Is Bitter Gourd a Fruit or Vegetable (Benefit and Side Effects)

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, we have all heard the names of certain foods. But when you are asked what they are, you need to give the correct answer. It happens because many people need to learn if certain foods are fruits or vegetables. 

Bitter gourd is considered a vegetable even though some people think it is a fruit when the seeds are still inside. 

Although bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, karela, and balsam pear, looks like a fruit and tastes like one, it’s classified as a vegetable. In this article, we will see what kind of food bitter gourd is and why some people consider it to be both fruits and vegetables simultaneously.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Bitter gourd is classified as a vegetable that belongs to the Cucurbits family. 
  • Karela juice stimulates the liver to release bile acids necessary for the body to metabolize fat. 
  • Bitter gourd is high in vitamin C and fiber, making it a popular choice for those looking to detoxify their body.
  • Bitter gourd can be helpful in weight loss and reducing the risk of oral cancers.
  • Bitter gourd helps you in lowering your harmful cholesterol levels and inflammation.
  • Bitter gourd ingestion’s most frequent side effects include headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritability, and insomnia.

Know More About Whether Bitter Gourd is Vegetable OR Fruit

Bitter gourd is not technically a fruit but is often confused for one due to its flavor and soft consistency. Bitter gourd is classified as a vegetable that belongs to the Cucurbits family. 

It’s grown worldwide but is primarily used in Asian cooking. With an earthy taste and slightly bitter aftertaste, this vegetable can be eaten raw in salads or cooked with meat dishes such as curries. When selecting bitter gourds at the grocery store, they should feel heavy and firm with no bruising or cracking on the skin. 

Store them in plastic bags in your refrigerator to prolong freshness. After opening a jar of pickles, transfer any leftover ones to an airtight container and refrigerate. Once opened, vegetables will last about three days, while dairy products will only last about one day.

How to Eat Bitter Gourd?

Bitter gourd is a wonderful vegetable that can be eaten in many ways. It can be made into soup, stir-fried, curry, or steamed and eaten with rice. You can also consume them raw by slicing the ends off the gourds, peeling the skin, and then scooping the seeds with a spoon. 

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The flesh inside is soft and edible raw as well. You can even use the flesh to make some juice. Karela juice stimulates the liver to release bile acids necessary for the body to metabolize fat. 

When you are cooking bitter gourds, you need to wash them thoroughly because they tend to absorb pesticides from the soil, where they grow more than green ones. 

Some people like to peel their gourds before cooking, but others just cut off the ends. Some people think it tastes better without the skin on when it’s cooked in milk, like for making kheer. 

If you need to learn how to cook it, ask someone who does! But if you want to preserve your bitter gourd for extended periods, make sure you peel your boiled gourd before storing it away for future use. Once peeled, you should keep it away in plastic bags and place them inside the fridge. 

There are lots of recipes available online or in books. A little bit of spice, ginger, and garlic goes a long way with this food! Be warned; its taste is best described as pungent, tangy, and slightly salty. Like any other vegetables or fruits, if left too long, it can become toxic! 

Bitter gourd is high in vitamin C and fiber, making it a popular choice for those looking to detoxify their body. It also reduces inflammation and helps with weight loss. While bitter gourds can be eaten raw, they’re typically boiled and blended into a juice or mashed. 

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd: 6 Surprising Ways It Can Benefit Your Health

Bitter gourd may not be the most glamorous vegetable out there, but it’s incredibly versatile and has some surprising health benefits that you might not know about. 

Here are 6 ways to benefit from adding bitter gourd to your diet regularly – if you dare!

1.     It Can Help Control Blood Sugar Levels

Bitter gourd has been used as a natural remedy to control blood sugar levels and aid in diabetes management. Research has found that the active ingredients in bitter gourd, including polyphenols, ursolic acid, linolenic acid, and betulinic acid, all benefit insulin resistance.

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2.     It May Help Boost Your Digestive Health

Bitter gourd is a wonderful addition to the diet because it is rich in fiber, which can help improve your digestive health. Other essential nutrients include vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin A.

3.     It Could Aid in Weight Loss

Bitter gourd is often used in cooking and is a common ingredient in curries. But it has many other health benefits, from aiding in weight loss to reducing the risk of oral cancers.

Bitter gourd is packed with fiber that can help you feel full for more extended periods, which may also aid in weight loss. The fiber content also makes it helpful in helping regulate bowel movements and decreasing constipation. 

4.     It May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

Bitter gourd helps you in lowering your harmful cholesterol levels. You can eat it boiled, fried, or raw. Raw is best because the bitterness will not overwhelm the taste like boiling and frying might. 

5.     It Could Help Reduce Inflammation

Bitter gourd is a vegetable that can reduce inflammation. This could be because it contains ursolic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent that can help regulate the immune system and fight free radicals. 

6.     It May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties

Bitter gourd is a fruit that has both medicinal and culinary purposes, but it’s also a great source of antioxidants. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that bitter gourd extract has anticancer properties, inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells. 

4 Bitter Gourd Side Effects 

Bitter gourd, also sometimes referred to as bitter melon or balsam pear, has many benefits.

1.     Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a widespread side effect of eating too much Bitter Gourd. It happens because the body has difficulty digesting the vegetable and causes an imbalance in the bacteria in your intestines.

Also, it can lead to diarrhea, cramps, bloating, gas and nausea. To avoid these side effects, ensure you eat less at a time or drink less water with your meal.

2.     Stomach Pain

Bitter gourd has been used as a vegetable and is rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, copper, and manganese. However, it can also cause stomach pain. The reason behind this stomach pain is that the compounds in bitter gourd can irritate the mucous membrane of your stomach lining.

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3.     Vomiting

Bitter gourd is a root vegetable often used in Indian and Asian dishes. It has been used for many centuries due to its herbal properties. However, it can cause many side effects, such as vomiting and abdominal pain.

If you have any of these two symptoms after consuming bitter gourd, it may be time to consult your doctor.

4.     Skin rash

Bitter gourd may cause rashes, with symptoms that include redness, swelling, and itchiness. Sometimes, these rashes may be severe enough to require medical attention. If you notice any rash-like symptoms, stop using the bitter gourd immediately and consult your doctor.

5.     Headache, Dizziness, Nausea 

Bitter gourd ingestion’s most frequent side effects include headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritability, and insomnia. Headaches can last for hours at a time, and those who experience them may need over-the-counter pain relief to reduce their discomfort. 

Dizziness is often the result of low blood sugar levels from not eating enough food or dehydration. Nausea can be brought on by numerous factors, including allergies or even stomach viruses, though it should be noted that pregnant women should not take any form of bitter gourd as it could harm the baby. 

Those with conditions should consult with a physician before taking any form of bitter gourd due to its potential side effects on these conditions.

Conclusion

Many people think the Bitter Gourd is a fruit, but it is classified as a vegetable. The bitterness of the Bitter Gourd is due to the presence of alkaloids and polyphenolic compounds. 

Another reason Bitter Gourd is categorized as a vegetable is because of its annual habit – unlike most other fruits with perennial habits. Additionally, it doesn’t grow on trees; instead, it grows on vines. 

Lastly, Bitter Gourd isn’t sweet like most other fruits. 

So there you go – your answer to the question “Is Bitter Gourd a fruit or vegetable” is it is a vegetable.