Bittergrd

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.

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Ancient reference

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.

Availability

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.

Bitter gourd
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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.

  1. Soak two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds overnight in water.
  2. Take one small bitter gourd.
  3. Cut the gourd in half and de-seed.
  4. Cut it into slices.
  5. Blend it along with the soaked fenugreek seeds till smooth.
  6. 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!

bitter melon noodles

Curry with bitter gourd

Bitter gourd can be cooked with little jaggery as an accompaniment to rice and breads too.

Method:

  1. Slice bitter gourds into thin slices after de-seeding.
  2. Add little jaggery to water and soak the slices for 15 minutes.
  3. Saute the slices in gingely oil or any other preferred cooking oil.
  4. Add required salt, spices and curry leaves.
  5. 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!

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.

3 replies on “Bitter Gourd to Manage Gestational Diabetes”

  • […] Bitter gourd to manage Gestational diabetes – Bowl of Herbs – Bitter gourd to manage Gestational diabetes. 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. […]

  • Rachael Mayer
    January 31, 2019 at 2:09 am

    Hello,
    I’ve been reading about bitter gourd and there are conflicting views on its safety during pregnancy. I’m just wondering if it had any ill effects on your pregnancy or child. I’m so worried to introduce this!

  • Ramya Srinivasan
    February 1, 2019 at 9:54 am

    I personally used this remedy to combat my gestational diabetes and I did not have any issue. I never had to take insulin and my sugar levels were under control. But, I have been eating bitter gourd all my life and hence it was not new to my body. If you’ve never consumed bitter gourd before, you better try other home remedies since we cannot be sure how your system would respond to it.

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