Daily Dose of Bitter Melon: 2oz
Bitter melon is a vegetable that grows in vines, it can range in color from dark green to white, and it varies in size from 3-12 inches long. It is also known as bitter gourd, bitter apple, or bitter cucumber. It is known for its health benefits in controlling blood sugar levels. Bitter melon has compounds in it that are similar to insulin, namely polypeptide P, vicine, and momordin, and charantin, which are glycosides. These compounds help the way that the body absorbs and metabolizes sugar, which eventually aids in proper blood sugar regulation. This is why it is a popular and effective natural treatment for type 2 diabetes.
Bitter melon not only offers medicinal benefits for those with diabetes, but it has many nutritional benefits as well. It is perfect for restricted calorie diets as a one cup serving is only 24 calories. However, you may not enjoy it by itself because of its bitter taste so it can be best as an add-on to other foods. One serving of bitter gourd will provide your entire daily need for vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting and reduces the risk of excessive bleeding. Vitamin K is also helpful in bone health and may reduce bone loss. The antioxidant vitamin C can also be found in this vegetable as one serving has 54% of the daily recommended intake. Vitamin C contributes to boosting the immune system as well as protecting cells from free radical damage. One serving of bitter gourd contains 28% of the daily requirement of vitamin A. Vitamin A has many benefits for the eyes, it can prevent night blindness and cataracts and may be beneficial to those who already have eye problems.
You should consult a doctor for how much bitter melon you should take for diabetes as the dosage may vary by weight, age, and health status. Health professionals recommend taking bitter gourd as a food or fresh juice. People with diabetes may eat one small melon or drink 2oz of bitter melon juice a day. One adverse effect for people with diabetes is that taking too much may severely lower blood sugar to hypoglycemic levels. People with diabetes who are taking drug therapy such as insulin, glipizide, glimepiride, and pioglitazone should not take bitter melon.
- Efird JT1, Choi YM2, Davies SW3, Mehra S4, Anderson EJ5, Katunga LA6. Potential for improved glycemic control with dietary Momordica charantia in patients with insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Feb 21;11(2):2328-45. PMID: 24566057.
- França EL1, Ribeiro EB1, Scherer EF1, Cantarini DG1, Pessôa RS1, França FL2, Honorio-França AC1. Effects of Momordica charantia L. on the blood rheological properties in diabetic patients. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:840379. PMID: 24672797.