Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rosella and Ginger help prevent obesity

Here is an article I wrote recently for the TSGS groundswell newsletter

Rosella and Ginger - help prevent obesity

With a professional interest in diabetes and obesity I am always on the lookout for scientific articles that are useful in terms of advice I can provide to my patients.

Here are two that I have recently read (they are available in my favourite website pubmed):

Hibiscus sabdariffa extract inhibits obesity and fat accumulation, and improves liver steatosis in humans.
Chang HC, Peng CH, Yeh DM, et al. Food Funct. 2014 Apr 26;5(4):734-9.

Hibiscus sabdariffa is commonly known as Rosella. In this study overweight patients were divided into two groups - a control group and a second group that were given an extract of Rosella. The study was over 12 weeks. The Rosella extract group had a lower mean body mass and reduced waist to hip ratio at the end of the 12 weeks compared to the control group. Another finding was a lowering of serum free fatty acids – this is a biochemical finding associated with the “metabolic syndrome” of elevated cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Rosella is readily grown in the warmer months in our garden in Chandler. Our current plants are on their “last legs” but we have several bags of rosella in the freezer that should last awhile. We do not cook it but simply add some to our fruit mix for breakfast.

Antiobesity action of gingerol: Effect on lipid profile, insulin, leptin, amylase and lipase on male obese rats induced by a high-fat diet.
Saravanan G1, Ponmurugan P, Deepa MA, Senthilkumar B.J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Mar 10.

This study investigated the effect of gingerol - a component of ginger – on several parameters including weight, serum glucose and insulin in diet induced obese rats.

The obese rats were divided into 4 groups, with three being given different amounts of gingerol (25, 50 or 75mg/kg/day) and a control group being given an anti-obesity drug. The rats given gingerol had a significant reduction in blood glucose levels, body weight, and insulin resistance with the higher dose of gingerol having the most effect. The anti-obesity drug had a similar effect to the highest dose of gingerol.

Rat studies are interesting but there is always the concern that the findings may not be applicable to humans. However ginger has such a long history of use for health reasons in Asia and India I think this study is relevant.

Ginger and Galangal also grow readily in our garden. We bandicoot some root and freeze. Each morning we grate some (unfrozen it grates really well) onto our fruit mix for breakfast.

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