We all know why we hate bitter gourds, also known as ‘karela‘ in Hindi. Born in an era whose taste buds are habituated only to junk and fast foods, it isn’t much of a surprise that such grossly tasting veggies couldn’t become our favourites.
Your mother, just like my mother, would have advised you umpteen times about the greatness of bitter gourds. And you, just like I, wouldn’t have paid any heed.
Maybe we were being ignorant.
Or maybe we weren’t.
Now I will come to the actual point. Bitter gourd, also known as karela or bitter melon, is just like any other food given to us by nature and has its own set of side effects.
Side Effects Of Bitter Gourd
Want to know what are the bitter gourd side effects? I bet you do.
1. Can Stimulate Miscarriage:
Bitter gourds, if taken in excessive quantities can turn out to be a nightmare for pregnant women. Bitter gourds are notorious for causing emmenagogue (increase of menstrual flow) and abortifacient effects. (1)
Bitter gourds can also trigger contractions. And for lactating women, it is best to avoid bitter gourd. This is because though there isn’t any scientific backing which says bitter gourds are bad for lactating women, its adverse effects on pregnant women might have similar effects on lactating women.
2. Drug Interactions:
It is actually shocking to know vegetables like bitter gourd which are known for their healing properties, might even come in the way of drugs. But this is the fact. Combining bitter gourds with standard drugs can reduce blood sugar levels steeply. This might possibly lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels. (2)
Hence diabetic patients who are under medication should consult their doctors before consuming bitter gourds.
3. Can Cause Irregular Heart Rhythm:
In 2010, a study published in ‘The Annals of Saudi Medicine’ revealed something new. A 22 year old male without any heart rhythm irregularities developed related symptoms when he drank half a cup of bitter gourd juice before the admission. (3)
When the heart rhythm gets irregular, it leads to the pooling of the blood in one side of the heart. This can result in the platelets forming clots in the pool, thereby causing stroke or heart attack.
4. Bitter Gourds For Your Children? Think Again:
This might come as good news for your kids. But this is not a random statement produced out of thin air. It has been reported that red arils (the covering on the seeds) might be toxic to children. They might cause vomiting and diarrhoea. (4)
So if your child is allergic to bitter gourds, it is better to avoid giving them the vegetable.
5. Hypoglycaemic Coma:
Hypoglycaemic coma is a condition of coma which is caused due to excessive doses of injected insulin. This might lead to severe decrease in blood sugar levels. There are case reports which suggest the onset of hypoglycaemic coma and the start of atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm) with the intake of bitter gourds. (5)
[ Read: Bitter Gourd Juice For Diabetes ]
6. Might Affect The Liver:
You might wonder what the connection is between liver and bitter gourd. Though this might appear a bit illogical, evidence exists. Intake of bitter gourds for extended periods of time to control diabetes might actually induce liver inflammation.
Bitter gourds don’t directly damage the liver. Long term use of bitter gourds can elevate liver enzymes and result in a condition called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). (6)
Some of the points, or maybe all of these side effects of bitter gourd sound new and unbelievable to you. It’s natural. Though it is extremely beneficial in a lot of ways, its over consumption can lead to complications.
So the next time your mother asks you to eat bitter gourds, don’t show her this post and justify your hatred for the vegetable. Eat it instead. Because moderate consumption of anything is not going to be harmful!
Hope you liked this article highlighting the bitter gourd/karela side effects! Don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section given below:
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