Benefit To Eat Foods In Season: Bitter Melon

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) theory, Shoku-yojo 食養生 (dietary-regimen) is one of the foundations for our wellbeing. In Japanese, it means "nourish our lives with foods". 

"Eat foods seasonally" According to the traditional wisdom.

That is to say, shoku-yojo varies in season to season. Our condition is influenced by seasons. When the air gets dry in Winter, that affects to skin externally as dry skin and lungs internally as virus and bacteria get active under dryness. In summer, our body is drained during a day, and experience the lack of sleep at night because of the heat. Also humidity can decay Spleen/Stomach function in TCM theory, meaning it can cause anorexia and indigestion. Spring and Fall, as seasons change, autonomic nervous system may be disturbed by dramatical temperature shift through a day and stress under environmental change. 

Foods in season provide nutrients, actions, tastes, and energetics which our body desires each season. The seasonal foods mean the foods, grown under the most preferable environment naturally and ripen at the best condition. Season is the time their flavor and nutrients are the richest. It's been demonstrated that the nutritional quality of spinach in season goes twice as higher as one grown in greenhouse. 

Now, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite summer vegetables, bitter melon. Bitter melon is known to help low energy in summer when we lose the appetite because of the heat. Its bitterness stimulates stomach and intestine, and improve the appetite. This summer has been hot in NY. Perfect time to try it.

BItter Melon (Momordica charantia)

Parts used: Fruit

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Area of origin: Tropical and subtropical climate (Africa, Asia, and South America)

Memo: Required condition is tropical and subtropical climate. Easy to grow. Vine. 

Harvesting: June~August is the most nutritious time to harvest

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-viral, Hypoglycemic, Cholesterol reduction

• Very rich in Vitamin C (x3 than lemon, x4 than cabbage)

     Vit. C Bitter melon contains is tolerant of heat.

     Vit. C helps to produce collagen (good for damaged skin from UV)

• Bitter taste comes from the constituent, called momordicine


     Help to lower the blood sugar and blood pressure

Indications: Diabetes prevention, weariness in summer