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ampalayavegetable-bitter-gourd

Ampalaya or bitter melon is scientifically known as Momordica Charantia, a bitter tasting vegetable found in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, with the attribute of a bitter herb which is best paired with meat such as, “Ampalaya con Carne,” a nutritious and delicious oriental dish.

Relative to this, there is a verse in the Bible in Exodus 12:8 which states, “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it, ” a proof that since the ancient times bitter herbs were already part of one’s meaty meal.

It has been shown to effectively help lower blood glucose. Usually it is eaten while still green for as the fruit ripens, its bitterness deteriorates. In other words, it is more tasty when crunchy green. It is used as a regular vegetable ingredient for many Asian dishes and can even be served uncooked or roasted with fire. It is rich in fiber and nutrients such as iron and potassium. Several supplements for diabetics have been developed using the Ampalaya, most notably an Ampalaya tea and capsules using the dried Ampalaya fruit.
As diabetes continues to rapidly spread across countries and social strata, the Ampalaya is expected to provide diabetics with a safe and natural alternative to help control their elevated sugar levels. While the herb is still rare in countries where it is not indigenous, expect the Ampalaya and Ampalaya-based products to start gracing local grocery shelves as more and more people realize its potential anti-diabetes use. In a study conducted by the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, they found out that diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and degenerative arthritic conditions have now become major public health problems that are set to double by the next decade. With these facts, Ampalaya is a health food of proven efficacy against diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even infections.

The study also revealed that Ampalaya is a unique feature of the Okinawan diet and believed to be one of the keys in the longevity of the Japanese in Okinawa (Okinawans have the highest average life expectancy in the world). The bitter alkaloid is the active principle, momodicin (a triterpene glycoside). Radioisotope labeled glucose study had shown that ampalaya increases the utilization of glucose by the liver. A polypeptide-p had also been identified with insulin-like properties and induces the capacity to regenerate pancreatic beta cells in animal models. Ampalaya also has lipid lowering properties in the presence or absence of diabetes with the consequent decrease in triglycerides and cholesterol.

Further, it was found out that it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Data also show that Ampalaya has proteins that can inhibit cancer cell lines of the prostate, liver, leukemia and sarcomas. As an immuno-stimulant, Ampalaya was noted to increase interferon and natural killer cell activity, both helpful in increasing resistance to infections and tumors.

To consider backyard growing of Ampalaya plant may now be a better alternative than just buying said vegetable in the market.

Sources: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=GabrielG.Adams; Research and Study conducted by the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine; http://www.jacobimages.com/v/images-stock-photos-asian-food/vegetables/vegetable-bitter-gourd.html

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