Bitter gourd or bitter melon is a tropical plant belonging to Cucurbitaceae family. In general, we know it as a vegetable but botanically speaking it is a fruit ( just like cucumber). It was first cultivated in the parts of South Asia but is now grown in many parts of the world. As the name suggest, bitter gourd is very bitter in taste. In fact, it is considered as the most bitter of all fruits and vegetables. But, it’s bitter taste doesn’t stop people from enjoying it as there are many health benefits of bittergourd . Although bitter gourd is good for our health and is used for its medicinal properties but it is important to eat bitter gourd in moderation as there are also some side effects of bitter gourd. In this article, we will know about these side effects in detail.
Side Effects of Bitter Gourd
(1) Can Increase Risk of Miscarriage
Pregnant women should be very careful about everything they eat and drink as their food habits can have a serious impact on the health of the child developing in them. Eating bitter gourds in excessive quantities can be very bad for a pregnant woman’s health because of their ability to increase the menstrual flow and cause abortifacient effects.
Additionally, bitter gourds can also trigger contractions, and thus increasing the risk of miscarriages. As far as the lactating mothers are concerned, there is no scientific study to prove that bitter gourd is bad for nursing mothers but as a precaution, it is better to consume bitter gourd in moderate quantity.
(2) Can Interact With Diabetes Medication
Bitter gourd is very beneficial for diabetic patients and can help in regulating the high blood sugar level. However, this benefit of bitter gourd can turn into a side effect if you are consuming bitter gourd along with your regular medication for diabetics.
This is because diabetes medicines and the bitter gourd can combinedly reduce the blood sugar level to such a low level that it can be dangerous for our health. Therefore, diabetics patients should consult with their doctors before adding bitter gourd to their diet.
(3) Can Cause Irregular Heart Beat
Bitter gourd is beneficial for our heart as it helps in preventing clogging of arteries and also regulates blood pressure. However, a 2010 study published in “The Annals of Saudi Medicine” revealed something strange.
As per this study, a 22-year-old male was found to develop symptoms of an irregular heartbeat after he drank half cup of bitter gourd juice. It was found that that young man had no sign of heart problem earlier. An irregular heartbeat can lead to the formation of blood clots because of the pooling of blood in one side of the heart. This can cause stroke or heart attack and for this reason.
(4) Can Cause Abdominal Pain, Vomiting, and Diarrhea In Some Children
Children don’t like eating bitter gourd because of its bitter taste ( and sometimes also because of its rough texture) but most parents do their best to make sure that their kids bitter gourd so that they get all the health benefits provided by it. If you belong to the same group of parents, then it’s time to take a break.
As per some reports, it has been found that the covering ( known as red arils) on the bitter gourd seeds could be toxic to some children and cause abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea in them. So, if your child is allergic to bitter gourd then it will be better avoid it.
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(5) Can Cause Hypoglycemic Coma
If you are suffering from diabetes then you should first consult with your doctor before adding bitter gourd to your diet. This is because bitter gourd and diabetes medications can combinedly bring down our blood pressure level to a dangerously low level.
Eating too many bitter gourds could give rise to hypoglycemic coma, a type of coma induced by extremely low blood sugar level in our body and give rise to irregular heart beat.
(6) Can Cause Liver Inflammation
Moderate consumption of bitter gourd is good for patients suffering from diabetics as help in regulating the blood sugar level of our body. However, this benefit comes with a price. As per some studies, consuming bitter gourd for an extended period of time could induce inflammation of liver by elevating liver enzymes and resulting in a condition known as atherosclerosis.
(7) Can Trigger Stomach Disorders Like Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea Etc.
Eating bitter gourd in excessive quantity is bad for our stomach as it can give rise to stomach disorders like abdominal pain, diarrhea etc. To avoid this side effect, keep your bitter gourd consumption to not more than two bitter gourds or two ounces of bitter gourds juice.
(8) Increased Risk of Favism
Bitter gourd is not suitable for individuals suffering from a deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) because the seeds of the bitter gourd could worsen their condition and give rise to favism, which can even lead to anemia, fever, headache, abdominal pain and in the worst case it can throw a person in the vegetative state.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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