So, it may not be one of the most loved vegetables across the world, but it is a universally acknowledged fact that karela, or bitter gourd, is one of the most nutritious veggies one can add to their diet. The bitter-pungent taste of this wonder veggie may have given karela a 'not-so popular' rep amongst many, but once you develop a taste for these lovely bitters - there is just no looking back. The many savoury bitter gourd preparations are a proof to India's obsession with karela. Bitter gourd juice contains a train of important nutrients ranging like iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C. In addition to these minerals and vitamins, it is also an abundant source of dietary fibre. This nutrient dense vegetable can do wonders for your weight loss goals, too. In a 2010 issue of a report published in the Journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it was revealed that extracts of bitter gourd helped in the dislocation of human fat cells and also hindered the formation and growth of new fat cells. It was further concluded that bitter gourd can be viewed as a natural agent for treating obesity.
1. Regulates Insulin: Karela juice is an excellent beverage for diabetics. Bitter gourd helps regulate the blood sugar level in your body. Stabilised blood sugar levels eventually help in weight loss. Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood explains, "Karela juice makes your insulin active. When your insulin is active, your sugar would be used adequately and not convert into fat, which would inevitably help in weight loss."
2. Low-calorie Veggie: Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. You would be surprised to know that 100 grams of bitter gourd has only 34 calories. It is also low on carbohydrates and fats.
3. Rich in Fibre: Bitter gourd is rich in soluble fibres. It is said the the fibre in bitter gourd pods amounts to 10 percent of recommended daily value intake. Fibre-rich foods induce the feeling of fullness. Since fibre takes long to digest, you feel full for a longer span and tend to binge less. Bitter gourd is also filling because it is high in water - about 89 to 94 percent of its weight is just water, which also makes it an excellent summer vegetable.
Karela juice is very easy to prepare and requires bare minimum ingredients. If it gets too bitter for your palate, you can mix it with some other fruit juice, too.
Peel the bitter gourd with the help of a knife. Slice the bitter gourd to the centre. Once you are done slicing, scoop out the white flesh and the seeds of the vegetable.Now, take the bitter gourd and cut them into tiny pieces. Soak the pieces in cold water for about 30 minutes. Add bitter gourd pieces to a juicer and add half teaspoon salt and lemon juice. Blend the ingredients well till you get a fine consistency.
Quick Tip : To reduce the bitterness of the drink, add some honey or jaggery to it, or pair it with sweet fruits like apple or pears. You can even add lemon juice to lessen the harsh taste of bitter gourd juice. A pinch of black pepper and ginger can also decrease the tartness and make it more palatable. So, what are you waiting for? Start loading up on the weight loss beverage already.