Karela or bitter gourd, also known as Karavellaka is a vegetable of the melon family that has a bitter taste. It is native to Asian countries with sub-tropical climate. The health benefits of bitter gourd are numerous but its most effective benefits are for diabetes control. It has been used for ages as an ayurvedic medicine for diabetes. Bitter gourd or karela influences glucose metabolism throughout the body.
Bitter gourd reduces the level of glucose released into the blood stream through breakdown of carbohydrates and sugar which is effective for treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Insulin plays a very important role in controlling blood glucose level but in Type 1 Diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas fail to produce insulin. Karela has been shown to increase the secretion of insulin by the pancreas, thus helping to treat Type 1 Diabetes.
Karela also helps treat Type 2 Diabetes by improving the insulin sensitivity of various organs such as liver along with muscles and fat tissues. The benefits of bitter gourd are not limited to treating diabetes only. It also helps in improving the digestive system by increasing the production of digestive enzymes, purifying the blood and treating blood disorders such as blood boils and itching due to toxemia and preventing the multiplication of cancerous cells.