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Friday,October 19,2018 10:33 AM

Protect your body with bitter gourd

By Victoria Nampala

Added 19th August 2017 09:10 AM

The fruit also known as bitter melon or bitter squash can be eaten as vegetable or blended to make juice.

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Bitter gourd (Kalera). Photo by Victoria Nampala

The fruit also known as bitter melon or bitter squash can be eaten as vegetable or blended to make juice.

Bitter gourd (Kalera) is a fruit that looks like cucumber or chameleon with warts, belonging to the cucumber family.

The fruit also known as bitter melon or bitter squash can be eaten as vegetable or blended to make juice.

The fruit is sour as the name states but it is associated with many nutritional and medicinal values.

According to Moses Luggwa, a nutritionist from Kampala Hospital, the Bitter gourd detoxifies and helps to clean the blood in cases of hangovers, piles, and poison among others.

Luggwa also noted that bitter gourd stimulates a smooth digestion and proper movement of food through the bowel until it is defecated from the body.

The fruit is an insulin food that is believed to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic people.

Its bitterness can be reduced by cutting it into pieces and soaking them in mild-water for 10-20mins.

Musta Ramathan, a chef from Truddies at Nakulabye, bitter gourd can be eaten with bread, pizza and blended to make juice or fried and consumed as vegetables respectively.

“Bitter gourd is my family’s vegetable and I don’t remember when I last paid hospital bills for any of my three children in the last three years,” said Ramathan.

According to Dr. Pauline Byakika Kibwika, associate professor of internal medicine, bitter melon is an excellent source of vitamin-C which is one is of the powerful natural antioxidant that helps to search harmful free waste from the human body.

Bitter gourd also reduces the rate at which cancer spreads in the body cells. Dr Henry Ddungu, an oncologist from Mulago Cancer Institute says the fruit can prevent the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.

Bitter melon acts as the cellular level to stop cancer cells from both multiplying and spreading. “Bitter melon facilitates the body's natural means of eradicating cancer cells on its own, which it does on a constant basis to prevent the formation of tumors,” he says.

 

Sister Norah Mudukaki, a retired midwife and senior nursing officer from Nsambya hospital says, the two important problems faced by most of the pregnant women are constipation and hemorrhoids. The fiber content of bitter gourd helps in reducing these problems.

“During pregnancy, the smallest of illnesses can cause a lot of problems. A simple cough and cold can take a toll on your body when you are pregnant. What you need is to boost your immune system. Bitter gourd contains vitamin C, which is popular for its antioxidant properties. This property helps bitter gourd boost your immune system and fight common illnesses,” she say.

Dr. Simon Ssekitto, physiotherapist from Nkozi hospital says drinking at least 10 gram of bitter Gourd juice, and by applying it on knees, cures knee pain.

Bitter gourd contains Vitamin K, one of the most important nutrients for healthy bones. Bitter melon is also a great source of calcium, which is excellent for bones as well. Thus, eating bitter melon could help you prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Justus Magala, a trader in Nakasero market, says: “Bitter melon is fairly available on the market and the demand is impressive”.

He says the prices range between sh2, 000 to sh3, 000 for a batch of four bitter melons, and during off-season, that price hikes to the region of sh4,000.

Magala, however noted that the prices don’t affect the demand since it can be sold from Sh1000 and beyond respectively.

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