Kokum could be that miracle food to help you burn those calories
Garcinia cambogia is an exotic fruit grown in South India and has been used by our ancestors for ages. It has particularly been used in Indian cooking for the sour notes that it imparts. For those who may not know, garcinia cambogia is nothing but our very own kokum, better known as the Malabari tamarind.
It has many healing properties and nutrients. Additionally, in summers it’s one of the most easily available superfoods that aids in cooling the body. It is also rich in hydroxycitric acid or HCA that helps in fat-burning, boosts metabolism, acts as an appetite suppressant, and aids in weight loss. The HCA in the fruit inhibits the enzyme, citrate lyase, from converting carbohydrates into fat. This process forces the body to burn carbohydrates. One could say that it’s an elixir of weight loss. Also, the Alpha Lipoic acid that is found in kokum is an effective antioxidant. The acid binds with toxic metals in the blood and removes them from the body.
Kokum extract or supplements are best taken before meals because it works upon the nutrients that we ingest. But remember, the concentration of the supplement should not exceed 2,000 mg. To see results, one would need to take kokum for about three months or 12 weeks. However, side effects, if taken without consulting a doctor or used for extended periods, could include nausea, discomfort in the digestive tract, and headaches. This can be avoided if the supplements are derived from a natural source and are chemical-free.
Safe for those above the age of 18, pure garcinia extract/supplement can be used in its concentrated form. While the plant and its fruit have been eaten safely for years, breastfeeding mothers or pregnant women should avoid HCA supplements. However, if it is naturally found in your food it can be eaten without cause for concern. Additionally, diabetics, who take insulin or glyburide, should talk to their doctors/nutritionists before taking an HCA supplement, as it could cause a sudden drop in blood sugar. It can also interfere with blood thinners, psychiatric medicines, pain medicines, and statins, which are drugs used to lower cholesterol. It is always best to consult a health care provider before taking any supplement.
Having said that about the supplements, it doesn’t mean that one has to only depend on them for a healthy life. Taking these supplements alone will not cause you to lose weight or be healthy unless you also change your food habits and lifestyle, and increase your level of physical activity. You don’t necessarily need a special diet, but having nutritious meals and snacks that includes whole grains, pulses, organic lean meat, free-range egg, fruits, vegetables, nuts, oil, and seeds, is a great place to start. You should also remove white processed sugar, too much sweet, processed food, junk, and sweetened soft drinks or aerated drinks including diet sodas to lose weight.
Mindful eating, along with supplements (if you are having any) is the best way to ensure your weight-loss journey is sustainable and healthy.
(The writer is the Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. She is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.)