Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eat Healthy: Fight Diabetes with Bittermelon

As we were growing up, we would always be encouraged to eat bittermelon. How many times have we heard our grandma admonishing us to finish our bittermelon? Of course, as kids, we could not understand why. There are a lot more appetizing vegetables out there. Why would our grandma insist that we eat this bitter veggie?

You see, diabetes runs in our family. Both my grandmothers, on the paternal side and on the maternal side, has diabetes. Although both my grandfathers do not. So, we, grandchildren, always pray that we got our genes from our grandfathers instead :)

The reason my Chinese grandma always insist we eat bittermelon is because the Chinese traditional medicine believes that the bittermelon is a very effective preventive vegetable against diabetes. Counting sugar intake alone is not effective in countering diabetes. Because even if people have diabetes, they still need sugar for energy to function well. What they need is something to help their bodies process the sugar they take in. This is where the bittermelon comes in. The Chinese believe that bittermelon helps our bodies process the sugar we take it, such that our bodies can utilize the energy it provides.

My grandmother, by the way, was uneducated (in our definition of the term education). That was the way before. Their generation's parents feel that sending girls to school are useless. So, they were kept at home, to learn household management and house chores and traditional medicine as well as other things a lady of the house needed to keep the home running smoothly. So, she was not totally uneducated! In fact, she can run a household more efficiently than most post-graduate friends I know.

And many, many times, my grandma was proven correct by science. This is one of them. Latest science research has uncovered the therapeutic properties of the bittermelon that makes it a powerful treatment against diabetes. Please read the detailed study here.

When I got married, I found out that diabetes runs in my Hubby's family, too. Both his parents have diabetes. Because of this, I have always regulated the amount of sweets my children can consume. And I am very happy that they have grown up not looking for sweets deliberately. I do not add sugar to their milk and to our coffee. And I have been conscious of cooking healthy food for my family.

Like my grandmother, I am also encouraging my kids to eat bittermelon more often. So far, my Daughter has learned to eat this veggie already. I still have to work on my Son :) I am also constantly looking for ways to make the bittermelon less bitter and more appetizing for my kids. Like this quest, which was successful. Please read on that to know how to make the bittermelon less bitter. Then, you can cook the bittermelon in the following ways or in the way you prefer.

This is a delicious side dish to any entree. This is perfect paired with any grilled or roasted or fried meat dish! It is very tasty and easy to prepare too! Best of all, since it is uncooked, you get all the full nutrients the bittermelon can offer.

Stir-fried Bittermelon with Crabmeat

This is a very healthy vegetable dish any time of the day. It is almost a complete meal in one dish. It has protein (the egg and crabmeat), it has the super healthy veggie (the bittermelon) and it has fruit (well, technically, the tomato is a fruit!)

I am submitting these two dishes with bittermelon to Sangeeth's Eat Healthy: Fight Diabetes event. This event runs until the end of November so we've got a lot of time to learn more about anti-diabetic food. We've got to raise awareness regarding diabetes. Arm ourselves with more information. Live and eat healthily as this disease can be prevented and cured. This blog is for eating healthy. Life is too short to eat bad food.


Christina Kim said...

Hehehe...I am also one of those who is an anti-bittermelon:p
I do know there's lots of benefits from this gourd but I just can't bring myself for a bite:p

Srivalli said...

thats so innovative and looks great!

noobcook said...

It's an acquired taste and once I learnt to eat bittergourd, I am hooked! hehe ... Love this post and your personal insights ^^

anudivya said...

Gosh! I love bittermelon! Initially not, but have come to accept and relish it.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

hello Christy! Well... bittermelon is an acquired taste, so... :)

Thanks Srivalli!

Thanks Noobcook! Diabetes is indeed a personal thing for us...

Hi Anudivya! I'm glad to have found a few foodies who love bittermelon too,!

Unknown said...

i guess our taste buds were trained for ampalaya/bittermelon... lol... crabmeat adds a nice touch with this dish... btw, an award is waiting for you at my place... :)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Wow! Mikky! Thank you very, very much! I am wearing it proudly at my sidebar! :) :) :)

tigerfish said...

I like stir fry bitter melon and bitter melon soup!

Your bitter melon is quite green. The bitter melon over here are often paler green.

Unknown said...

I have heard about the health benefits from bittermelon from my grandma and mom too...there are some recipes of bittermelon that I like...your recipe sounds pretty good :-)

Sangeeth said...

Oh! atleast once my aunt cooks this for my uncle. But we do it Indian way which i'll share soon. I luved the salad..Initially it is very difficult to eat bittermelon.But once you get used to it, you will luv it.Thanks for sending this to the event.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Hi Tigerfish! The bittermelon here are often bright green. And yes, I have seen paler bittermelon. I wonder if they are less bitter?

Hello Usha! Hello Sangeeth! I am also interested to learn your ways of cooking the bittermelon. :)

Jin Hooi said...

I love bittermelon, especially salted fish & bittermelon soup !! yum !!

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks Jin Hooi! For another idea to try!!! :)

thiruvelan said...

Amazing work done about bitter melon and diabetes. Thanks for you contribution to promote traditional healthy tips in daily life.

Not only bitter melon, there are many herbs that can be used in our daily recipes to prevent diabetes. for details visit diabetes natural herbs, with links to scientific evidence.

Sharon said...


7.9% of the United States population is suffering from a form of Diabetes. That is over 23 million people! Now, more than ever, it is important for organizations such as yourself. We here, at (a site dedicated towards disease and their treatments), believe in the work you do and would like to coincide for the fight against diabetes. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Separately, we can make advancements, but together we can find a cure.
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Thank You,
Sharon Vegoe

momordica charantia said...

Natural medicinal herbs for diabetes are only beneficial if taken regularly and exactly as prescribed. Also remember to finish the course even after you started to feel better.

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