Fun Facts About the Acerbic Ampalaya


Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia), is known in the Philippines as “ampalaya”. A tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, ampalaya is widely grown for its edible fruits and shoots, and for its nutritional and medicinal properties. For generations, the crop has been used as a folkloric cure for may non-serious conditions.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Agriculture (DA) VII, Central Visayas, Philippines

Recently, ampalaya is already accepted as an effective herbal medicine for many ailments. The Philippine variety has proved to be the most potent. It contains the compounds flavonoids and alkaloids that are responsible for helping the pancreas produce more insulin. Insulin, as we know it, regulates the blood sugar in diabetics.

Ampalaya offers many other benefits, too. it’s known to be an effective antioxidant, parasiticide, antibacterial, and antipyretic. Likewise, it is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorus, and calcium.

Ampalaya is prepared in various dishes such as stir-fried with ground beef and oyster sauce, with eggs, or with diced tomatoes. Its fruits are one of the main ingredients in the popular Ilocano dish called pinakbet.  The young shoots and leaves, meanwhile, can be eaten as greens/salad.

Additional info:
While Filipinos refer to the bitter gourd as ampalaya, people in India call the vegetable karela.  Others call it bitter melon. But no matter how it is called, bitter gourd is proven to be a high source of nutrients and benefits.
If you can’t get fresh ampalaya in your area, you may order it in capsule form from Amazon. It’s a proven powerful food supplement.

Following positive results of several studies worldwide, the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) recognizes ampalaya as an alternative treatment for some health conditions, including diabetes, skin diseases, liver problems, and HIV among many. The flavonoid and alkaloid contents of ampalaya make the vegetable potent prevention for and treatment of diabetes. 

Other vitamins and minerals that you can get from ampalaya include:

  • magnesium
  • manganese
  • zinc
  • high dietary fiber
  • twice the beta-carotene of broccoli
  • twice the calcium of spinach
  • twice the potassium of a banana

Content, except the Additional Info, courtesy of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region VII, Central Visayas, Philippines.

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