Know all about the health benefits of bitter leaf, ways to consume it, and a recipe on how to make bitter leaf juice at home!
A natural protective food source, bitter leaves are often used in cooking as people are unaware of the benefits of eating it raw. However, the leaves are beneficial in any form. Bitter leaves are found on small shrubs and trees with an African origin and have a plethora of beneficial health properties. The leaves have chemical compounds namely, steroid glycosides, type vernonioside B1. The chemical composition has potent anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties. Below are the health benefits of bitter leaf and recipes to make bitter leaf juice and tea.
Health Benefits of Bitter Leaf
1. Tones Vital Organs
The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of bitter leaf help maintain the health of various body organs, including kidneys and liver.
2. Aids Weight Loss
Bitter leaves have Vitamin B1 called thiamine, which is good for weight loss. In other words, thiamine helps with the metabolism of lipids, amino acids, and glucose in the human body, aiding weight loss. The components present in bitter leaf also detoxifies the body and helps in increasing the metabolism rate. It helps burn the extra fat at a better pace as well, aiding weight loss.
3. Treats Abdominal Issues
Bitter leaves treat various gastrointestinal tract diseases, including diarrhea and an upset stomach. The bitter leaf juice also has detoxifying properties that help you achieve a flat stomach. Studies suggest that bitter leaf is a natural remedy for various intestinal problems and stomach cramps as well.
4. Boosts Immune System
The beneficial properties of bitter leaves strengthen the immune system. Vitamin E in the leaves has anti-oxidant properties that help fight free radicals for a healthy body.
In conclusion, a robust immune system helps in fighting various diseases and helps with clear, healthy skin as well. Bitter leaves are bitter because of a compound known as sesquiterpenoids. This compound helps scavenge the free radicals from the body, terminating their activities, and strengthening the immunity system.
5. Is Good For Bones and Teeth
Rich in Vitamin C, bitter leaves help you with the maintenance of bones and teeth. Apart from making bones and teeth healthy, the leaves also help in preventing other deficiencies associated with vitamin C.
Bitter leaves are a good source of Vitamin K as well. A good supplement of Vitamin K in the body not only helps with blood clotting, but it also helps in maintaining healthy bones and prevents osteoporosis.
6. Lowers High Blood Pressure
There are traces of potassium in bitter leaves along with andrographolide content, these help in the reduction of sugar levels in the body and hypertension for better health.
The bitterness of the leaves helps in further reduction of the sugar levels and controlling the blood pressure.
Rich in minerals, bitter leaves help flush out accumulated salt in the body that helps lowers the spiked sodium content in the body. As a result, blood pressure gets under control.
7. Clears The Skin
The detoxifying properties of the leaves remove the free radicals from skin give it flawless texture. The leaves also have anti-aging properties that help reduce signs of aging, dark spots, and wrinkles.
Forms in Which You Can Consume Bitter Leaf are:
- Raw leaves
- Added as a herb in cooked food
- Brewed as tea
- Added in smoothies
- As a juice
The Nutrient Profile of Bitter Leaf:
- Bitter leaf has several essential vitamins, including Vitamin B1 & B2, along with Vitamins E, K, C, and A.
- Bitter leaves are also a rich source of fiber, proteins, and minerals. The nutrient profile of the herb includes magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
- There are several phytochemicals present in the leaves, including alkaloids, steroids, tannins, terpenes, and saponins.
How to Make Bitter Leaf Juice
Making bitter leaf juice is the best way to reap its full benefits. Here’s how to make the juice:
- Get a handful of fresh bitter leaves.
- Check and throw away any diseased or yellow leaves.
- Wash the leaves with water to remove the dirt.
- Pour 1 glass water in a blender.
- Place the leaves in the blender and blend until you get a fine texture.
- Strain the juice with a strainer or cheesecloth and drink it fresh.
You can also blend it with other leafy greens like spinach or mix fruit juice with it to reduce the bitterness.
Taking one cup of juice will detox your body and enrich it with vitamins and phytochemicals.
Bitter Leaf Tea Recipe
If you don’t want to make bitter leaf juice or want to reduce its bitterness, taking bitter leaf tea is a good option. Here’s the recipe:
- Get a few fresh bitter leaves and wash them to get rid of any pests.
- Cut them into small pieces with a knife or scissors.
- Next, bring a cup of water to boil and turn off the heat.
- Let it sit for 3 minutes to cool down a bit.
- Add small pieces of leaves in the water – 1.5 teaspoons for a light tea or 2 teaspoons for strong.
- Let them steep for 2 minutes.
- Strain the tea in a cup and drink it.
Drink a cup or two of this tea daily to receive the health benefits of this natural herb.
Note: Despite all the beneficial properties of the leaf, it is best avoided for infants and people with kidney problems. Also, the herb should be discontinued in case of symptoms of allergy.
With so many promising health benefits, this herb can be an excellent addition to your diet.