Top Bitter Melon Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 10/03/22 •  10 min read

What are bitter melon benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are bitter melon pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

bitter melon benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on bitter melon benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about bitter melon benefits and side effects. This will include bitter melon benefits for your health and potential risks, bitter melon water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if bitter melons are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if bitter melons are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about bitter melon benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Top Bitter Melon Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Bitter melon health benefits may include:

Bitter melon is…

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Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 336 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of gourds / 40 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of gourds

Carbon footprint: low, 0.12 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh bitter melon, a car driving equivalent of 0.25 miles or 0.5 kilometers

Destruction: low, bitter melon is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Bitter melon is…

Animals

Kills: none, bitter melon production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, bitter melon production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from bitter melon production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Bitter melon is…

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Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Bitter melon is…

Mexico is the world’s top bitter melon exporter.

Yes! Bitter melon contains folate and smaller amounts of potassium, zinc, and iron.

Other names for bitter melon are bitter gourd.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

bitter melon is likely alkaline.

Is bitter melon alkaline or acidic?

Bitter melon is likely alkaline. Most melons have an alkaline pH level.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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08/15/2022 12:14 pm GMT

bitter melon is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is bitter melon gluten free?

Yes, bitter melon is gluten free. Bitter melon does not contain gluten. Bitter melon is a type of fruit, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

bitter melon is not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is bitter melon a common food allergen?

No, bitter melon is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to bitter melon but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

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bitter melon has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does bitter melon have a high or low water footprint?

Bitter melon has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of bitter melon?

It takes 336 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of gourds / 40 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of gourds.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

bitter melon has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

bitter melon is sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

bitter melon is vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is bitter melon vegan?

Yes, bitter melon is vegan. Bitter melon is a vegetable-fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

bitter melon may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks.

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Conclusion

Bitter melon pros include:

Bitter melon cons include:

Sources:

bitter melon – FoodData Central

Bitter Melon: MedlinePlus Supplements

Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon)

Bitter Melon – Tennessee State University

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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