Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) Health Benefits

Bitter melon or bitter gourd is commonly known here in the Philippines as ampalaya. The fruit of this plant is bitter, even the leaves and stem. It is known as the most bitter of vegetables. Here’s a trivia for you guys if you haven’t heard or read; ampalaya is a member of the squash family.

The bitterness of this plant comes from the high concentration of quinine, which is used as anti-inflammatory and painkiller. It’s also effective for treating malaria. Aside from these properties, amplaya have been used as herbal medicine due to its numerous healing properties. Bitter gourd or bitter melon had been popular for its properties to treat diabetes. Clinical studies show that bitter melon increases the production of beta cells in the pancreas which leads to improvement of insulin production of the body. Ampalaya is also effective for people who are constipated because it can stimulate digestion, also effective for treating HIV infection and lowering blood sugar.

I love eating ampalaya with egg. It’s truly very delicious and very healthy. Some people don’t like the taste of ampalaya because of the bitterness. But if you eat bitter melon stir-fried with ground beef or sautéed with egg you’ll love it. But if you still can’t take the bitterness, you can put your amplaya on the freezer. Let it stay there for about 3-5 hours then it’s ready to cook.

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