11/01/2008

The Bitter Truth...

Q: What's the Bitter Truth?
A: Bitter gourd is good for you.

No, seriously. Today after our Bkt. Lembing expedition, we tucked into hearty Ling Ming Mien (Lembing noodles) in either clear soup or tossed in soy sauce (kun low), with an assortment of yong tau foo. My favorite is the bitter gourd rings filled generously with fish paste, which is what I got for breakfast today. Yum. 

Yet I know some people don't like bitter gourd because of, well, its bitter flavor...TBH it takes an acquired taste to truly enjoy the fruit; me & parents enjoy homemade bitter gourd soup while Baby Sis & Princess Sis wrinkle their noses in disgust at our enjoyment *snort* 

So what justifies the Bitter Truth?

The Bitter Gourd
Found in tropical regions, this edible fruit is among the most bitter of all vegetables. The exterior is "warty" & it has an oblong shape. It has a hollow interior with a central seed cavity. The flesh is crunchy & chewy, very much like a cucumber. The skin is smooth & edible. 

Cooking methods
It usually steals the show so its rarely cooked with other vegetables. It's popularly stir-fried, made into soups, even tea. It also is used as yong tau foo with the fish paste filling it. My favorite is the soup; we put in bitter gourd rings with pork, add in salt & it's a delicious filling meal. There are many ways to cook it but I'm no chef so...

Nutritional Benefits
Bitter gourds are low in calories but rich with nutrients. It has vitamin B1, B2, B3, vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosporus, manganese, & high dietary fiber. It's also rich in iron & has twice the amount of beta-carotene found in broccoli, the calcium in spinach & the potassium of a banana. Goody.

Health Benefits

Blood disorders:  Bitter gourd juice is highly beneficial for treating blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to toxemia.  Mix 2 ounces of fresh bitter gourd juice with some lime juice.  Sip it slowly on an empty stomach daily for between four and six months and see improvement in your condition.

Cholera:  In early stages of cholera, take two teaspoonfuls juice of bitter gourd leaves, mix with two teaspoonfuls white onion juice and one teaspoonful lime juice.  Sip this concoction daily till you get well.

Diabetes mellitus:  Bitter melon contains a hypoglycemic compound 
(a plant insulin) that is highly beneficial in lowering sugar levels in blood and urine.  Bitter melon juice has been shown to significantly improve glucose tolerance without increasing blood insulin levels.

Energy:  Regular consumption of bitter gourd juice has been proven to improve energy and stamina level.  Even sleeping patterns have been shown to be improved/stabilized.

Eye problems:  The high beta-carotene and other properties in bitter gourd makes it one of the finest vegetable-fruit that help alleviate eye problems and improving eyesight.

Hangover:  Bitter melon juice may be beneficial in the treatment of a hangover for its alcohol intoxication properties.  It also help cleanse and repair and nourish liver problems due to alcohol consumption.

Immune booster:  This bitter juice can also help to build your immune system and increase your body's resistance against infection.

Piles:  Mix three teaspoonfuls of juice from bitter melon leaves with a glassful of buttermilk. Take this every morning on empty stomach for about a month and see an improvement to your condition.  To hasten the healing, use the paste of the roots of bitter melon plant and apply over the piles.

Psoriasis:  Regular consumption of this bitter juice has also been known to improve psoriasis condition and other fungal infections like ring-worm and athletes feet.

Respiratory disorders:  Take two ounces of fresh bitter melon juice and mix with a cup of honey diluted in water.  Drink daily to improve asthma, bronchitis and pharyngitis.

Toxemia:  Bitter gourd contains beneficial properties that cleanses the blood from toxins.  Sip two teaspoonfuls of the juice daily to help cleanse the liver.  Also helpful in ridding jaundice for the same reasons.


Summary

Do not consume more than 2 gourds a day for it may cause mild abdominal pain/diarrhea. Pregnant women should avoid bitter gourds because its juice may stimulate the uterus leading to preterm labor. 

All in all, the bitter gourd is a great source of many precious nutrients & its a delicious fruit to eat. Who'd have expected my first article about Food to be on this? Hehe...

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