Bitter melon — also known as bitter gourd or Momordica charantia — is a tropical vine that belongs to the gourd family and is closely related to zucchini, squash, pumpkin, and cucumber.
It’s cultivated around the world for its edible fruit, which is considered a staple in many types of Asian cuisine.
The Chinese variety is typically long, pale green, and covered with wart-like bumps.
On the other hand, the Indian variety is more narrow and has pointed ends with rough, jagged spikes on the rind.
In addition to its sharp flavor and distinct appearance, bitter melon has been associated with several impressive health benefits.
Here are 6 benefits of bitter melon and its extract.
1. Packs Several Important Nutrients
2. Can Help Reduce Blood Sugar
3. May have cancer-fighting properties
4. could decrease cholesterol levels
5.May aid weight loss
6.versatile and delicious
Potential side effects
When enjoyed in moderation, bitter melon can be a healthy and nutritious addition to your diet.
However, consuming high amounts of bitter melon or taking bitter melon supplements may be associated with several adverse effects.
In particular, bitter melon has been linked to diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain
It’s also not recommended for women who are pregnant, as its long-term effects on health have not been extensively studied.
Due to its impact on blood sugar, you should consult with your healthcare provider before eating it if you’re taking any blood sugar-lowering medications.
Also, talk with a healthcare professional before supplementing with bitter melon if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications, and be sure to use as directed.
The Bottom Line
Bitter melon is a fruit in the gourd family with a unique appearance and flavor.
It’s not only rich in several important nutrients but also linked to numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and cholesterol levels.
Note that people who are pregnant or on certain medications — particularly blood sugar-lowering medications — should speak to their healthcare provider before consuming high amounts or taking supplements.
Still, in moderation, bitter melon makes for a flavorful, nutritious, and easy addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet