Is Bitter Melon a Fruit or Vegetable? (Benefits and Side Effects)

Bitter Melon has a unique Bitterish taste and supreme health benefits, which is why it is now being added in a lot of cooking recipes. Health experts are also making videos about how great it really is.

But when you hear about Bitter Melon or decide to include it in the diet, the first thing that comes to mind is- Is it a fruit or a vegetable? I’m answering this here!

Bitter Melon is a fruit and not a vegetable. It fulfills the definition set by botanists about what fruit is (as it is developed from a ripened ovary of the flower of the Momordica charantia plant). Therefore, everyone considers the Bitter Melon a fruit.

If you want to know Bitter Melon’s top health benefits and possible side effects, then stay till the end.

Key Takeaways

  • Botanically speaking, Bitter Melon is a fruit and not a vegetable. It is developed from a flower of the Momordica charantia plant.
  • Bitter Melon (aka Bitter Gourd) is known for its health benefits as it is full of vital nutrients.
  • If you are not careful with your Bitter Melon diet, then the fruit can cause side effects (from mild to severe).
  • Never eat more than half a cup of Bitter Melon a day to live a healthy life.

Let’s see the details.

Bitter Melon- A Great Fruit To Eat

Bitter Melon, also famously known as Bitter Gourd, is a fruit that people cook with vegetables, meat, and even alone with no side ingredients.

Some people consider it a vegetable, but when you look at the botanical definition of a fruit, Bitter Gourd fulfills every criterion. It is developed from a ripened ovary of the Momordica charantia plant’s flower.

During its development, Bitter Melon also changes its colors. It is now mostly available in light green, dark green, and yellow colors.

This fruit typically has a long shape with tapered ends that looks like a cucumber. Plus, natural water is stored in it as well, which is Bitter in taste. You can also find many seeds in Bitter Gourd fruit too, which are also not good in taste.

Despite having this taste, Bitter Melon fruit is still famous.

A lot of cooking recipes have neutralized the Bitterness and what is left is just plain delicious. In addition, people also extract the water and drink it for medicinal purposes.

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Let’s now see the nutritional value of the Bitter Gourd/Melon fruit and then its top benefits:

Bitter Melon Nutritional Facts

A 100-gram of Raw Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd provides:

Calories20
Protein1g
Fiber2.5g
Fat3.50g
Carbs5g
Sugar2.30g
Salt160 mg
Vitamin C94% of Recommended Daily Intake
Vitamin A44% RDI

Benefits of Bitter Melon

The nutritional value of Bitter Melon fruit makes it one of the healthiest fruits to eat. The health advantages that you can enjoy when you eat it are:

1.   Weight Loss

One of the best benefits of Bitter Melon is that it helps people achieve healthy weight loss. How?

This fruit has many beneficial factors that lead to a flatter belly.

As mentioned above, Bitter Melons are low in calories and a good source of fiber. So, swapping it with high-calorie meals will help you get slimmer faster. Plus, the fiber content in the foods makes sure that you feel full for a longer period.

So, if you eat Bitter Melon, you will feel fewer cravings to eat snacks, which will also help reduce calorie intake. Hence, weight loss will become easier than you can imagine.

In addition, a Bitter Gourd also supports fat cell burning because of the high amount of vitamins it has. All of them boost the metabolism- which is a process of burning calories into energy.

So, eat Bitter Melon fruit or drink its juice/smoothies to lose weight.

2.   Great For Diabetics

Bitter Melons are now scientifically proven to reduce blood sugar levels. A study was conducted for 12 weeks in which the diabetics consumed 2000 mg of butter melon every day. In the end, it was recorded that the blood sugar level was considerably lower.

Bitter Melon is so effective in reducing glucose because it improves insulin secretion and supports its performance. That is why diabetes control pills are now using Bitter Melon as an ingredient as well.

However, I suggest you consume it in the cooked or smoothie form and not as a supplement. It is because supplements also have other ingredients that may cause you harm.

3.   Prevents Cancer

Bitter Melon has also proven effective in reducing cancer risk because of its anti-cancer agents. These agents are, in fact, antioxidants that fight off free radicals to protect the body.

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Free radicals are cancer-causing agents that lead to uncontrolled cell mutation, which in turn, leads to cancer. So, getting rid of them inside the body is super important, and the antioxidants in the Bitter Melon can do it easily.

According to a study, Bitter Melon greatly reduces the risk of colon, breast, and lung cancer.

 So, give your body a proper dose of antioxidants by including Bitter Melon in your diet.

4.   Heart Healthy

Bitter Melon supports heart health to a great extent because of its cholesterol-reducing effects. You know that cholesterol builds up in the arteries, which affects the blood flow from and toward the heart. Due to this, the chances of stroke, heart attack, and other heart diseases go way up.

Fortunately, Bitter Melon can lower the bad cholesterol clogging in the arteries, which improves heart performance.

Moreover, Bitter Melon stabilizes blood pressure, supporting heart health.

5.   Strengthens Immunity

Bitter Melon contains immunity-enhancing agents (like Vitamin C) that strengthen immunity against viral and bacterial infections.

Bitter Melon has been found super effective against Helicobacter pylori- a bacteria that causes stomach discomfort.

Bitter Melon is now also being studied to cure the HIV virus, but it is too early to say whether this fruit will be effective against it.

In addition, the agents in this fruit also clear the stomach from parasitic worms. 

6.   Ideal For Having Glowy Skin

Bitter Melon is highly effective in reducing the aging effects on your skin. It deals with wrinkles and gets rid of them by tightening the skin. This makes people look younger. That is why Bitter Melon is now being added to anti-aging cosmetics.

That’s not it.

Bitter Melon treats acne as well. Mix its juice with the cucumber juice and apply it on your face if you are frustrated by the pimples on your face. After 15 minutes, wash your face, and you will feel that your skin is now fresher than ever.

If you don’t want to apply a Bitter Melon mask, then you should eat the fruit to enjoy the beneficial effects on the skin. 

However, make sure you eat it as healthily as possible to feel this effect. I suggest you consume a small bowl of Bitter Melon soup to experience the full skin glowy effects.

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7.   Perfect for Athletes

If you are an athlete, then Bitter Melon is a blessing for you. The reason is that this fruit is full of essential nutrients that our body needs to function properly.

All the vitamins and minerals in Bitter Melon give you energy, allow the muscle to relax, balance the hormones, and improve your stamina. Each of these effects is crucial for athletes to succeed in their sport.

So, eat Bitter Melon and enjoy its goodness.

But wait. There is also something you should know before you decide to add Bitter Melon to your daily diet. The Side Effects!

Side Effects of Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon is indeed a super beneficial fruit to eat. But it can also cause problems for you if you don’t eat it the right way.

Generally, people face side effects of Bitter Gourd when they consume too much in any form (smoothie, soup, raw, supplements, etc.).

The main side effects of Bitter Melons when you overeat them are:

  • Stomach problems (Diarrhea, stomach ache, and even ulcer)
  • Lowering Glucose to dangerous levels

In addition, it is also advised that pregnant women should not eat Bitter Melon because of the high folate content that can negatively impact the fetus.

However, no side effects will occur if you eat Bitter Gourd in the recommended quantity. You will then only enjoy its powerful benefits.

Wondering what the recommended quantity is?

Well, experts have suggested people not to eat more than half a cup of Bitter Melon in a day.

So, measure the fruit in a cup, and then cook it or make juice/smoothie. Also, don’t eat this fruit for more than five days a week to make sure that you don’t “overdose” on it.

Final Words

All-inclusive, Bitter Melon is a fruit (not a vegetable) famous in all parts of the world because of its supreme health benefits.

It provides lots of advantages like weight loss, prevention from cancer, better heart health, stronger immunity, glowy skin, and much more.

However, if you eat too many Bitter Gourds or drink lots of juice/smoothies, you will face some side effects. These are stomach aches, diarrhea, ulcer, low glucose levels, etc. So, be careful!

That’s all about Bitter Melon.