Bitter melons, though entitled to be the most bitter of all the fruits and vegetables, are of great nutritional value. They are a product of tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. They serve as both food and medicine. They have long been used as an herbal remedy against a variety of conditions including Diabetes. They also find extensive uses in different weight loss remedies.
A study, led by researchers from the Hefei University of Technology and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, enumerated the correspondence between vegetables and obesity. In addition, the study stated that bitter melon, based upon animal studies, is found to reduce obesity by preventing the abnormal enlargement of the adipose tissue.
In another study, bitter melon was reported to decrease the chances of metabolic syndrome to occur. Metabolic syndrome is characterized as a cluster of varying conditions like high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar level, abnormal TG (triglycerides) levels. It is also linked with a condition called insulin resistance. It poses greater risks of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes on the organism.
The results of four-week clinical trials published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in January, 2011 showed that a 2,000 mg intake of bitter melon daily, considerably reduced blood glucose levels among type 2 diabetic patients.
A study, published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism, concluded that bitter melon seed oil could maintain the balance between metabolism and the amount of lipid taken in.
The Researchers explored the mechanisms associating with the anti-obesity influence of the bitter melons. They effectively extracted the oil from bitter melons by supercritical extraction. To determine its ingredients individually, the oil was subjected to high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
The results concluded that the extract contained,
- 43% of the conjugated linolenic acid
- 14% of the conjugated linoleic acid
The former regulated inflammation and the latter protected the body against neurodegenerative processes.
Different experiments, employing 4 groups of mice, were carried out. One of the groups served as a control group. The other three were fed with a high-fat diet along with varying amounts of the bitter melon oil extract.
According to the researchers, the group that was given the highest dose of bitter melon seed oil exhibited the greatest weight loss. The extent of obesity was seen to be reduced by at least five percent in mice with the maximum dosage.
The size of the fat cells was also found to be greatly reduced in mice because the oil extract affected the signaling molecule, named Leptin, released by the fat cells. The extract was also reported to enhance fat breakdown for energy purposes. Blood sugar levels of the mice were also seen to be fairly maintained within normal ranges.
The researchers accredited the constituent fatty acids for these anti-obesity effects exhibited by bitter melons. The team further extended their findings and indicated that bitter melons own the antioxidant characteristics that could also help in the protection of liver.
Other older studies have also claimed an association between bitter melon intake and improved glycemic control. A report published in March 2008 stated that bitter melon increased the uptake of glucose by the cells and improved glucose tolerance.
Along with the above-mentioned benefactions, bitter melons are proven for a variety of medicinal uses. It could be utilized for fever, cough, painful menstruation, burns, and other skin conditions. It also finds a little use in healing wounds, childbirth, measles, and chicken pox.
A vegetable-fruit that anticipates such plentiful advantages worth a compromise on taste.