Most people associate melon with a sweet and crisp fruit which is ideal for the long, summer days.
However, those from Asia or the Caribbean have a different thing on mind, as they are well familiar with another type of melon.
The bitter melon resembles a cucumber or a sad gourd and it is one of the healthiest foods known to man.
Bitter lemon is used to treat stomach and intestinal disorders, such as constipation, colitis, intestinal worms, upset stomach, and ulcers.
In addition to this, this fruit can be used to treat liver disease, menstrual pain, psoriasis, fever, kidney stones and as a supportive treatment for HIV.
It has been scientifically shown that compounds found in bitter melon mimic insulin, lowering blood sugar levels and supporting the transportation of glucose in the liver and muscles. It also promotes weight loss and improves insulin sensitivity, insulin signaling, and glucose tolerance.
Use In Cancer Patients
Just like it helps with diabetes, the melon has the same actions against cancer cells as well.
According to the University of Colorado Cancer Center, bitter melon stops pancreatic cancer cells from metabolizing glucose as cancer cells need sugar to thrive. Consuming bitter melon juice on a daily basis was shown to lower pancreatic cancer risk by 60 percent.
It also shows cytotoxic activity as it contains a ribosome inhibiting protein which induces cell death in prostate cancer cells. It prevents the spread of cancer as well and it has been shown that mice given bitter melon extract had 51 percent reduction of cancer proliferation.
Besides these studies, many investigators have found that treatment of bitter melon related products induce cell cycle arrest and cell death while leaving the normal cells intact.
Not only it works against pancreatic cancer, but bitter melon has shown positive results in treating breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Maybe in a couple of years, cancer patients will be given juicers instead of chemotherapy and Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor of pathology at SLU is quite hopeful with regards to this.
How To Use Bitter Melon
Larger quantities of bitter melon may cause diarrhea and abdominal pain and healthy adults are recommended to limit their intake to 2oz of it daily. Those under 18, people taking insulin or hypoglycemic medication, and pregnant women should use bitter melon under medical supervision.
Not-So-Bitter Melon Juice
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 apples
- Wash the ingredients thoroughly
- Cut the bitter melon and remove the seeds and flesh
- Chop the cucumber, lemon, celery stalks, and apples
- Add salt and honey ( optional)
- Juice everything well