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The Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

Inflammatory Diseases, Nutritional Content

Super fruits are growing in popularity, and one rising star among them is sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn isn’t a fruit that most people are familiar with, but it’s received lots of fanfare recently because of its high nutritional content.

What is Sea Buckthorn?

Sea buckthorn comes from a deciduous shrub grown in parts of Europe and Asia. It produces a colorful orange berry that’s rich in natural oils, vitamins and antioxidants. The berries have a somewhat acidic taste that isn’t necessarily pleasing to the taste buds, so you’ll find it mostly in the form of a juice mixed with other sweeter fruit juices. What are the health benefits of sea buckthorn?

Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn is a powerful source of vitamin C with about fifteen times the amount of this antioxidant vitamin compared to an orange. It’s also a good source of vitamin E. In addition to impressive levels of these vitamins, sea buckthorn is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory carotenoids and polyphenols.

Vitamin E and the carotenoids and polyphenols in sea buckthorn make it good for reducing inflammation. In some parts of Asia, sea buckthorn is used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Another way its anti-inflammatory properties may be beneficial is for lowering the risk of heart disease since arterial inflammation increases the risk of heart attack. With such high levels of antioxidants, it’s not surprising that some believe it may help to prevent cancer.

Sea buckthorn has also been used by alternative practitioners to treat conditions such as dry eyes, diarrhea, certain skin conditions, chronic inflammation of the urinary tract and ulcers. Unfortunately, there are no good studies looking at its effectiveness for treating these conditions.

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Can It Help You Lose Weight?

You’ve probably already heard of omega-3s, but sea buckthorn contains another type of fatty acid called omega-7, also known as palmitoleic acid. Recently, Dr. Oz recommended sea buckthorn supplements for weight loss because of the omega-7s it contains. Indeed there is some evidence in mice that palmitoleic acid is beneficial for weight loss.

When two groups of mice were fed the same high-fat diet, one group gained weight while the other didn’t. When they looked for the cause of this discrepancy; they found one group of mice had higher levels of palmitoleic acid in their fat tissue. They believe palmitoleic acid sends a signal to the body not to store fat, which may account for the lack of weight gain. Of course, the results may be different in humans, but people are already jumping on this research by ordering sea buckthorn supplements.

Sea Buckthorn Is a Fruit That Bears Watching

With its high nutritional content, sea buckthorn is a fruit that may have a bright future. Does it promote fat loss, and can it treat other health conditions? Hopefully further research will answer these questions.

References:

Science Now. Fat Molecule Fights Weight Gain”

Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 3 (2): 99-106.

J Biol Sci 4 (5): 687-693.