Acacia is a type of shrub that’s surprisingly powerful. The sap is the most important part! When hardened, the sap is made into gum Arabic, also known as Arabic gum or acacia gum. Acacia can also be found in flour, honey, or powder.
For centuries, this ingredient has been used as a thickener and binder. It’s mostly used in the food industry. But after learning these five health benefits, you’ll want to use it at home.
5 Benefits Of Acacia
1. Contains Protein
As a macronutrient, protein is needed for optimal health. But this doesn’t mean you need to eat meat. Acacia flour is an amazing source of protein, according to Nigerian researchers in Nutrition and Health.1
Plant-based proteins are much healthier than animal foods. Instead of saturated fat, they’re full of vitamins and minerals. Acacia flour can be especially useful for vegans, vegetarians, and those who don’t eat meat for religious reasons.
2. Rich In Fiber
Acacia flour is also teeming with fiber.2 This nutrient is great for digestion, making it a natural remedy for constipation. However, you should always increase your fiber intake slowly to avoid making it worse. Always drink lots of water when boosting your fiber intake.
Fiber will also control your blood glucose. So if you’re at a risk for type-2 diabetes or already have it, consider using acacia. The fiber can also reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, making heart disease, stroke, and heart attack less likely.
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3. Helps Lose Weight
Trying to shed some pounds? Take an Arabic gum supplement. A study in the Nutrition Journal found that it can significantly reduce BMI and body fat percentage. However, many of the participants reported early morning nausea, mild diarrhea, and unpleasant sensations in the mouth. If these side effects don’t bother you, consider taking Arabic gum as a supplement.3
4. Prevents Gingivitis
If you’re prone to gum inflammation or gingivitis, use acacia. A study in the Chinese Journal of Dental Research found that it has extraordinary benefits for oral health. When added to a toothpaste, acacia acts as an anti-plaque agent. It can also kill the bacteria that causes gingivitis, eliminating the need for harsh chemical mouthwashes.4
You can also dissolve Arabic gum into warm water for a natural mouth rinse. For extra anti-bacterial activity, add tea tree and neem oil. Baking soda and salt can also help numb gum pain.
5. Acts As Antioxidants
Acacia is also a surprising source of antioxidants. It has active compounds that destroy free radicals, which typically harm human cells.
Specifically, acacia has strong antioxidant properties against reactive oxygen species (ROS). This group of free radicals is linked to disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, metabolic disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric ulcers, and heart disease. But thanks to free radical scavenging activity of acacia, ROS can be destroyed.5
If you have any of these conditions, consider adding acacia to your diet. It can help relieve symptoms and stop it from getting worse.
4 Side Effects Of Acacia
Despite these health benefits, having acacia may have unpleasant side effects.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of Arabic gum. In fact, 90 percent of the participants in Nutrition Journal’s weight loss study had it.
If you want to try Arabic gum, do it slowly. Let your body get used to it before consuming more. Avoid eating fatty foods, which can just make it worse.
Another possible side effect is bloating. This might crop up with flatulence and discomfort.
Nausea is also likely. This may be due to diarrhea or bloating. In the Nutrition Journal study, 81.7 percent of people who took Arabic gum felt queasy in the early morning.
To combat this, drink ginger tea or inhale peppermint oil.
4. Unpleasant Mouth Sensation
Due to its high viscosity, Arabic gum can feel sticky in the mouth. However, according to the Nutrition Journal study, adding flavor can remedy this.6
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take acacia. It may interact with other supplements, especially if they have iron. Always check the label on products to avoid this ingredient.
|↑1, ↑2||Adewusi, Steve RA, Muyiwa S. Falade, Boade O. Oyedapo, Tony Rinaudo, and Chris Harwood. “Traditional and Acacia colei seed-incorporated diets in Maradi, Niger Republic.” Nutrition and health 18, no. 2 (2006): 161-177.|
|↑3, ↑6||Babiker, Rasha, Tarig H. Merghani, Khalifa Elmusharaf, Rehab M. Badi, Florian Lang, and Amal M. Saeed. “Effects of Gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial.” Nutrition journal 11, no. 1 (2012): 111.|
|↑4||Tangade, Pradeep S., Anmol Mathur, Amit Tirth, and Soumik Kabasi. “Anti-gingivitis Effects of Acacia arabica-containing Toothpaste.” Chinese Journal of Dental Research 15, no. 1 (2012): 49.|
|↑5||Pal, Rishi, M. Hooda, Anil Bhandari, and Janardhan Singh. “Antioxidant potential and free radicals scavenging activity by pod extracts of acacia senegal willd.” IJPCBS 2, no. 4 (2012): 500-506.|