Bitter cucumber – the exotic superfood with health-promoting effects in your garden
Have you seen this strange, exotic fruit in the market? The bitter cucumber or bitter melon looks quite unusual indeed and immediately attracts everyone’s attention. It has an oval, elongated shape and a wrinkled shell that looks like it is covered with warts. Already known as a powerful medicinal plant in ancient Chinese medicine, the bitter cucumber enjoys its good reputation as a superfood in this country too. Find out below about the health benefits of bitter cucumber and how you can prepare them.
Bitter cucumber – the bizarre exotic has it all
Momordica charantia, as bitter cucumber is scientifically called, originally comes from India and China and has a long tradition behind it. Not only did the traditional Chinese medicine know its great potential as a medicinal plant, but it has always had its well-deserved place in Ayurveda.
Even back then, tea and infusions were made from the leaves and the fruit itself was used in various ways. The plant is still known as bitter melon, balsam pear or goya cucumber.
This is why bitter cucumber is so healthy
Bitter cucumbers are valued primarily for their proven blood sugar lowering effects. This was already explained in the old traditions, but recently confirmed by researchers at the University of Giessen in a scientific study. Not only with prediabetes, but also with type 2 diabetes in general, the bitter cucumber should be able to provide lasting help by influencing the blood sugar level. This very important property of the exotic plant is due to the high amount of charantin. It is a secondary plant substance from the group of phytosterols. These chemical compounds occur freely in nature and are known for their hypoglycemic effects.
A real healing gift from nature
But the bitter cucumber can do even more. She is the perfect ally on the path to healthy, sustainable weight loss. The saponins and lipids contained in it have an appetite suppressant, improve fat burning and are an effective remedy for constipation.
Bitter cucumber is also said to be effective against viruses. It works like a natural antibiotic and increases the body’s defenses. The extract and the pulp itself can help with psoriasis and acne and promote firmer and shiny skin. The exotic fruit is said to have anti-cancer properties.
Last but not least, it should be remembered that bitter cucumbers are rich in vitamin A and antioxidants and thus not only promote skin and eyesight, but can also slow down the aging process of cells. You can usually buy bitter cucumber fresh at weekly markets from October to April. These are also available in the form of capsules or extract as a dietary supplement in pharmacies.
Attention! The consumption of bitter cucumber in large quantities can have harmful effects on health. Children are not allowed to ingest the fruit in any form because it can be too strong for them. Pregnant women are also not allowed to do it, because there is a high risk of premature births or miscarriages. In the past, bitter cucumber was even used as a natural abortion agent.
Very important! This information cannot replace professional expertise. They are for guidance only and are not intended to aid self-diagnosis or self-medication. Therefore, please seek advice from your doctor before taking a dietary supplement with bitter cucumber or consuming the fruit.
How do you prepare bitter cucumber?
In Asian cuisine, bitter cucumbers are prepared in different ways as vegetables. In principle, these can also be eaten raw, but they taste extremely bitter. The bitter substances are only present in a minimal amount when they are still immature. It is best to briefly boil the pulp in salted water. So the bitter taste is softened a lot. In addition, the bitter cucumber can be further processed in spicy dishes, roasted, baked or marinated and served as a spicy side dish.
The chips made from bitter gherkins taste delicious
Before preparing, the fruits are washed, cut and peeled well. The red seeds of the bitter cucumber are removed. Sometimes these are also ground and made into a spice. Basically, the more ripe the fruit, the more bitter it is in taste.
The exotic cucumbers also go well with spicy dishes
Just try out for yourself whether the bitter cucumber is your thing. It is possible that the exotic will really convince you and win you over with its unique taste and diverse positive properties.