NUTRITION CORNER: Health benefits of bitter gourd

There are many health benefits that we can derive from bitter gourd. It is very low in calories and the pods are rich in phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Bitter melon contains phyto-nutrient, polypeptide-P and  hypoglycemic agent called charantin. These are known to lower blood sugar levels.

Fresh bitter melon is an excellent source of vitamin-C, one of the powerful natural antioxidant, which helps body scavenge injurious free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development.

Fresh pods are an excellent source of folates that helps reduce incidence of neural tube defects in pregnant mothers when taken during early pregnancy.

The vegetable is also an excellent source of health benefiting flavonoids such as b-carotene, a- carotene, lutein, zeaxanthins. It also contains good amount of vitamin A. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes

Bitter melon stimulates digestion and peristalsis which can be helpful in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.

The vegetable is also a good source of Niacin (vit B-3), Pantothenic acid (vit.B-5), Pyridoxine (vit.B-6) and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.#