Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon: mara

An incredibly bitter vegetable, this "melon" is actually a type of squash native to the south of China. Oblong and about 7-9" long, this medium green squash is easy to spot with its shiny, waxy, and oddly wart-like surface. Look for the squash with the most bumps and ridges and chances are you have located a bitter melon, one of the mainstays of Thai markets. The immensely nutrient-rich bitter melon can be a tasty vegetable - if prepared correctly. Known for preventing and treating malaria, this bitter squash holds very high amounts of quinine, a well-known natural substance for counter-acting the negative effects of mosquito bites. It is also extremely high in iron, calcium, beta carotene, potassium, as well as phosphorus, vitamins C and B. Bitter melon is an excellent source of fiber, and has been shown by scientific study to contain insulin, as well as help the body to fight tumors.

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