Wednesday, August 19, 2009

करेला (Bitter Gourd/Melon)

"करेला, वो भी नीम चढ़ा" ... I am sure you've heard that phrase before. Bitter gourd (or Karela) is simply bitter enough that you would mix it with that of neem. Some people just cannot get it down their throat willingly. Since old days in college, this vegetable has had the least number of fans in our hostel mess. But, that does not bring down its glory by any means when it comes to desire for reducing the blood sugar levels.

When we eat, the food is broken down in its basic components like glucose, protein and fat that are released in the blood. The glucose is absorbed by the body cells for energy with the help of insulin released by Pancreas. But, a lack of enough absorption leaves glucose in the blood itself and starts to damage other vital organs in long term. This condition is known as Diabetes.

The purpose behind my explanation is that Karela has been used since ages in reducing blood sugar. There are many recipes and ways in which Karela can be consumed, some of which will be liked by even people who hate it. For example, it can be cooked as chopped vegetable or, as whole with stuffing or, as juice or, as pickle or, even body oil. Recently, I saw an episode of Baba Ramdev who mentioned that an equal mix of karela, tomato and cucumber when made into unfiltered juice in a mixer and consumed empty stomach in the morning reduced the blood sugar in many people. I believe this mixture will add the benefits of other vegetables while reducing the bitterness of karela. But, I will focus on its benefits rather than taste here. Your taste buds can be trained in a short time when you start practising discipline. Once you start taking extra sugar every time, you will find that many food items will start tasting bland or less sweet. Same effect can be had in opposite by reducing the sugar intake. Taste buds always adjust to the habits of anyone. Same goes for moral tastes, but that's for another story.

So, try this amazing vegetable once in a while, of course, after cooking it. In the meantime, I will get back to training myself in eating more karela. As always, one of these days, I will visit my village where they make everything fresh and delicious from scratch!

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