Bitter Gourd is a tropical vegetable that is dark green in color and has many nutrition benefits. Explore more on the nutritional value and health benefits of karela.

Benefits Of Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is a tropical vegetable, which is cultivated mainly in the Asian and African countries. It is also known by the name of ‘Karela’ and has a rough, warty skin. As the name suggests, the vegetable is bitter in taste and has a skin that is dark green in color. Bitter gourd has been found to have great medicinal value. In fact, it is said to have antidotal, antipyretic, appetizing, stomachic, antibilious and laxative properties. This is the main reason why the vegetable is used in a number of native medicines of Asia and Africa. There are two varieties of this vegetable. One variety grows up to 20 cm long and is oblong and dark green in color. The other variety grows up to 10 cm and is oval and pale green in color. Both the varieties are known to have seeds that turn red when the vegetable gets ripe, making it even more bitter.  Although many people have to develop a palate and get used to the bitter taste, the vegetable does in fact, possess a great deal of health benefits and nutrients. Given below is information of the health benefits and nutritional value of bitter gourd.


Nutritional Value Of Bitter Gourd

Content/100 gm.
17 Kcal
3.70 g
1.00 g
Total Fat
0.17 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
2.80 g
72 µg
0.400 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.212 mg
0.043 mg
0.040 mg
0.040 mg
Vitamin A
471 IU
Vitamin C
84 mg
5 mg
296 mg
19 mg

Nutrition Benefits Of Eating Bitter Gourd
  • Bitter gourds are found to be beneficial in lowering sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes.
  • Bitter gourd is said to be helpful in fighting against cancer and a number of infections.
  • Bitter gourd has been known to provide relief from constipation and is also effective in the treatment of psoriasis.
  • It also helps in improving blood circulation and in turn, generates slimming effects on the body.
  • Regular consumption of bitter gourd has been associated with prevention as well as treatment of hypertension.
  • Bitter gourd is believed to be helpful in preventing eye complications, apart from treating neuritis.
  • The juice of the leaf of bitter gourd plant has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism.
  • The essential vitamins and minerals present in bitter gourd help in treating defective metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • The bitter tonic properties of bitter gourd have made it effective as a blood purifier.
  • Fresh juice of bitter gourd is good for patients suffering from piles.
  • Regular consumption of bitter gourd or bitter gourd juice has been found to heal skin disorders, particularly psoriasis. If you are also suffering from athlete’s feet or other fungal infections like ring-word, topical application of bitter gourd juice or regular ingesting can help eradicate the problem once and for all.
  • Bitter gourd has several properties that help cleanse the body of unwanted toxins. Two teaspoons of bitter gourd juice daily or just raw bitter gourd is beneficial for cleansing the liver and ridding the body of harmful toxins.
  • It is known to prevent and treat cholera. Have bitter gourd juice twice a day for maximum effect.
  • Intake of bitter gourd juice can help alleviate eye problems and improve eyesight eventually.
Buying & Storing Tips
  • When you are at the market, make sure you choose unripe bitter gourds that are firm, with no patches or press-marks.
  • If you think that the bitter gourds are soft, that means they have turned ripe and can be excessively bitter.
  • When you store the bitter gourds in the refrigerator, make sure you consume the vegetable before it turns ripe. You can store bitter gourds for maximum 3-4 days.
  • If you store the bitter gourd for more than a week at room temperature or in the refrigerator, you will notice a pungent smell in the fridge due to the emission of ethylene gas.
Cooking Tips
  • Before you cook the bitter gourd, run the vegetable under water and brush with a soft vegetable brush.
  • To prepare the vegetable, slice the bitter gourd length-wise and scoop out the seeds to lessen the bitterness.
  • Soak the cut bitter gourd in salt water for about half an hour before juicing/cooking.  
  • You could also make bitter gourd juice and to make it more palatable, take it with honey or add carrot or apple juice for a bit of sweetness.
  • Bitter gourd can also be used for pickle preparations.
  • In the Philippines, bitter gourd is widely used in dishes and prepared with shrimp paste, eggplant, okra and other vegetables.
  • Bitter gourd can also be used in salad after a dry simple dry roast over a medium flame.

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