It’s claimed that some Japanese women use Agar every spring to cleanse their bodies and loose weight. They simply add ½ tsp of Agar powder to their tea and drink it 10 minutes before the evening meal. According to Professor Takako Yasuoka, this creates a feeling of fullness, thus reducing the need for much food.
But there are other reasons why incorporating Agar into your diet is a good idea… Agar is considered to be a functional food, one that has positive effects on health beyond basic nutrition, promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of disease. Aside from the nutrition it provides, Agar is also low in sodium, contains no fat, no cholesterol and very few calories. Agar is 80% fibre, some of it turning into a gel-like substance that bulks up in the gut with some interesting benefits:
- as described above, Agar reduces appetite. As a water-soluble indigestible fiber and a hydrophilic colloid, Agar absorbs water and increases bulk with very few calories, giving a feeling of fullness that helps people reduce their food intake.
- Agar supports the elimination of waste from the stomach and the intestines through stimulation of the large bowel muscle contraction. Historically, Agar has been used therapeutically as a daily treatment for chronic constipation because of its mild laxative properties.
- Agar is said to act as a natural fat blocker because it absorbs glucose in the stomach, passing it through the digestive system quickly thus inhibiting its storage as fat.
- Agar is said to help dissolve cholesterol by calming the liver and absorbing bile. This is important as loosing weight will mobilise energy stored as fat, which will be released into the bloodstream.
- Agar creates creamy textures in food without the help of sugar or fat, resulting in satisfying dishes that are healthy with a lot less calories.
- Agar may reduce risks of GI cancer and may lower cholesterol as it is a good source of foliate and choline. Foliate consumption has many benefits but protection against certain cancers (bowel & other parts of the digestive tract) has been given it lots of visibility as of late. Choline has been shown to protect/heal the liver from certain types of damage, additionally, it may help lower cholesterol and homocysteine levels associated with cardiovascular disease. This is an area where more research is needed, but there are some positive first signs.
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and may not include the latest research. We encourage you to do your own research and discuss your findings with a qualified health practitioner who can help you validate the outcomes in the context of your specific & individual health situation.