitamins C and A which can prevent the skin from ageing prematurely, as well as help reduce the prominence of any current wrinkles you may have.
By improving the quality of the skin and hair, the bitter gourd can also be claimed to help treat eczema, psoriasis, acne and protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Therefore this vegetable/ fruit is a brilliant all-round treatment for beautiful skin and hair!
Helps to treat a hangover and cleanses the liver.
Karela juice when consumed while suffering from a hangover can drastically reduce the symptoms of one, as well as improving the alcohol intoxication you are still suffering from by helping to cleanse your liver. The juice detoxifies the bowels and the liver from poisons such as the alcohol you consumed the night before, and could in some cases help with any liver-related illnesses or problems.
Research has shown that karela juice can also provide protections against liver failure, as well as boost the functioning of your bladder when consumed on a regular basis. We recommend consuming around 2 cups of the juice per day for such effects.
Note: This juice is brilliant for detoxifying the liver too.
Aids in weight loss.
The vegetable/ fruit karela is low in calories, fats and carbohydrates too to boot, making the vegetable one of the most healthiest things that you could consume. BItter melon is also high in important dietary fibre which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of snacking in between meals or becoming overly hungry which can result in poor food choices.
Furthermore, the juice provided from karela should also help to keep the body fully hydrated which also stops the body from confusing thirst with hunger. When the body confuses feeling hungry with feeling thirsty this can result in the consumption of unnecessary calories -the best way to avoid this from happening is simply drinking a glass of water when you begin to feel hungry and see if this changes.
All of these qualities of karela juice will aid in weight loss, by stopping the body from craving foods that are unhealthy, avoids the confusions with thirst and hunger as well as providing the body with very important nutrients in a low-calorie way. Many individuals around the world regard the bitter gourd as an effective natural treatment for obesity.
Boosts the immune system.
The bitter melon can be used when trying to fight against many viruses and bacteria, and in doing so strengthens the body’s immunity from these viruses and bacterias. This vegetable can also prevent conditions such as allergic reactions (most likely allergies such as hay fever) and indigestion in some individuals from happening, or happening as often.
The juice can be super beneficial for the health of your eyes.
As karela juice is high in the compounds beta-carotene and vitamin A alike, it may be very useful in terms of the health of your eyes strengthening eyesight and preventing problems such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Consume regularly if you believe your eyes need that extra health boost or simply want to prevent such unfortunate eye-related issues.
High in folates which are important during pregnancy.
Fresh karela pods are high in folates, providing an excellent source for women who are expecting a baby or, alternatively, trying for one. Folates reduce the likelihood of birth defects from occurring and encourage fertility in women who take them.
Pregnant women who take folate supplements may actually be able to replace these tablets with karela juice each and every day, helping to provide further nutrients for both mother and baby.
Helps to target and eradicate free radicals within the body.
Bitter gourd provides many antioxidants which help to reduce the number of free radicals in the body, and stop them from causing harm to us. Bitter gourd is high in vitamin C , one of the most powerful antioxidants in terms of eradicating free radicals within the body.
Soothes digestion and improves the functioning of the digestive tract.
By helping to soothe the digestive system and improve the functioning of the digestive tract, karela may actually be able to help in terms of treating problems such as IBS, constipation and perhaps even diarrhea in some cases.
May be effective in the treatment of HIV.
Early testing has discovered that various phytochemical compounds found in the bitter melon, may be effective in treating HIV in some cases.
More research is needed to clarify exactly how and why this may be so.
Useful in treating type 2 diabetes.
Some studies have indicated that karela juice can lower the blood sugar levels, by increasing the metabolism of glucose therefore improving the way in which the body functioning when suffering from type 2 diabetes. For the best aid in treating diabetes drink two cups of bitter gourd, or karela, juice daily.
Reduces the likelihood of developing kidney stones.
Kidney stones can be extremely painful and very unfortunate for the person suffering from them. So, when learning that karela juice can provide a useful treatment and prevention for kidney stones you’d be mad not to try it!
By helping to reduce the acid that creates these painful stones, as well as improving the functioning of the digestive tract, karela is the perfect vegetable to help with this issue.
Helps in the digestion of carbohydrates.
As previously mentioned in this article, bitter gourd can be particularly useful in metabolising glucose. Therefore, bitter gourd can also help to metabolise carbohydrates within the body quicker also, reducing the amount of fats that is stored in the body and aiding in muscle growth as well.
A great source of the vitamin K.
Vitamin K is a fantastic vitamin helping in blood-clotting, bone health, joints, muscles and provides anti-inflammatory effects for the consumer. Regular consumption of vitamin K can also reduce chronic pains, including lower back pain.
How to prepare and create bitter melon juice.
These recipes should improve the taste of the bitter melon, or karela, in order to allow for the consumption of them. Without the modifications to these juices and by simply creating bitter melon juice you may struggle to consume the drink, and could begin to experience feelings of nausea.
Turmeric Karela Juice.
You will need:
- 1 raw, fresh karela
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- A few pinches of turmeric, to taste
- 1 cup of cold water
Wash the karela thoroughly with cool water, cut into fine pieces and rub with the turmeric and salt. Allow the karela to ‘marinate’ for around half an hour, add a cup of cold water and process using a juicer. Serve the juice and enjoy!
Beetroot and Bitter Gourd Juice.
Ingredients required are:
- 1 cup of cold water
- 1 tablespoon of honey, or more to taste
- 1 medium sized bitter gourd
- ¾ of a medium sized beetroot
- 5 red grapes
- ⅓ of an inch piece of grated ginger
Wash the beetroot and bitter gourd with cool water, chop finely and blend with all other ingredients except for the honey. Extract the juice from the blended ingredients and add honey to taste, stirring well and serving.
Celery, Cucumber and Karela Mixture.
Ingredients are as follows:
- 1 karela
- 3 apples, granny smiths
- 2 large celery stalks
- 1 whole cucumber
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
Wash all the ingredients well with cool water. Chop all ingredients well and process through a juicer. We recommend refrigerating this juice mixture for around 2 hours before serving for best tasting results.
Tasty Bitter Gourd Recipe.
You will need:
- 2 teaspoons of black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 whole green apples, granny smith
- ½ inch piece of finely grated ginger
- 1 medium sized bitter gourd
- Lemon juice of ½ lemon
- 3 cups of cold water
- 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
- OPTIONAL: 2-4 Ice cubes
Wash the bitter gourd, removing the seeds when chopping into small pieces. Add the salt to the bitter gourd and allow to sit aside for half an hour, marinating in the seasoning. Cut the apple into small chunks (a similar size to the chunks of bitter gourd you cut) too and process all ingredients through the juicer, except for the black pepper. Sprinkle the black pepper into the juice afterwards, stirring well, and placing into the fridge to cool. Allow the juice to sit in the fridge for up to 2 hours, remove and add ice cubes if you desire.
We hope you enjoy!
Possible side effects of the bitter gourd/ karela/ bitter melon and it’s juice.
If you take medications to lower your blood sugar levels due to suffering from diabetes, bitter gourd may actually cause the blood sugar levels to drop too low. If you are on medications to lower your blood sugar levels, monitor them carefully while consuming karela.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Consuming bitter melon can be unsafe while pregnant or breastfeeding, and has even caused abortions in some animals. Consume with care if you are pregnant or breastfeeding currently.
Although the vegetable does contain folates which are especially useful while pregnant, these may not be worth the risks. Consult your doctor for further help and advice on the matter if you want to learn more.
Bitter gourd may cause favism in the body, resulting in anemia, headaches and even fevers. In some rare cases this may also result in comas.
However, this is only likely to occur in those who suffer from pre-existing G6PD deficiency.
Due to bitter gourd having effects on the body’s blood sugar levels it is advised to abstain from consumption for up to 2 weeks before any pre-planned surgeries.
One study conducted on a 22-year-old male found that after consuming karela he developed symptoms of an irregular heartbeat. There are no other forms of evidence to prove this is a direct result of the vegetable or further research done on the matter, therefore it is safe to say this is an unlikely occurrence after consumption -albeit still possible however.
Vomiting and diarrhea.
Due to the strong taste and certain qualities of the karela, it may cause vomiting and/ or diarrhea in some individuals -especially if they over-consume.
We hope that you are now fully educated on the various health benefits of karela juice and can now decided whether or not it is for you personally! We here at Balance Me Beautiful love hearing from our readers, so feel free to comment below about which of our juice recipes is your favourite, or perhaps you have your own that you would like to share.
Many men and women across the globe enjoy consuming karela in many different ways, including through using juices, for treatments of various conditions. Whether it be diabetes, cancer, cleansing the body or even when trying to lose weight the bitter gourd may have the answer for you!
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And as always guys, thanks for reading. Don’t forget to come back soon!
By Chess Taylor.