When dealing with Type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise are the two most important areas you will need to focus on in your journey to lower your blood sugar. A lot of changes will have to be made in your lifestyle, especially with regards to what you eat. One of the options you may come across when looking for diabetes helpful foods is bitter melon. It is not only known for its distinctive flavor and appearance, but it may also have a positive effect on your health.
Bitter melon is a plant commonly grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Bitter melon originated in India and was introduced into China as far back as the 14th century. It has a similar look to cucumber with rough and wrinkled skin. Other names for the fruit include…
- bitter gourd,
- bitter apple,
- balsam apple,
- bitter squash,
- African cucumber,
- balsam pear, and
- karela (in India).
It will interest you to know bitter melon is commonly featured in traditional medicines for treating several illnesses; one of which is Type 2 diabetes.
The Effect of Bitter Melon. It is known to boost weight loss and help in the control of blood sugar. Studies have shown bitter melon can be useful in improving glucose intolerance. And this is closely tied to the type of chemicals found in the plant. These chemicals are similar to insulin in the way they act. They do not only help to push more sugar into the cells but also assists in suppressing the conversion of other stored nutrients into sugar.
From the result of one study carried out on a group of people with Type 2 diabetes, it is also believed bitter lemon could help to lower the hemoglobin A1c levels (HbA1c levels).
How to Use. Bitter melon is available as a supplement in a capsule form but there is still no concrete evidence on its effectiveness for people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Some factors might come into play such as your overall health, age, and whether you are suffering from any other illness.
If you decide to try bitter melon, make sure you follow the instructions on the product package. It is also a good idea to check with your doctor before taking it. Even though the supplements appear to be safe, you do not want to find it does not interact with your prescribed medications.
Apart from the supplement form, you can also try the fruit, flower, juice or tea form, depending on your preference. The plant/fruit is commonly found at an Asian or African grocery store. If you decide to prepare the fruit as many people do, make sure you remove the seeds before cooking it.