Gymnema sylvestre can be key weapon in fighting holiday weight gain

As the holiday season approaches, cookies and other sweets will be lurking around every corner. Holiday weight gain is a real thing, and it affects millions of people worldwide. Thankfully, gymnema sylvestre is here to block out the sugar cravings and keep us from overindulging.

Gymnema sylvestre is a plant native to tropical Australia and Africa, as well as central and western India. Its almost magical power lies in its ability to block the taste receptors on the tongue responsible for detecting sweetness. Much like animals whose defense mechanism is tasting very bad to predators, this effect makes people less inclined to eat those tempting treats. After all, if you can’t taste that cookie, what good is it?

In addition to fighting off the occasional craving, gymnema sylvestre has proven effective at combating type 2 diabetes because it increases insulin secretion, promotes regeneration of islet cells, and increases utilisation of glucose. It can also inhibit glucose absorption in the intestines, lowering blood sugar.

Gymnema sylvestre typically comes in the form of a tea, in capsules, or in lozenges. The tea tends to be bitter, but it has the most direct approach to fighting off your sweet tooth. Capsules or tablets are more effective at blocking glucose absorption in the intestine than they are at muting the taste of sweets. Since the lozenges are flavored, they deliver the same sweetness-killing effects as the tea without the bitterness, though they tend to be more expensive and less fast-acting than tea.

In addition to controlling cravings, the plant helps prevent tooth decay and cavities, further fighting the effects of holiday overindulgence. Gymnema also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

So, if you tend to go a little bit crazy around the holidays in the sweets department, perhaps gymnema can be the best gift you give to yourself. If you have an easier time not packing on extra pounds, maybe you can set your sights on a New Year’s resolution that will last past January.