Sometimes it’s good to be bitter. OK, maybe not in your personal relationships, but in your relationship with food. Bitter compounds evolved in plants as a mechanism to deter consumption by animals. Humans, unlike other mammals, are the only creatures to have developed a palate (or taste) for bitterness. Bitter melons are widely used throughout the world, most commonly in Asia. A member of the gourd family, bitter melons have many qualities that make it worthwhile to include in your diet. Some exciting research is ongoing to look at the healing properties of bitter melon, including the powerful insulin-lowering effects. In addition, bitter melon is believed to aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, clean the blood, and kill bacteria, viruses and even some cancer cells. Bitter melon may be a challenging culinary item, but its flavor actually combines well with other strong ingredients such as garlic, chili peppers, coconut milk, and fermented black beans. Remember, sometimes you have to take the bitter with the sweet.