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Rich in iron, bitter melon has twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, and contains vitamins C and B 1 to 3, phosphorus and good dietary fiber. It is believed to be good for the liver and has been proven by western scientists to contain insulin, act as an anti-tumor agent, and inhibit HIV-1 infection too.
Though indisputably good bitter medicine, Asians like bitter melon because they are fond of the taste. In the Orient, a healthy well-balanced diet includes the bitter taste, supplied by bitter greens, fruits, herbs and roots.
It would be prudent for a beginner to ease into it, starting with a mild bitter and gradually working up to higher concentrations.