Baby Ampalaya

Know the health benefits of the Baby Ampalaya.

July 29, 2010 | by Divine Enya Mesina
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Know the health benefits of the Baby Ampalaya.

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Long used in Chinese medicine to cure a number of ailments—from fever and headaches to coughing and intestinal worms—the ampalaya (scientific name Charantia Mamordica, and also referred to as bitter gourd or bitter melon), recent studies have shown, contains flavonoids and alkaloids that help the pancreas produce more insulin. It is reported to control blood sugar levels, thus making it a highly recommended component of a diabetic person’s regular diet.

The baby ampalaya, also referred to as bonito, is a hybrid vegetable resulting from the cross of the native Ilocos amargoso and the long ampalaya variety. This mini version is slightly more bitter than the regular-sized ampalaya. For this reason, the bonito is best enjoyed mixed with other vegetables such as squash, okra, eggplant (as in pinakbet), rather than sautťed alone.

One of the most nutritious Philippine vegetables, the ampalaya plant does not only offer its fruit as a culinary ingredient. Its leaves are also edible and can be mixed with mung bean (monggo) soup. Although bitter in taste to most palates, the leaves and fruits of the ampalaya are a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, and iron, as well as folic acid and phosphorous, thus making it a healthy addition to any diet.


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