Most of us find the bitter-pungent taste of karela extremely tasty and love to eat it every other day. But some of us find the bitterness unpalatable but manage to force-feed ourselves knowing it does a lot of good to the body. There are lots of recipes with karela or bitter gourd – bitter gourd curry, karela fry, karela chips, etc but the healthiest of all is consuming fresh karela juice. Bitter melon juice or karela juice has become one of the top health drinks these days due to its extensive health benefits. Let us understand more about karela juice benefits for a healthy body.
What is Karela Juice?
Karela, also called pavakkai, kakarakaya, ampalaya or hagalakayi in various Asian regions is a sub-tropical and tropical fruit from the squash family, though most of us think of it as a vegetable. It is originally from the southern region of India and was passed to the African, Chinese and other Asian countries a few centuries ago.
Karela is green in colour with rough spiky skin and is very bitter in taste. The bitterness, shape and colour do vary depending on the variety and region in which it is grown. It is known for its high nutrient value and medicinal properties and is widely used in Asian cuisine and Indian herbal medicine. Karela juice is the extract of this bitter fruit by blending it with some water. It has numerous health benefits and is popularly consumed around the world as a health tonic.
Is Bitter Gourd Juice Good for Health?
- Karela juice, is a highly nutritious drink loaded with several essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that benefit the body in many ways.
- Bitter gourd juice is popularly taken as a remedy for diabetes as it helps lower blood glucose levels.
- It also fights infections and is regarded as an effective blood purifier due to its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Bitter melon is high in anti-inflammatory properties so that prevent many diseases like heart disease, cancer, liver disease, respiratory illnesses etc.
Bitter Gourd Juice Nutrition Facts:
Bitter melon is 84-90% water but unlike any other vegetables you come across, it is also quite rich in several vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and fibres. Do you know that just 100 grams of karela can give you 17kcal of energy?! Yes, you heard it right! Here are some interesting karela juice nutritional facts.
- Energy: 17kcal
- Fibre: 2.8g
- Vitamin A: 471 IU
- Vitamin C: 84 mg
- Thiamin: 3.5%
- Riboflavin: 3%
- Pyridoxine: 3%
- Pantothenic acid: 4%
- Niacin: 2.5%
- Folates: 18%
- Calcium: 2%
- Copper: 4%
- Iron: 5%
- Magnesium: 4%
- Manganese: 4%
- Zinc: 7%
How To Make Karela Juice at Home?
Bitter gourd juice is available in the market under various brands. One popular brand that sells bitter melon juice is Patanjali. But, the best way of consuming this juice, is by making fresh at home. Karela is one of the most cultivated vegetable/fruit in India, so you can easily get hold of fresh karela from any vegetable market. Let us look at the steps involved in preparing fresh karela juice at home:
- One bitter gourd
- Water, as per requirement
- One teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt or honey, as per your taste
Method of Preparation:
- Chop the bitter gourd in medium-sized pieces.
- Deseed the pieces.
- Transfer the pieces into a blender.
- Add half the amount of water as the bitter gourd pieces.
- Blend it smoothly.
- Strain the juice and pour it into a mug.
- Add the lemon juice and salt or honey.
- Serve immediately.
As bitter gourd is very bitter, honey or salt helps in neutralizing the bitterness. You can also add ginger, pears or green apple to enhance the taste and nutritious value.
How Much Karela Juice To Drink Daily?
- Karela is a beneficial fruit with high nutrient content. There is no research establishing the toxic effects of this fruit on humans, so there is no known upper limit or dosage of consumption.
- However, as a saying in ancient Indian medicine goes, “anything in excess is bad for the body”, it is advised to limit the daily consumption to 50-100 ml per day.
Best Time To Drink Karela Juice?
- The right time of drinking bitter melon juice depends on the condition we are trying to treat.
- If you want to reduce body weight and burn belly fat, you should consume in the morning on an empty stomach.
- If you want to treat diabetes, you should consume it thrice a day before mealtime.
- Bitter gourd is heating and slightly acidic, so it is not advised to drink it on an empty stomach if you are underweight or have acidity issues.
- It is recommended to check the effects of this juice on your body and choose the time of the day that is most suitable.
Can We Drink Bitter Gourd Juice Daily?
- You can safely drink bitter melon juice every day if your body is able to take the acidity.
- If bitter melon seems to be too harsh on your palate or your body, it is advised to limit the intake to thrice a week.
Science Proven Karela Juice Benefits:
Here we enlisted 20 research-based bitter gourd juice benefits for health, skin and hair. Let’s have a look into them.
Health Benefits of Karela Juice:
Here are our 12 best health benefits of bitter gourd juice on your body.
1. Bitter Gourd Juice for Diabetes:
Bitter gourd is a very effective alternative treatment for diabetes. It contains compounds that mimic the properties of insulin and control blood glucose levels. Karela contains polypeptide-P, charantin and vicine that not only show antidiabetic properties but are identified as very efficient hypoglycemic agents.
Polypeptide-P is also called plant-based insulin as it functions just like the insulin hormone. It aids in the absorption of glucose by the cells. Charantin and vicine are found to decrease the absorption of glucose and lower blood glucose levels. Studies show excellent results for karela in reversing diabetes(1).
2. Karela Juice Benefits for Weight Loss:
Bitter gourd is very low in calories but rich in soluble fibres which flush out toxins and other wastes from the body that contribute to fat build-up. The antioxidants in bitter gourd eliminate the free radicals that cause weight gain. Karela increases metabolism and prevents the formation of fat storage cells. All these functions help reduce the fat content in the body considerably.
3. Bitter Gourd Juice for Liver Health:
Bitter melon is high in properties that help protect liver health. Wrong lifestyle and food are top contributors to liver damage. Karela is very effective in preventing fatty liver condition and reducing the deposit of alcohol in the liver. It is also a very good cure for a hangover. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help prevent cell damage and oxidative damage of liver cells.
4. Karela Juice for Cancer:
Bitter melon has shown successful results in curing various types of cancer(2). It contains very powerful compounds that kill various cancer cells. It has shown to inhibit the growth and spread of a few cancers like liver cancer, breast cancer etc. Indian herbal medicine uses all components of the bitter gourd plant in preparing remedies for cancer. Karela has been successful in treating colon cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, lung, cancer, nasopharynx cancer, cervical cancer and blood cancer.
5. Treats Skin Conditions Like Psoriasis and Eczema:
Bitter melon is high in anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. These properties help in treating skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, ringworm etc. Karela is also a very potent cure for treating injuries, rashes, itching, leprosy, sores, dermatitis and other conditions of the skin(3). Some studies also found bitter melon to prevent skin cancer.
6. Promotes Digestion:
Karela is a very good remedy for improving digestion. It kills intestinal worms and greatly supports in maintaining intestinal health. It also enhances nutrient absorption. It activates the liver and increases the secretion of digestive juices, thereby improving the digestive process significantly.
7. Boosts Immunity:
Bitter melon is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that help boost the immune system. Vitamin C supports in fighting many infections. The antioxidants help flush out the free radicals and strengthen the body. The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of karela also contribute to stronger immunity.
8. Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels:
Karela has high anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce bad cholesterol in the body(4). This benefits the heart very much as it decreases the risk of stroke and heart attacks significantly. Bitter gourd is also rich in soluble fibres, folic acid and iron which unclog the arteries of the heart and improve heart health. It is also very effective in absorbing excess sodium from the body which can damage heart functioning.
9. Benefits for Eyes:
Bitter melon is high in beta carotene and vitamin A which are very beneficial for eyes. It helps improve the vision and treat eye conditions like cataract. It also helps strengthen the eye muscles and soothe the eyes. Applying fresh karela juice around the eyes can help remove dark circles.
10. Treats Malaria:
Bitter gourd has anti-bacterial properties that treat many infectious diseases. It contains anti-helminthic properties that treat parasitic conditions like malaria very effectively(5).
11. Purifies Blood:
Bitter melon is a very potent blood purifier. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of bitter melon remove toxins and infections from the blood and purify the blood very effectively. Blood purification is vital for treating many health conditions and strengthening the body.
12. Treat Piles:
Bitter gourd leaf juice is a popular herbal remedy for treating piles. Piles is a very common and troubling condition where the veins around the rectum get inflamed leading to bleeding, difficulty in passing stool and even cancer in worst cases. Bitter melon leaves have anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the veins and tissues and treat piles.
Karela Juice Benefits For Skin:
Here are our 4 best benefits of bitter gourd juice for skin. Let’s have a look into them.
1. Bitter Gourd Juice for Glowing Skin:
Bitter melon is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C which help promote skin health. It is also a very effective medicine for skin lightening. It helps reduce wrinkles and slow down skin ageing. The antioxidant properties of bitter melon help clear out the toxins in the skin and make the skin radiant and shiny.
2. Karela Juice for Acne:
Acne is a very common skin condition in the world. It is caused due to acne-causing bacteria that start breeding in the skin pores. The anti-bacterial properties in karela help in deep cleansing of skin pores and warding off bacteria that cause acne, pimples, blackheads, blemishes and other skin conditions(6). It keeps the skin healthy and clean.
3. Treats Skin Itching:
Skin itching is mostly caused due to infestation of microbes and infections on the skin. Karela is very effective in treating ringwork, fungal infections and other skin conditions caused due to bacteria and other microbes. This helps in reducing the itchiness in the skin significantly.
4. Treats Skin Infections:
Karela is an excellent antioxidant and antimicrobial. It helps in cleaning the skin of various microbes that cause skin conditions like ringworm, rashes etc. It is also a very effective anti-inflammatory remedy. It also helps soothe skin rashes caused due to heat and other infections.
Karela Juice Benefits For Hair:
Here are our 4 best bitter gourd juice benefits for hair. Let’s have a look into them.
1. Adds Shine To Hair:
Karela juice hair mask is very good for the hair and scalp. It helps in effective conditioning and moisturizing the hair strands. This makes the hair smooth and shiny. Sufficient moisturisation helps in improving the health of the hair fibres and makes them look radiant and young.
2. Karela Juice for Hair Loss:
Bitter gourd is rich in essential nutrients like biotin, vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc which improving hair and scalp health. Bitter gourd juice hair mask helps nourish the hair strands and prevent hair breakage, hair fall and hair loss. Biotin present in the bitter gourd is a very important nutrient that helps in hair growth and follicle health.
3. Prevents Dandruff:
Dandruff is mostly due to inflammation, dirt and microbes that get accumulated in the scalp. Karela juice hair mask is an excellent cleanser that helps clean the scalp of grease, dirt and other microbes that cause dandruff. It also reduces inflammation that leads to dandruff.
4. Grey Hair:
Bitter gourd is found to be a very good natural remedy for combating grey hair. Applying bitter gourd juice on the scalp and hair has shown significant results in improving the pigmentation in the hair. Regular use of bitter gourd hair mask nourishes the scalp cells and effectively prevents grey hair/white hair.
Karela Juice Side Effects:
Though bitter gourd is a natural ingredient, it is important to follow certain precautions while consuming the juice or eating it. Let us look at some disadvantages of bitter gourd juice can have on your body:
- Karela juice benefits the digestion and stomach very much but if taken in excess or in an unsuitable manner, it can cause diarrhoea and stomach pain.
- As bitter gourd has natural insulin compounds, it may intervene with diabetes medications if you are a diabetic. You must consult your doctor before consuming karela if you are suffering from high blood sugar or diabetes.
- Pregnant women must avoid karela juice as it may cause miscarriage because it increases the risk of vaginal bleeding and contractions.
- Excessive intake of bitter gourd may cause inflammation in the liver and increase the secretion of liver enzymes. These enzymes can have damaging effects on the body.
- Too much consumption of karela juice can cause low sugar levels even in healthy people. Worst cases of low sugar levels can cause hypoglycemic coma.
We are living in times where the risk of infections, parasites and diseases like cancer is multifold. The daily dose of powerful natural fruits like karela helps in preventing many diseases and improving our general health. Karela juice is a very important health drink as it is loaded with nutrients and disease-fighting properties. You can take it every day by adding a few chunks to your daily smoothie too. Let us know how karela juice helped you by commenting below.