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The bitter gourd, sometimes called the bitter melon, is a vegetable whose appearance closely resembles a cucumber. Bitter gourds primarily grow in very warm climates and are native to South America and Asia, the Juicing-For-Health website reports. Potassium, a key nutrient for the body, is found in bitter gourds.
Potassium helps with body fluid maintenance, helps with blood pressure control and promotes heart health, Dr. George Obikoya writes for the Vitamins & Nutrition Center website 1. Potassium also helps make the joints less stiff, helps headaches and helps wounds heal more quickly. A diet lacking the necessary potassium may lead to diabetes, inadequate blood circulation and weak muscles.
- Potassium helps with body fluid maintenance, helps with blood pressure control and promotes heart health, Dr. George Obikoya writes for the Vitamins & Nutrition Center website 1.
- Potassium also helps make the joints less stiff, helps headaches and helps wounds heal more quickly.
Potassium in Kale
There is about 296 milligrams of potassium in 100 grams of fresh bitter gourd, the Nutrition-and-You website calculates 2. This amount of potassium represents about 6 percent of the daily allowance recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and is about double the amount of potassium found in bananas.
Nutrients and Benefits
Along with potassium, bitter gourd possesses a number of nutrients that promote overall health. Bitter gourds contain an insulin called polypeptide-P, which helps keep blood sugar in check. They are also rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer by battling free radicals in the body. It also contains high levels of zinc, iron and manganese, Nutrition-and-You reports.
- Along with potassium, bitter gourd possesses a number of nutrients that promote overall health.
- Bitter gourds contain an insulin called polypeptide-P, which helps keep blood sugar in check.
Does Potassium Aid in Weight Loss?
Although bitter gourd contains potassium, you'll need to find other food sources to meet its daily consumption requirements. The United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency recommends that adults get around 3,500 mg of potassium daily. High-potassium foods include:
- the Ohio State University Medical Center notes
Speak to your doctor about how much potassium you need. The Juicing-For-Health website recommends selecting bitter gourds the same way you would select a cucumber — make sure the gourd is firm and not ripe 2. Do not eat more than a couple ounces of bitter gourd per day, because eating too much can lead to diarrhea and an upset stomach.
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- Vitamins & Nutrition Center: Potassium Benefits
- Nutrition-and-You: Bitter Gourd (Melon) Nutrition Facts
- Malik K, Ahmad M, Bussman RW, et al. Ethnobotany of Anti-hypertensive Plants Used in Northern Pakistan. Pharmacol. 2018;9:789. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00789.
- Bunkrongcheap R, Hutadilok-Towatana N, Noipha K, et al. Ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis L. Voigt) root suppresses adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 May 28;13:88. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-88
- Kuriyan R, Rajendran R, Bantwal G, et al. Effect of supplementation of Coccinia cordifolia extract on newly detected diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 2008 Feb;31(2):216-20. doi:10.2337/dc07-1591
- Malik K, Ahmad M, Bussman RW, et al. Ethnobotany of Anti-hypertensive Plants Used in Northern Pakistan. Pharmacol. 2018;9:789. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00789
- Munasinghe MA, Abeysena C, Yaddehige IS, et al. Blood sugar lowering effect of Coccinia grandis (L.) J. Voigt: path for a new drug for diabetes mellitus. Exp Diabetes Res. 2011;2011:978762. doi:10.1155/2011/978762
- Vinothkumara G, Venkataramana VM, Vinodhinib R, et al. Effect of Coccinia indica leaf extract on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor-induced hepatotoxicity in Wistar albino rats. Clin Nutr Exper. 2019 April;24:24-33. doi:10.1016/j.yclnex.2019.01.004
Wade Harle began writing professionally in 2011 and holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Iowa State University. His work on sports and other topics has been published on various websites.