Sunday, November 07, 2010

Eating persimmon leaves inhibits weight gain and lowers lipid levels

Supplementing a high-fat diet with powdered leaves taken from Native American persimmon trees can inhibit weight gain and lower both food intake and plasma lipid levels, research shows.
Scientists believe that the rich fiber and phenolic content of persimmon leaves, which are commonly used to make tea in India, increases the amount of lipids removed from the body as feces.
"Since the persimmon leaves have beneficial effects on hemostatsis, constipation, hypertension, apoplexy, and atherosclerosis, they have been broadly applied in food and medicine," says J Lee, from the Ottogi Research Center in Kyonngi-do, The Republic of Korea and colleagues.
To investigate if the leaves also improved metabolism and lipid levels, the team fed three groups of rats either a normal control, high-fat, or high-fat with powdered whole persimmon leaf diet, for 6 weeks.
Eating the high-fat diet without persimmon leaves increased the rats' body weight by an average 114% in comparison with those fed the normal control diet.
However, rats eating the persimmon leaf supplemented high-fat diet had a final body weight similar to that of the normal control group after 6 weeks.
"Thus indicating that persimmon leaf supplementation suppressed the excess body weight gain that could be induced by high-fat feeding," say the authors in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
They added that these rats gained less weight because persimmon leaf consumption suppressed their food intake, perhaps via the hormone leptin, levels of which were higher in the leaf-supplemented group than the high-fat only group.
Eating persimmon leaves with a high-fat diet also created a less atherogenic lipid profile by lowering plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, while increasing the ratio of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol to total cholesterol.
Finally, the researchers say the fact that rats eating persimmon leaves had a higher daily fecal weight than the high-fat only group, shows that the "combined effect of high-fiber and high-phenolic content in persimmon leaf itself could enhance the fecal excretion of neutral and acidic sterol."
They conclude: "Efficacy tests of lipid-lowering action of persimmon leaf suggest that this whole persimmon leaf food would be beneficial for regulation of lipid metabolism or prevention of hyperlipidemia in an experimental animal model."

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