Rhubarb, used for hundreds of years in Asian medicine, has been eaten in the United States as an ingredient in homemade deserts, after being harvested from backyard gardens. However, this leafy vegetable is receiving attention once again for its potential health benefits. In fact, researches have discovered that rhubarb has multiple characteristics that may make it helpful to you in your efforts to lose weight.
Like most vegetables, rhubarb offers a number of nutritional benefits, while at the same time being a relatively low-calorie food choice. Some of its characteristics may contribute to weight loss. Rhubarb contains a type of antioxidant called polyphenols. Included in rhubarb's antioxidant profile are catechins, the same chemicals that give green tea many of its healthy properties. Catechins are thought to aid your body in burning fat by speeding up your metabolism, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. Additionally, rhubarb contains a healthy dose of fiber, which contributes to good digestion, absolutely necessary for healthy weight loss.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, found that rhubarb is effective in lowering bad cholesterol, or LDL. The subjects of the study who experienced the health improvements ate 27 g of ground rhubarb fiber once a day for four weeks. Rhubarb's polyphenols are also thought to have anti-cancer properties, according to Sheffield Hallam University.
Rhubarb is a versatile ingredient. It can take center stage as the main ingredient in a dish, as is the case with deserts like rhubarb pie; stand alone as a side; or be added to garnish other dishes, such as being chopped and added to a fresh salad. Interestingly, researchers at Sheffield Hallam University's Biomedical Research Centre found that baking British rhubarb increased its cancer-fighting abilities. Therefore, its health benefits can be accessed by means of various preparation methods.
While rhubarb may contribute to weight loss and have other health benefits, some caution is required before consuming it. Rhubarb's green leaves contain poisonous oxalic acid. The website RuhbarbInfo.com recommends trimming leaves off the edible stalk right away, washing stalks thoroughly prior to eating and supervising children while preparing and eating rhubarb. Additionally, many rhubarb deserts contain large quantities of sugar. So, although rhubarb itself is a healthful food, the overconsumption of sugar along with it may lead to weight gain and/or other health problems.
Healthy weight loss takes place when multiple lifestyle factors are properly aligned, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Because your diet contributes greatly to the overall health of your body, decisions involving your diet should be made carefully, under the supervision of a trained professional, such as a physician or a registered dietitian. Always consult your physician before implementing any changes that may affect your health.
- National Public Radio: Pretty in Pink: Rediscovering Rhubarb
- PubMed.gov: Separation of tannins in Rhubarb and its analysis by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green tea
- PubMed.gov: Cholesterol lowering effects of rhubarb stalk fiber in hypercholesterolemic men
- Sheffield Hallam University: Baked rhubarb could help fight cancer
- RhubarbInfo.com: Poison Information