Bitter Melon, also commonly known as bitter gourd or bitter squash in some western , has a wealth of health benefits that can be derived by including it in your diet. Some of the most well-known benefits of bitter melon are its ability to help manage diabetes, prevent and reduce symptoms of cancer, reduce the effects of hemorrhoids, improve respiratory health, improve skin health, and boost the immune system. It is also proven that bitter melon has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibiotic, anti-allergenic, antiviral, antiparasitic, and expectorant qualities. For these reasons and more, bitter melon is a staple among a number of cultural cuisines across the world.
Bitter melon is actually a member of the same family (Cucurbitaceae) as squashes, melons, and gourds, which is why it has three distinctive names, depending on where in the world you are eating this herbaceous vine. It is most commonly found in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and its origins have been traced back to the Indian subcontinent and began to spread more than 600 years ago.
The name is well-deserved, and it is considered one of the most bitter fruits available, which does have certain culinary benefits. Ideally, the fruit is harvested before ripening, as it becomes increasingly bitter, and the fruit is long, like a cucumber, with a very warty, ridged exterior. The benefits of the fruit are found in the flesh, which has the consistency of cucumber or green pepper before ripening, when it becomes tough and extremely bitter. If the fruit allowed to ripen, a bright red pith emerges, which is also used in some cultures in their cuisine.
Here are 7 health benefits of bitter melon: