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HomeSorted by levelB2 - Upper Intermediate6 Benefits of bitter melon (bitter gourd) and its extract

6 Benefits of bitter melon (bitter gourd) and its extract

[Reading level: B2 – Upper Intermediate]

Bitter melon — also known as bitter gourd — 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. Important nutrients

Bitter melon is a great source of several key nutrients.

One cup (94 grams) of raw bitter melon provides:

Calories: 20

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin C: 93% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI

Folate: 17% of the RDI

Potassium: 8% of the RDI

Zinc: 5% of the RDI

Iron: 4% of the RDI

 

Bitter melon is especially rich in vitamin C, an important micronutrient involved in disease prevention, bone formation, and wound healing.

 

It’s also high in vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes skin health and proper vision.

 

It provides folate, which is essential for growth and development, as well as smaller amounts of potassium, zinc, and iron.

 

Bitter melon is a good source of catechin, gallic acid, epicatechin, and chlorogenic acid, too — powerful antioxidant compounds that can help protect your cells against damage.

 

Plus, it’s low in calories yet high in fiber — fulfilling approximately 8% of your daily fiber needs in a single serving of 94 grams.

 

2. Reduce blood sugar

Thanks to its potent medicinal properties, bitter melon has long been used by indigenous populations around the world to help treat diabetes-related conditions. In recent years, several studies confirmed the fruit’s role in blood sugar control.

 

A 3-month study in 24 adults with diabetes showed that taking 2,000 mg of bitter melon daily decreased blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a test used to measure blood sugar control over three months.

 

Another study in 40 people with diabetes found that taking 2,000 mg per day of bitter melon for 4 weeks led to a modest reduction in blood sugar levels.

 

What’s more, the supplement significantly decreased levels of fructosamine, another marker of long-term blood sugar control.

 

Bitter melon is thought to improve the way that sugar is used in your tissues and promote the secretion of insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.

 

3. May have cancer-fighting properties

Research suggests that bitter melon contains certain compounds with cancer-fighting properties.

 

For example, one test-tube study showed that bitter melon extract was effective at killing cancer cells of the stomach, colon, lung, and nasopharynx — the area located behind the nose at the back of your throat.

 

Another test-tube study had similar findings, reporting that bitter melon extract was able to block the growth and spread of breast cancer cells while also promoting cancer cell death.

 

Keep in mind that these studies were performed using concentrated amounts of bitter melon extract on individual cells in a laboratory. Further research is needed to determine how bitter melon may affect cancer growth and development in humans when consumed in the normal amounts found in food.

 

4. Decrease Cholesterol levels

High levels of cholesterol can cause fatty plaque to build up in your arteries, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood and increasing your risk of heart disease.

 

Several animal studies found that bitter melon may decrease cholesterol levels to support overall heart health.

 

One study in rats on a high-cholesterol diet observed that administering bitter melon extract led to significant decreases in levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

 

Another study noted that giving rats a bitter melon extract significantly reduced cholesterol levels compared to a placebo. Higher doses of bitter melon showed the greatest decrease.

 

Still, current research on the potential cholesterol-lowering properties of bitter melon is mostly limited to animal studies using large doses of bitter melon extract. Additional studies are needed to determine whether these same effects apply to humans eating the gourd as part of a balanced diet.

 

5. May aid weight loss

Bitter melon makes an excellent addition to a weight loss diet, as it’s low in calories yet high in fiber. It contains approximately 2 grams of fiber in each serving.

 

Fiber passes through your digestive tract very slowly, helping keep you fuller for longer and reducing hunger and appetite.

 

Therefore, swapping higher-calorie ingredients with bitter melon could help increase your fiber intake and cut calories to promote weight loss.

 

Some research also shows that bitter melon can have beneficial effects on fat burning and weight loss.

 

One study found that consuming a capsule containing 4.8 grams of bitter melon extract each day led to significant decreases in belly fat. Participants lost an average of 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) from their waist circumference after seven weeks.

 

Similarly, a study in rats on a high-fat diet observed that bitter melon extract helped decrease body weight compared to a placebo.

 

Note that these studies were performed using high-dose bitter melon supplements. It remains unclear whether eating bitter melon as part of your regular diet would have the same beneficial effects on health.

 

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.

 

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bitter-melon#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8

WORD BANK:

bitter melon /ˌbɪt̬.ɚ ˈmel.ən/ (n): quả mướp đắng, khổ qua

gourd /ɡɔːrd/ (n): quả bầu

vine /vaɪn/ (n): cây nho

zucchini /zuːˈkiː.ni/ (n): bí xanh

squash /skwɑːʃ/ (n): bí vàng

cultivate /ˈkʌl.tə.veɪt/ [C1] (v): trồng

edible /ˈed.ə.bəl/ [C1] (adj): ăn được

staple /ˈsteɪ.pəl/ (n): món, sản phẩm chủ đạo

pale green /peɪl ɡriːn/ (n): màu xanh nhạt

wart /wɔːrt/ (n): mụn cóc

bump /bʌmp/ (n): vết sưng

rough /rʌf/ (adj): thô

jagged /ˈdʒæɡ.ɪd/ (adj): lởm chởm

spike /spaɪk/ (n): gai

rind /raɪnd/ (n): vỏ

extract /ˈek.strækt/ (n): chiết xuất

Reference Daily Intake (RDI) (n): lượng tiêu thụ tham khảo hàng ngày

micronutrient /ˈmaɪkrəʊɪn ˈnuː.tri.ənt/ (n): vi chất

wound /wuːnd/ [B2] (n): vết thương

fat-soluble /fæt sɑːl.jə.bəl/ (adj): tan trong chất béo

potassium /pəˈtæs.i.əm/ (n): kali

antioxidant /ˌæn.t̬iˈɑːk.sɪ.dənt/ (n): chất chống oxy hóa

compound /ˈkɑːm.paʊnd/ (n): hợp chất

serving /ˈsɝː.vɪŋ/ (n): khẩu phần

potent /ˈpoʊ.t̬ənt/ (adj): mạnh mẽ

property /ˈprɑː.pɚ.t̬i/ [B1] (n): đặc tính

indigenous /ɪnˈdɪdʒ.ə.nəs/ (adj): bản địa

supplement /ˈsʌp.lə.mənt/ [C2] (n): sự bổ sung, chất bổ sung

tissue /ˈtɪs.juː/ (n): mô

secretion /sɪˈkri·ʃən/ (n): sự tiết ra (chất gì đó)

test-tube /ˈtest ˌtuːb/ (n): ống nghiệm

colon /ˈkoʊ.lən/ (n): đại tràng

nasopharynx /ˌneɪ.zoʊˈfer.ɪŋks/ (n): vòm họng

breast cancer /brest ˈkæn.sɚ/ (n): ung thư vú

concentrated /ˈkɑːn.sən.treɪ.t̬ɪd/ (adj): đậm đặc

plaque /plæk/ (n): mảng bám

build up [C1] (v): tích tụ

artery /ˈɑːr.t̬ɚ.i/ (n): động mạch

administer /ədˈmɪn.ə.stɚ/ (v): sử dụng

triglyceride /traɪˈɡlɪs.ə.raɪd/ (n): chất béo trung tính

placebo /pləˈsiː.boʊ/ (n): giả dược

dose /doʊs/ (n): liều

fiber /ˈfaɪ.bɚ/ (n): chất xơ

swap sth with sth /swɑːp/ [C1] (v): hoán đổi cái gì bằng cái gì

capsule /ˈkæp.səl/ (n): viên nang

belly fat (n): mỡ bụng

adverse /ædˈvɝːs/ [C2] (adj): xấu, tiêu cực

diarrhea /ˌdaɪ.əˈriː.ə/ [C2] (n): tiêu chảy

vomit /ˈvɑː.mɪt (v): nôn mửa

extensively /ɪkˈsten.sɪv.li/ (adv): rộng rãi

underlying /ˌʌn.dɚˈlaɪ.ɪŋ/ [C2] (adj): tiềm ẩn


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