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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Bara Fruit (Bitter Melon): Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

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Bara fruit is another name for Bitter melon. Also known as Momordica charanti, the Bara fruit is a tropical vine that is a member of the gourd family and cousins with the squash, zucchini, cucumber, and pumpkin.

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The Bara fruit is grown all around the world for its delicious fruit, which has long been considered a staple in many different Asian cuisines.

The Chinese variety of the bara fruit is typically long, a pale green colour, and with skin covered in wart-like bumps.

The Indian variety of the Bara plant, on the other hand, looks different as it is narrow, with both ends pointed and some rough, jagged spikes on the skin.

Apart from the sharp taste, and distinct look of this plant, the bitter melon has gained a spot in the herbal medicine space as it has been discovered to possess lots of wonderful health benefits.

Here are 6 amazing benefits of the Bara fruit ( bitter melon ) and its extract

Packs many different Important Nutrients

Bara fruit is a wonderful source of many different key nutrients.

A single cup (94 grams) of raw bara fruit provides:

  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Calories: 20
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 93% of your Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Folate: 17% of the RDI
  • Iron: 4% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 5% of the RDI

Bara fruit is especially rich in vitamin C, which is an important micronutrient that helps with disease prevention, wound healing and bone formation.

Bara fruit is also very high in vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that not only promotes skin health but aids proper vision.

Bara fruit also provides folate, which is very essential for growth and development, and also some smaller amounts of zinc, potassium, and iron.

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Bara fruit is a great source of gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and epicatechin too — all of these are powerful antioxidant compounds that work together to help protect your cells against damage.

The bara fruit is also good for people looking to lose weight as it is low in calories yet high in fibre — which fulfils approximately 8% of the recommended daily fibre needs in a one-cup (94-gram) serving of this nice tasty fruit.

Can Help Reduce Blood Sugar

Thanks to the potent medicinal properties of the bara fruit, it has long been used for by indigenous people all around the world to help with the treatment of diabetes-related conditions.

In recent years, several studies confirmed the fruit’s role in blood sugar control.

A study that was carried out for 3-month in 24 adults who have diabetes revealed that taking up to 2,000 mg of bara fruit daily help to decrease blood sugar levels and haemoglobin A1c, which is a test that was used to measure blood sugar control over the three months.

Another study in 40 people who had diabetes revealed that taking about 2,000 mg per day of the bara fruit supplement for a total of 4 weeks led to a modest drop in blood sugar levels.

What else? the supplement significantly decreased fructosamine levels, which is another marker of long-term blood sugar control.

Bara fruit is believed to help with improving the way that sugar is used in your tissues and also promotes insulin secretion, the hormone is responsible for helping with regulating blood sugar levels.

However, studies in humans are currently limited, and some more high-quality research is strongly needed to help you understand how bara fruit may impact your blood sugar levels and that of the general population.

The Bara Fruit may Have Cancer-Fighting Properties

Studies suggest that the Bara fruit contains some specific compounds that have cancer-fighting properties.

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For instance, one test-tube study revealed that bara fruit extract was effective at eliminating cancer cells of the colon, stomach, lung, and the nasopharynx, the area that is located right at the back the nose and behind your throat.

Another test-tube study that was carried out produces similar findings and reported that the bars fruit extract was capable of blocking the growth and the spread of breast cancer cells, at the same time promoting the death of cancer cells.

Bear in mind that all of the above-mentioned studies were carried out with concentrated amounts of Bara fruit extract on each cell in the laboratory.

More studies are required in order to determine the effect bara fruit may have on the growth and development of cancer cells in humans even it is consumed in the normal amount used in food.

Could Decrease Cholesterol Levels

It has been discovered that high cholesterol levels can lead to a build-up of fatty plaques in a person arteries, and that may eventually force the heart to work extra hard just to pump blood effectively. This increases the risk of heart diseases.

Several studies carried out in animals revealed that the bara fruit may be helpful in decreasing cholesterol levels and offering support to the heart’s health.

Another study in rodents on a high cholesterol diet revealed that administering bara fruit extract caused a significant drop in the total levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Another research revealed that giving the bara fruit extract to rats significantly helped to reduce their cholesterol levels when compared to a placebo. The higher doses of the bara fruit extract that was given to the rats should the greatest level of decrease in cholesterol levels.

However, all the current studies on the possibility of bara fruit having cholesterol-lowering properties are mostly carried out on animals using very large amounts of the bara fruit extract.

More studies are needed to determine whether or not these same results apply to people who eat this plant as part of their diet.

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May Aid Weight Loss

Bara fruit or bitter melon is a great addition to any plant-based weight loss diet because of its low-calorie content and high fibre quality. Each one-cup (94-gram) serving of the bitter melon contains about 2 grams of fibre.

What fibre does to aid weight loss is to slowly pass through your digestive tract and help you feel fuller for longer. This reduced your hunger and appetite, thus making you eat less often.

Thus, if you decide to swap higher-calorie ingredients with bara fruit, it could help to up your intake of fibre and reduce your calorie consumption to aid weight loss.

Some studies have also shown that the bara fruit may have some good effect on weight loss and fat burning.

One research revealed that taking a capsule that contains 4.8 grams of bara fruit extract on a daily basis resulted in a significant drop in belly fat.

Participants of the study lost an average of 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in the circumstance of their waist after just seven weeks of use.

Similarly, a research carried out on rats who were on a high-fat diet revealed that bara fruit extracts helped them to lose more weight compared to when they were placed on a placebo.

Please note that all the studies above were carried out with very high-dose of the bara fruit supplements. There is still no clarity whether eating the bara fruit as part of your normal diet will offer you the same health benefits.

Versatile and Delicious

The bara fruit posses a very sharp flavour that works great in many dishes.

To prepare this fruit, you must start by washing it thoroughly and cutting it open lengthwise. Next, you must use a spoon or any other utensil to scoop out the seeds that fill up the centre, then you can proceed to cut the fruit into thin slices.

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You can’t get bored with the bitter melon or bara fruit as it can be enjoyed either raw or cooked in many recipes.

In fact, if you are feeling creative you may choose to pan-fry, steam, bake, or even hollow it out and stuff the middle with any of your choice of fillings.

Here are a few very interesting ways you can include the bara fruit to your diet:

  • Juice a bara fruit along with a few other fruits and vegetables if you would like a nutrient-packed smoothie.
  • Mix a bara fruit into your next stir-fry if you want something more filling and packed with health benefits.
  • Sauté bara fruit alongside tomatoes, garlic, and onions and use them in your scrambled eggs.
  • Combine some seedless bara fruit with your desired salad dressing and garnish for a tasty salad.
  • Stuff with some ground meat and vegetables and dish with some black bean sauce.

Potential Side Effects of the bara fruit

Bitter Melon

When eaten in moderation, the bara fruit can be a very healthy and nutritious addition to your dining table.

However, eating it in high amounts or taking some bitter melon supplements may be linked with many different adverse effects.

To be specific, bara fruit has been linked to vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhoea.

It is also not recommended for pregnant women, as the long-term effects of this fruit on health is yet to be extensively studied.

Due to the impact of this fruit on blood sugar, it is vital that you consult with your doctor or any professional healthcare provider before making it a part of your diet especially if you’re taking any blood-sugar-lowering medications.

Also, have an appointment with a healthcare professional before you supplement with bara fruit if you have any other medical conditions or you are taking any medications, and make sure to use it as directed.

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The conclusion

Bara fruit is a plant in the gourd family that has a unique flavour and appearance.

This plant is not only rich in several vital nutrients, but it has also been linked to numerous health benefits, such as improving blood sugar control.

Please note that people who are expecting babies or those who are on certain drugs — specifically blood sugar-lowering drugs — should speak to their doctors before they consume very high amounts of bara fruit or taking its supplements.

Still, in moderation, the bara fruit makes for a nutritious, flavorful, and very easy addition to a clean, well-rounded diet.

You have heard about how important it is to include fruits and vegetables to your diet. However, because you probably didn’t grow up eating the bara fruit, you may not have considered adding it to your diet. Here is a chance for you to try something new.

We will love to hear from you, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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