Press Esc to close
Friday 01 August 2014
News updated at 12:48 AM IST
Weather
Max: 0°C
Min : 0°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

Karela for diabetes?

DIET TIPS

Dr Rangesh Paramesh prescribes bittergourd to combat Type II diabetes

Often referred to as ‘the silent epidemic’, diabetes has become a major health concern across the world.

According to the latest report by World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80 per cent of deaths from diabetes-related complications occur in low and middle-income countries. At over 50 million, India has the highest number of diabetics in the world.

What is diabetes?   
There are currently two types of diabetes — Type I and Type II. Type I (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile diabetes) is an auto-immune disorder, in which the body is unable to produce insulin.


In Type II (non-insulin dependent adult-onset diabetes or NIDDM), the pancreas produces insulin but is insufficient for reducing the blood glucose levels to normal. Type I diabetes is not preventable and it is in no way the result of a person’s lifestyle. The onset of Type II diabetes in pre-diabetics, on the other hand, can be prevented with regular exercise, weight loss and a healthy.

Magic in vegetables
For diabetics, it is extremely important to keep better control of their blood sugar levels. Certain natural foods and herbs are helpful in this condition. Amongst them, karela or the bittergourd is reported to be extremely beneficial. Also known as bitter melon, karela is a tropical vegetable, widely available in the Indian subcontinent.

Karela is a popular vegetable in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka where it is eaten as a stir-fry with potatoes to offset the bitter flavour. Karela is linked with the activity of the pancreas (that secretes insulin) since it resembles the shape and contour of this organ of importance in diabetes.

Lately, karela is under the spotlight for its natural blood sugar-lowering properties. The vegetable has a host of chemical constituents that denote its hypoglycemic properties. The seeds contain ‘plant-insulin’ or peptides resembling insulin that also works like natural insulin secreted from the human pancreatic glands.

Charantin and momordicin, two key compounds in karela, are also credited with anti-diabetic properties. The vegetable’s antioxidant agents help in reducing diabetic related complications by scavenging free radicals.

Doctor-recommended
Diabetes management includes eating a balanced meal, exercising regularly, keeping a check on one’s weight and blood sugar levels. When it comes to eating right, doctors always recommend natural foods for diabetics, which are full of antioxidants.

As an adjuvant therapy to diabetes mellitus, doctors, over the years, have prescribed karela. Patients are recommended to include the vegetable in their diet, either as a stir-fry, juice or in capsule form.

Several studies have shown that regular intake of karela over a period of time visibly helps reduce blood sugar levels, improving the overall health.

The benefits of karela have been recorded in various ancient, Ayurvedic texts. Apart from its hypoglycemic properties, it also helps normalise the digestive tract, clears up skin conditions and is beneficial in the treatment of piles.

(The author is Head, Drug Discovery, The Himalaya Drug Company)

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Vikas Shive Gowda of India throws the discus in the men's discus final...

Vikas Shive Gowda of India throws the discus in the men's discus final...

Babita Kumari of India holds up her gold medal as she poses for photographs...

Babita Kumari of India holds up her gold medal as she poses for photographs...

A diver is seen underwater during a practice session at the 2014 Commonwealth Games...

A diver is seen underwater during a practice session at the 2014 Commonwealth Games...

Palestinian firefighters inspects the damage of a destroyed milk factory...

Palestinian firefighters inspects the damage of a destroyed milk factory...

NDRF personnel with a body of a victim of landslide at Malin village...

NDRF personnel with a body of a victim of landslide at Malin village...

Abhisekh Bachchan with singer Usha Utthup cheers his team during Pro Kabaddi League match...

Abhisekh Bachchan with singer Usha Utthup cheers his team during Pro Kabaddi League match...

South Africa's Rhett Halkett in action against India's Chandanda Nikkin in CWG 2014...

South Africa's Rhett Halkett in action against India's Chandanda Nikkin in CWG 2014...

Abhisekh Bachchan greets his team players after Pro Kabadi League match win against Telugu Titans...

Abhisekh Bachchan greets his team players after Pro Kabadi League match win against Telugu Titans...

India's Yogeshwar Dutt celebrates after winning the Gold Medal in CWG 2014...

India's Yogeshwar Dutt celebrates after winning the Gold Medal in CWG 2014...

India's Navjot Kaur celebrates after winning a bronze medal against Scotland's Sarah Jones during...

India's Navjot Kaur celebrates after winning a bronze medal against Scotland's Sarah Jones during...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523