In America, melons are tasty and popular fruits. But have you heard of bitter melon? It’s also known as bitter gourd or bitter squash.
You can probably guess that it isn’t sweet. The flavor is truly bitter, so it’s eaten as a veggie. In Southeast Asia, bitter melon is often used in stir fry. It’s known for its medicinal superpowers!
As a tea, bitter melon is just as healthy. Brew yourself a cup and take advantage of these five benefits.
1. Manages Diabetes
Bitter melon is one of the best natural remedies for diabetes. It lowers glucose, making it useful for hyperglycemia. Even insulin sensitivity will improve.
At the same time, bitter melon helps pancreatic tissue stay strong and healthy. This will also help the pancreas function just a little better.1 For diabetics, bitter melon tea is a smart choice.
2. Prevents Obesity
Obesity is on the rise, and it shows no signs of stopping. Research estimates that 58 percent of the world will be obese by 2030. That’s where bitter melon comes in.
Bitter melon tea curbs the formation of fat cells. It works against specific enzymes and genes that play a role. Plus, it’s an anti-inflammatory, making it useful for the inflammation that causes obesity-related complications.
Even with a high-fat diet, bitter melon prevents weight gain. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat well.2 But it can certainly be the first step to living a healthier life.
3. Wards Off Cancer
To avoid cancer, drink bitter melon tea. The fruit has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. Studies have shown that it can kill cancer cells of the breast, colon, pancreas, liver, skin, and cervix.
Bitter melon is actually toxic to cancer cells. It interrupts the life cycle while protecting healthy DNA. Even tumors will shrink!3
4. Decreases Inflammation
Countless diseases are caused by inflammation. Diabetes, obesity, and cancer are just the beginning. For instance, inflammation is the reason behind heart disease, hypertension, and even Alzheimer’s.4 5 It pays to try and stop it.
To fight inflammation, drink bitter melon tea. The fruit reduces inflammatory expression of cytokines, which influence other cells. It also calms down genes that cause inflammation.6
5. Reduces High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease. It affects roughly 1 in 3 American adults. Unfortunately, only 54 percent of them have their blood pressure under control.7
Are you one of those people? Drink bitter melon tea. The fruit has a therapeutic effect on high blood pressure.8 It’ll also prevent weight gain – a condition linked to high blood pressure.
How To Make Bitter Melon Tea
Thinly slice a fresh bitter melon. Arrange the slices on a metal cookie sheet, then bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The slices will dry up.
To make tea, add 3 to 5 dried slices to a cup of boiling water. Add honey and lemon to taste.
You can also find boxed tea at Asian supermarkets. It’s a great option if you don’t have fresh bitter melon. For a cold version, simply add ice cubes.
|↑1, ↑2||Alam, Md Ashraful, Riaz Uddin, Nusrat Subhan, Md Mahbubur Rahman, Preeti Jain, and Hasan Mahmud Reza. “Beneficial role of bitter melon supplementation in obesity and related complications in metabolic syndrome.” Journal of lipids 2015 (2015).|
|↑3, ↑6||Dandawate, Prasad R., Dharmalingam Subramaniam, Subhash B. Padhye, and Shrikant Anant. “Bitter melon: a panacea for inflammation and cancer.” Chinese journal of natural medicines 14, no. 2 (2016): 81-100.|
|↑4||Oxidative Stress/Inflammation and Heart, Lung, Blood, and Sleep Disorders. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑5||Akiyama, Haruhiko, Steven Barger, Scott Barnum, Bonnie Bradt, Joachim Bauer, Greg M. Cole, Neil R. Cooper et al. “Inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.” Neurobiology of aging 21, no. 3 (2000): 383-421.|
|↑7||High Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control.|
|↑8||Zou, Ping. “Traditional Chinese Medicine, Food Therapy, and Hypertension Control: A Narrative Review of Chinese Literature.” The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 44, no. 08 (2016): 1579-1594.|