Treatment of diabetes is important because it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Anti-diabetic drugs have side effects and may not improve the patient’s lipids and fatty acids. Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for treating diabetes. Also, it may improve blood sugars, reduce obesity and normalize blood lipids.
One study used the dose of 2,000 mg. per day of dried bitter melon powder to relieve hypoglycemia. The bitter taste results from a high content of phenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes, and anthroquinones. Breeding to improve taste results in the loss of medicinal value of bitter melon.
The goal of the present study was to develop acceptable recipes so bitter melon can be used in more studies of treatment of diabetes. Bitter melon was prepared in a variety of ways with chili, tomato sauce, curry, chicken stir fry and hummus. A group of people tasted the foods and rated them on a scale from 1 to 9 (from dislike extremely to like extremely).
The food was fed warm, and the consensus was that tomato flavors with chili and pasta sauce were best at improving the flavor of bitter melon. Since bitter melon can cause stomach pains, cramps, or diarrhea, each serving contained only 25 grams of bitter melon. It was served over rice or pasta. Curry flavored bitter melon over rice was not considered acceptable by the subjects, while tomato sauce flavoring with bitter melon received the highest score (followed by chili, soup, and curry).
Giving the participants information about the health benefits of bitter melon did not alter their intention to use the food in the future, except for the tomato sauce version.
CONCLUSION: Bitter melon can be made more acceptable to eat when incorporated into the recipes of commonly served foods. Tomato was best at masking the taste of bitter melon; curry was the worst.
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Bitter melon capsules.