If you ask a Malayali what garcinia cambogia is, chances are that he may draw a blank. But any Keralite worth his salt will know what kudampuli is, a tart fruit used in many Malayali households for flavouring fish curries. It is to the South Indians what kokam or garcinia indica is to the West Indians. Garcinia cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind, is essentially the rind of the garcinia gummi-gutta fruit, which resembles a tiny pumpkin. The sharp-tasting rind is often referred to as ‘tamarind’ in common parlance even though there’s no connection between the two. Folk wisdom says that the fruit and its rind is full of beneficial nutrients and does not aggravate acidity or cause any gastrointestinal problems that tamarind does.
The fruit is native to Southeast Asia and India. But now the regional ingredient has now captured the collective fancy of the fitness industry worldwide. The humble fruit is now basking in its new-found glory as a potent weight loss ingredient. Garcinia cambogia supplements have been flying hot off the shelves ever since.
How it Impacts Weight Loss
The active ingredient in the garcinia cambogia is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which can aid weight loss. Studies suggest that the extracts of the fruit, as well as its HCA content, has anti-obesity effects that reduces food intake and body fat gain. The active ingredients regulate serotonin levels in the body, which promotes a feeling of fullness after eating. It is also said to reduce cravings for sweets and unhealthy foods, thereby causing weight loss. But studies reveal that the effects of garcinia cambogia on weight loss can be varied.
What are its other health benefits?
Those struggling with high cholesterol levels may benefit from including garcinia cambogia in their daily diet. Studies suggest that it can lower triglycerides and improve cholesterol levels. The fruit may also raise HDL or the good cholesterol in the human body. The effect may be not be very significant, but if you are already on cholesterol-lowering medication, consult your physician before you consume garcinia cambogia.
Lowers Sugar Levels
Some studies suggest that the fruit may be able to control blood sugar levels by impacting the way cells use sugar. It may also improve the body’s response to insulin. But it can be dangerous for people who have fluctuating sugar levels or are prediabetic. Such people should be wary of their blood sugar falling dangerously low.
Although the garcinia cambogia can be safely consumed along with your daily diet, concentrated forms of the fruit in the form of supplements may not be very safe. Some common side effects may include headache, nausea, skin rash and symptoms that mimic common cold. It can also irritate the stomach and cause gastrointestinal complaints. HCA in garcinia cambogia can also cause liver problems. People who are already taking medications for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar should always consult their doctors before taking any kind of supplements.