I still remember the days when I came to know I had gestational diabetes. And unlike many women who are diagnosed with GD in their last trimester, I was diagnosed with the condition when I was just 3 weeks along. Probably my history of PCOS had something to do with it or my lifestyle? I don’t know what. Anyhow, it was a wake up call and made me realise the importance of healthy eating. With all the diet and exercise, I quickly dropped a few unhealthy pounds and then there was bitter gourd to the rescue.
Like many natural remedies, bitter gourds could work for some and may not work for others. But based on my understanding and research so far, this is one of the natural remedies that many have had success with.
Bitter gourds find a special mention in the Atharva veda for its hypoglycemic properties. You can read the reference regarding this here.
How does bitter gourd fight Gestational diabetes
Bitter gourds are rich in folate and polypeptide-P. While folate is excellent for pregnant women and aid in tissue growth of the baby, the latter is basically a plant which contains insulin. This plant insulin reduces sugar levels in the blood and has a positive effect on those trying to fight diabetes.
As it can be commonly seen obesity and bad diet is a common cause for diabetes for many and bitter gourd helps to increase metabolism and thereby aids in weight loss.
Bitter gourds are more commonly found in countries with humid climates and is hence available easily in Asia, parts of Africa and South America. But these vegetables are also grown in other countries.
How to add bitter gourds to your diet
While this is not really a versatile vegetable in the kitchen due to its bitter taste, there are still various ways of adding bitter gourd to your diet. As far as pregnant women are concerned, eating in moderation is more impotant than it is for others. And if you have any medical condition, do consult with your doctor if bitter melons can be included in your diet.
Bitter gourd juice
This is the recipe that worked for me. There may be many other recipes out there, but I’ve tried this one and find it a safe option since you have to be extra careful about what you eat during pregnancy.
- Soak two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds overnight in water.
- Take one small bitter gourd.
- Cut the gourd in half and de-seed.
- Cut it into slices.
- Blend it along with the soaked fenugreek seeds till smooth.
- Use a strainer to strain the juice.
Just drink 200 ml of this bitter juice in the morning in an empty stomach – I did not add honey or palm sugar but if you find it difficult to drink this juice, a little palm sugar can be added. Another way to make this juice more palatable is by adding 5-10 mint leaves while blending. The mint adds a mild flavor to the juice.
You can see a drop in your sugar levels with regular consumption of this juice. The important note here is that, by regular I mean once a week. I do see people who advise everyday consumption of bitter melon juice, but I wouldn’t recommend that for gestational diabetes.
Bitter gourd in your everyday dishes
Cooked bitter gourd can be added to rice varieties, as side dishes and in salads although individual taste matters. An occasional pasta or noodles indulgence couldn’t hurt and at such times, a little garnish of this bitter treasure can make you feel less guilty!
Curry with bitter gourd
Bitter gourd can be cooked with little jaggery as an accompaniment to rice and breads too.
- Slice bitter gourds into thin slices after de-seeding.
- Add little jaggery to water and soak the slices for 15 minutes.
- Saute the slices in gingely oil or any other preferred cooking oil.
- Add required salt, spices and curry leaves.
- Saute till the raw smell leaves and the vegetable is cooked well.
Note: Gestational diabetes can be managed well with proper diet and exercise. Nothing to get stressed about. Have a fun nine months!