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My mom soaked her feet in karela juice for 10 days, and it helped in managing her diabetes

We’ve heard about drinking karela juice and eating various recipes, but did you know you could also do this to reap its benefits if you have diabetes?
karela jamun juice
Savour the sweet benefits of bitter gourd juice. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Radhika Bhirani Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:48 pm IST
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Karela! It’s one of those vegetables which easily makes me scrunch my nose in disgust. The bitter taste is to blame. But let me admit, I’ve sort of graduated to having a bittersweet bond with bitter gourd ever since it started showing a positive impact on my diabetic mother’s sugar levels.

karela juice
Karela can be had as a juice, as a sabzi, fried or even in this roasted form! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Yes, we’ve heard about the health wonders of karela – whether it is by consuming it in the form of juice, a spicy sabzi, bharwan or fried (not so healthy!). But this – watching my mom dip her feet into the dark green juice – and reaping benefits, was new to me.

She told me that this unique suggestion came from our househelp. It piqued my curious mind. On being asked where she had come across this, she recounted reading about this ‘nuskha’ in a book on natural remedies that my dadi used to refer to.

While my mom doesn’t mind karela in her diet, I thought this ‘karela pedicure’ (just kidding!) is a go-to for people like me for whom the bitter gourd is a no-no. But here’s a little catch – you have to dip your feet in the water for around 30 minutes, till the taste of karela reaches your mouth. Yes, it happens, my mom told me from her experience. 

How to prepare the karela juice?
  • Take 3-4 bitter gourds
  • Grind them to a paste
  • Add a glass of room temperature water to it
  • Put it in a bucket. The quantity should be enough to cover your feet up to the ankle only
Process of using karela juice
  • Dip your feet in the bucket of karela juice
  • Keep them in the bucket for around 30 minutes
  • After you develop the karela taste in your mouth, take your feet out
  • Wash with clean water
  • Dry wipe them nicely with a towel
karela juice
Make sure you feet remain clean and dry after soaking them in karela juice. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Effect of dipping feet in karela juice

A quick online search led me to discussion forums where people raised doubts on the efficiency of this “strange” method as a “ploy”. Some were concerned about whether foot-soaking is the right solution for diabetic feet.

As for my mother, she said that 10 days of soaking her feet in karela juice led to a marginal reduction of sugar levels. Her sugar levels dropped from 160 to 130. She ensured that her feet were properly cleaned and dried afterwards.

Experts’ word on karela juice

The juice of bitter gourd is beneficial for diabetes management if a patient consumes it orally, Dr Avinash Kumbhar, Consultant General Medicine, Aster Aadhar Hospital, told HealthShots.

What about dipping feet in it?

“Scientifically it has not been validated to have the similar benefits after dipping feet in karela juice. It has been proven that regular exercise, good diet, proper sleep, sugar control with help of medication and concrete lifestyle changes can help in management of diabetes as we observe in millions of patients worldwide,” Kumbhar explained.

Also Read: Does karela juice make you go UGH? Try these ways to make it more delectable

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karela juice
Karela has multiple health benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Facts on karela and its benefits for diabetics

Nutritionist Aakriti Arora gave us a lowdown on how the nutrients and benefits of the bitter gourd can truly sweeten our lives.

“Our humble karela is rich in antioxidants like catechin, gallic acid, epicatechin and chlorogenic acid. It also boasts a huge reserve of vitamin A and vitamin C and minerals like potassium, folate, zinc and iron; all while being loaded with healthy fats and proteins,” Arora told HealthShots.

  • Reduces sugar levels: Anyone who is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus is advised to eat bitter gourd even by doctors. Bitter melon or gourd may improve the way sugar is used in one’s tissues and promote the secretion of insulin, thereby regulating blood sugar levels naturally.

Karela contains three active substances – polypeptide, vicine and charanti – that have anti-diabetic effects. These have been confirmed to have insulin-like properties and blood sugar-lowering effects. 

Lectin, found in bitter gourd, helps to reduce blood glucose concentrations in the body, acting on the peripheral tissues.  As per experts, lectin is responsible for triggering the hypoglycemic effect, which basically means lowering the blood sugar levels in the body.

  • Quick healing: People who are diabetic often find it difficult to heal quickly. Here Karela comes to the rescue as it has great healing properties. It controls the blood flow and blood clotting that helps in quicker healing of wounds and reduction in infections.
  • Builds stamina: The body’s stamina and energy levels are usually down among senile diabetics. Bitter gourd shows remarkable improvement in these when consumed daily. It even helps improve sleep quality and reduces sleep problems like insomnia.

Also Read: Your ready to use guide on dos and don’ts of type 2 diabetes

Precautions to take when consuming karela
  • One should avoid eating red seeds of bitter gourd as it can upset one’s stomach
  • Excess of anything is harmful to health. Therefore, people who are diabetic and are on medications for the same should consume this vegetable in moderation as it can have serious side effects when consumed in large quantities as it can severely lower one’s blood sugar levels.
  • Pregnant women should refrain from eating karela as it can lead to favism, indigestion and in severe cases food poisoning.

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About the Author

Radhika Bhirani is a journalist with close to 15 years of experience in the Indian media industry. After writing extensively on health, lifestyle and entertainment, she leads the English content team at Health Shots. She has a special interest in writing on mental health and wellness. ...Read More

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