Karela or bitter melon originated in Africa where it was a dry-season staple food of hunter-gatherers. Semi-variants spread over Asia in prehistory, and it probably became domesticated in Southeast Asia. It is widely used in this region.
The fruit is oblong in shape and it has a distinct warty exterior. The fruit is often eaten green or just before it begins to turn yellow. At this stage, it has a crunchy and watery texture, similar to a green bell pepper or cucumber, but bitter. Here Brocky Wilson, Food.news, reflects on whether karela can prevent cancer:
“Karela is an Indian fruit popularly known as bitter gourd or bitter melon. While its bitter taste can be off-putting for some people, this superfood is extremely beneficial for your health. In fact, research suggests that karela helps prevent cancer.
Karela helps prevent the growth of cancer
Ratna Ray, a professor of pathology at Saint Louis University in Missouri, has been
studying karela’s anti-cancer properties for years. Her recent findings indicate that karela can prevent cancer from growing and spreading.
“All animal model studies that we’ve conducted are giving us similar results, an approximately 50 percent reduction in tumor growth,” she shared.
Ray grew up eating karela as a child in Calcutta and began studying the fruit to determine whether it could prevent cancer. Over the years, she found that karela extract inhibits the spread of breast, prostate as well as head and neck cancer. Additionally, she discovered that the extract also reduces the incidence of tongue cancer in mice.
For the present study, Ray and her colleagues wanted to determine how karela fights cancers of the mouth and tongue. To that end, the researchers treated cancer cells with karela extract to learn more about karela’s anti-cancer mechanisms.
They found that karela extract interacted with molecules that allow glucose and fat to travel around the body, in some cases “feeding” cancer cells and causing them to thrive. By interfering with the pathways involving those molecules, karela extract prevented cancer cells from growing. It even led to the death of some of the cells.
While the anti-cancer effects of karela have yet to be examined on humans, the study showed that this Indian fruit possesses properties that prevent and potentially treat cancer. Ray herself eats karela three to four times a week for health.
“Some people take an apple a day, and I’d eat a bitter melon a day,” she said.
The pathologist compares karela’s taste to the bitterness of beer. While karela is very pungent, she says that she happens to like the taste and finds various ways to enjoy the fruit even more, such as steaming, mashing with green chilies, stir-frying with other vegetables and making a smoothie.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.food.news/2021-05-04-karela-the-superfood-can-this-indian-fruit-prevent-cancer.html
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