Bitter gourd or bitter melon is a tropical plant that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. They are consumed as vegetables but are fruit. They are native to South Asia but are now cultivated in many regions of the world. As the name suggests, bitter gourd has a bitter taste. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and dietary fibers, etc, and provide many health and beauty benefits. However, there are also some side effects of eating too many bitter gourds.
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Bittergourd
Some major side effects of bitter gourd are as follows
(1) May Increase Miscarriage Risk
Excessive intake of bitter gourds may trigger uterine contractions and increase the risk of miscarriages.
As per Ayurveda, bitter gourd has hot potency and overconsumption may increase menstrual flow.
Consult your doctor before eating bitter gourd during pregnancy, and ensure there is no risk involved.
Nursing mothers should follow the same precaution, and have a word with their doctor before adding bitter gourd to their diet.
(2) Can Interact With Diabetes Medication
With a low glycemic index of 18, bitter gourd slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream. This prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and helps in managing diabetes.
Dietary fibers in bitter gourd slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed by the bloodstream and keep blood sugar under control.
However, overeating bitter gourds may drop our blood sugar below the normal range and cause shakiness, dizziness, excessive hunger, excessive sweating, fast heartbeat, confusion, and irritability or moodiness.
Overeating bitter gourds may increase the risk of hypoglycemic coma, a type of coma induced by extremely low blood sugar levels in our body and give rise to an irregular heartbeat.
To maintain healthy blood sugar levels, eat bitter gourds in moderation.
If you take diabetic medication, eat bitter gourd after consulting with your doctor to ensure there’s no food-drug interference.
(3) Can Cause Irregular Heart Beat
Bitter gourd improves our cardiovascular health.
Antioxidants in bitter gourd protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage, and dietary fibers reduce LDL cholesterol and thus minimize the risk of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
Potassium in the bitter gourd is a natural vasodilator as it relaxes blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and provides relief from hypertension, a leading cause of cardiovascular and other health problems.
Magnesium, iron, zinc, and other B vitamins in bitter gourd also help in strengthening the cardiovascular system.
However, in large doses, bitter gourd may cause irregular heartbeat.
Irregular heartbeat may increase the risk of blood clots due to the pooling of blood on one side of the heart. This may increase the risk of heart stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
(4) Can Cause Abdominal Pain, Vomiting, and Diarrhea In Some Children
The covering ( red arils) on the bitter gourd seeds could be toxic to some people (especially children) and may cause allergic reactions such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Avoid bitter gourds if you are allergic to them.\
(5) Can Trigger Stomach Disorders Like Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea Etc.
Dietary fibers in bitter gourd are natural laxatives that improve bowel movement, relieve constipation and provide relief from gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and flatulence, etc.
However, too many dietary fibers may cause poor absorption of nutrients, and increase the risk of diarrhea, intestinal gas, intestinal blockage, etc.
(6) Increased Risk of Favism
Bitter gourd is unsuitable for people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency as bitter gourd seeds may worsen the condition. It may give rise to favism, which can lead to anemia, fever, headache, and abdominal pain.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as 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, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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