What is the Nutritional Value of Bitter Gourd?

Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon or karela, is a vegetable that belongs to the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). It is characterized by its unique bitter taste and is commonly used in various cuisines, particularly in Asian cooking.

Bitter gourd is a versatile vegetable that can be cooked and prepared in various ways. It can be stir-fried, sautéed, stuffed, or added to soups, stews, and curries. Some people also enjoy bitter gourd as a juice or in pickled form. Cooking methods such as blanching or soaking in saltwater can help reduce the bitterness.

As the name suggests, bitter gourd has a strong and distinct bitter taste. The bitterness comes from the presence of certain compounds called momordicin and charantin. The flavor is often described as intensely bitter, with some earthy and slightly sweet notes.

Nutritional Values

Bitter gourd is low in calories and carbohydrates, making it suitable for low-calorie and low-carb diets. It is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Bitter gourd is particularly rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, folate (vitamin B9), and potassium. It also contains smaller amounts of other nutrients such as iron, calcium, and vitamin B6.

Here are the approximate nutritional values per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of bitter gourd:

  • Calories: 17
  • Carbohydrates: 3.7 g
  • Fiber: 2.6 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Vitamin C: 84 mg (93% of the Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 471 IU (9% of the Daily Value)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): 72 mg(18% of the Daily Value)
  • Potassium: 296 mg (6% of the Daily Value)

Here are some additional points about the nutritional value of bitter gourd:

  • Low Calorie: Bitter gourd is a low-calorie vegetable, making it a good choice for those looking to manage their calorie intake.
  • High in Fiber: Bitter gourd is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help promote healthy digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Rich in Vitamin C: Bitter gourd is particularly high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that supports immune function, collagen synthesis, and acts as a protective agent against free radicals.
  • Contains Phytonutrients: Bitter gourd contains various phytonutrients, including flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Bitter Taste: The bitter taste of bitter gourd is attributed to compounds called momordicin and charantin. These compounds are believed to have potential health benefits, including supporting blood sugar control and promoting healthy digestion.

It’s important to note that the nutritional composition can vary slightly depending on the variety of bitter gourd and how it is cooked or prepared. It may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions or sensitivities. It is advisable to consume bitter gourd in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian if you have specific health concerns or are taking any medications.

Overall, bitter gourd is a unique and nutritious vegetable that can add a distinct flavor to your meals. If you enjoy bitter flavors and are open to exploring new tastes, bitter gourd can be a valuable addition to your culinary repertoire.