Ampalaya, commonly known as bitter gourd or karela possesses various medicinal properties which are helpful for treating different illnesses.
One cup (94 grams) of raw ampalaya provides the following:
- Calories: 20
- Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI
- Folate: 17% of the RDI
- Potassium: 8% of the RDI
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Zinc: 5% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 93% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
It is loaded with vitamin A, which promote proper vision and skin health. Its vitamin C content helps prevent various diseases and is needed for wound healing and bone formation.
Moreover, ampalaya contains good amounts of folate, iron, potassium, and zinc as well as antioxidant compounds like quercetin, gallic acid, epicatechin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid.
When consumed as a tea, ampalaya can give your body with several benefits. Here are some of the benefits that you need to look out for:
Helps Control Blood Sugar
For many years, bitter melon has been used to treat diabetes-related conditions. Several studies have proven how its powerful medicinal properties can help a person control his blood sugar levels.
Result of a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed that drinking ampalaya tea can help lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a test used to measure blood sugar control over three months.
Researchers concluded that ampalaya promotes the secretion of insulin, and improves the way that sugar is used in your tissues.
Great For Your Eyes
Due to the beta-carotene and vitamin A present in ampalaya, it can help strengthen the eyesight and prevent vision-related problems. Plus, it is also an effective remedy against dark eye circles.
Reduces Cancer Risk
The tea contains quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties. Quercetin has the ability to protect the cell against free radical damage, which is linked to the aging process and chronic diseases, like cancer. Aside from this, experts have also found that quercetin can reduce the harmful side effects of chemotherapy.
In numerous test-tube studies, researchers discovered that ampalaya can block the growth and spread of breast cancer cells while also promoting cancer cell death. It was also effective for cancer cells in the lungs, colon, stomach, and nasopharynx — the area located behind the nose at the back of your throat.
Quercetin, along with antioxidant properties, acts as an antihistamine which helps inhibit allergic reaction inside the body, thus treating sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and itching.
Since ampalaya tea is caffeine-free, sipping of it before bedtime promotes a soothing and relaxing environment that aids in good night sleep.
Can Decrease Cholesterol Levels
When you have high levels of cholesterol, fatty plaque may build up in your arteries and this forces your heart to work harder to pump more blood, thereby increasing your risk of heart diseases.
Ampalaya tea is widely used to lower total levels of cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Bangalore-based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood, says:
“Bitter gourd tea is anti-inflammatory and also helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the body. Thereby, it significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
Also, due to its richness in potassium, ampalaya can help control the blood pressure of the body. Potassium absorbs excessive sodium in the body. Likewise, its folic acid and iron content also help in decreasing your risk of stroke and keep your heart healthy.
Cures Hangovers and Cleanses The Liver
By sipping ampalaya tea, you can wipe alcoholic intoxication settled in your liver. The tea can help cleanse your bowel and heal several liver problems.
Researchers of a study published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition concluded that ampalaya provides protection against liver failure by strengthening the anti-oxidant activity of the enzymes in the liver. Furthermore, it can also boost the functioning of your bladder.
How To Make Ampalaya Tea
For this herbal concoction, simply pick some fresh ampalaya leaves. Clean and wash the leaves thoroughly. Boil water in a casserole and put the washed leaves of ampalaya in it. Let the water boil for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Remove the water from flame and let it steep for some more time. Drain the ampalaya leaves (don’t throw the extract). Pour the extract to the cup and add honey to give it some taste. You may now drink your homemade ampalaya tea.