Your cup of coffee could do more than cheer you up. Scientists from Andhra University have found that it contains a compound the reduces the absorption of fat by the human gut.
Along with coffee (Coffea canephora), the chaff flower (Achyran-thes aspera Linn; one of the 21 varieties of flowers used during Ganesh puja) has the same compound.
Researchers at Andhra University have found anti-obesity properties in several other medicinal plants available in south India.They harnessed the extracts of these plants and successfully inhibited pancreatic lipase, which, in turn, decreases the gastrointestinal absorption of fats.
The plants were collected from places like Paderu, Mahbubnagar and the Nilgiris. The extracts work by inhibiting the action of pancreatic lipase, thereby reducing digestion and absorption of fat into the intestines.
As a consequence, the fats are excreted rather being a source of caloric energy. This can result in weight loss in individuals, they said.Prof. P.K. Ratna Kumar and Dr G. Bujji Rao at the department of botany of Andhra University said their research was driven by concerns over the prevalance of obesity and comorbid conditions, especially among children. Most frequently prescribed anti-obesity drugs have side-effects.
“For this reason, we explored the medicinal plants to understand their role in the obesity treatment and ameliorating lipid levels, which comes at a low cost,” said Prof. Ratna Kumar and Dr Bujji Rao.
The study findings revealed that the extracts of Achyranthes aspera Linn and Coffea canephora showed up to 59 per cent pancreatic lipase inhibition. Seven extracts from different plants were able to inhibit the pancreatic lipase in the range of 30-50 per cent.
Previous research has shown that coffee contains cholorgenic acid, or CGA, that reduces insulin resistance and the accumulation of fat in the livers of mice who were fed a high-fat diet. Out of all the plant species, coffee has the greatest concentration of CGA at six to seven percent.