Karela is one of the healthiest vegetables in the food kingdom. It is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It can be eaten as a vegetable, pickle or as a juice. There are many benefits of regular consumption of bitter gourd. Let us look at some of the health benefits of karela.
Nutritional Value of Karela
- Bitter gourd or Karela is low in calories. 100 grams of bitter gourd gives about 19 calories of energy. Around 3.5 grams of carbohydrates and 2.4 grams of fibre are present in 100 grams of karela while it contains only 150 mg of fats and 930 mg of proteins. It also has a high water content of 87 grams
- Karela is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Minerals like potassium, folate, zinc and iron are also present in karela
- Antioxidants like catechin, gallic acid, epicatechin, and chlorogenic acid are obtained from karela, that helps to keep us free from many diseases
Good for Diabetics
Bitter gourd has a compound that functions similar to insulin. In fact, ‘Karela and diabetes’ are often coined together! It reduces the blood glucose levels in both type I and type II diabetes. Consuming a glass of karela juice is so effective that diabetes patients need to reduce the dosage of their medicines.
Good for the Skin and Hair
Karela is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C, which are good for the skin. It reduces ageing and fights acne and skin blemishes. It is useful in treating various skin infections like ringworm, psoriasis, and itching. Karela juice adds lustre to the hair and combats dandruff, hair loss, and split-ends.
Also Read: 7 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin
Bitter gourd is liver friendly and detoxifies. It boosts the liver enzymes and is a good cure for a hangover as it reduces alcohol deposits on the liver. Bladder and the gut also benefit from consuming karela.
Good for Digestion
Karela is full of fibre and helps improve bowel movement. It relieves constipation and settles the stomach.
Improves Cardiac Health
Bitter gourd reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreases the risk of suffering a heart attack. The fibre also helps to unclog the arteries.
Karela boosts immunity and prevents allergies and infections. But its most significant benefit is that it fights cancer. It works against cancer cells proliferation and stops tumour formation. The risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer is significantly reduced after regular consumption of bitter gourd.
Karela aids in weight loss as it is low in calories and fibre-rich. It stops the formation and growth of adipose cells, the ones that store fat in the body. It improves metabolism, and the antioxidants help detoxify the body leading to the reduction in fat.
Karela has great healing properties. It controls the blood flow and blood clotting that helps in quicker healing of wounds and reduction in infections.
Karela has a high amount of antioxidants, and this helps it to cure many problems related to corrupted blood. Regular consumption of bitter gourd leads to improvement in skin, hair and cancer problems. Also, it helps to improve blood circulation.
Energises the Body
The body’s stamina and energy levels show remarkable improvement after regularly consuming karela. It even helps improve sleep quality and reduces sleep problems like insomnia.
Also Read: 9 Energy Giving Foods to Add to Your Diet
Benefits the Eyes
Moderate your karela consumption to ward off diarrhoea and stomach ache. Also, pregnant women should avoid consuming karela as it leads to uterine contractions.
Some Precautions To Take:
- Avoid eating red seeds of Karela (especially by children ) as it can lead to pain in stomach and loose motions
- They should be consumed in moderation by Diabetics, as excessive consumption can drastically lower blood sugar levels in people who are already on medications for diabetes
- Avoid eating karela (especially the seeds) in pregnancy as it can be harmful
Ways in which Karela can be consumed?
- You can make a yummy sabzi out of karela and relish it in lunch/dinner.
- Juice out raw karela and consume for immense health benefits.
- Make a yummy spicy stuffing using karela and relish in stuffed paranthas.
- Fry thin slices of karela and your healthy karela chips are ready for consumption.