Friday, August 13, 2010

Bitter Gourd for Anemia

Posted by Cecile at 8/13/2010 05:55:00 PM
Do you know that the tropical vegetable called bitter melon/gourd is good for anemia and blood sugar control? Yup, and I have been eating it at least once a day. At Asian store you can even find bitter gourd tea if you are tired of the meat itself. The leaves of bitter gourd can be put to your sauteed mung bean and it is good, too. This is one common medicinal food for diabetics.

According to Wikipedia:

In the Philippines, where it is known as ampalayĆ”, bitter melon is used in many dishes. It may be stir-fried with ground beef and oyster sauce, or with eggs and diced tomato. A very popular dish from the Ilocos region in the north of Luzon island is pinakbet, which consists mainly of bitter melons, eggplant, okra, string beans, tomatoes, lima beans, and other various regional vegetables altogether stewed with a little bagoong- based stock. The young shoots and leaves of the bitter melon may also be eaten as greens; these are locally called dahon ng ampalayĆ” (lit. "leaf of bitter melon").

Bitter melon contains a lectin that has insulin-like activity. The insulin-like bioactivity of this lectin is due to its linking together 2 insulin receptors. This lectin lowers blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and, similar to insulin's effects in the brain, suppressing appetite. This lectin is likely a major contributor to the hypoglycemic effect that develops after eating bitter melon and why it may be a way of managing adult-onset diabetes. Lectin binding is non-protein specific, and this is likely why bitter melon has been credited with immunostimulatory activity—by linking receptors that modulate the immune system, thereby stimulating said receptors.

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