It’s not rocket science — what you put on your plate will play a role whether you lose (or gain) weight.
But more importantly, the herbs and spices you keep in the kitchen may play an important role as what you eat.
Although let’s face it — while there is no magic bullet, herb, or supplement for that matter that will instantly dissolve excess fat away, many herbs and spices have demonstrated their ability to reduce hunger and increase metabolism to burn unwanted fats.
Some herbs may act as mild diuretics that help expel excess water weight and therefore help you on your quest to hit your target weight, while others increase metabolism by increasing thermogenic activity.
But as with anything else, herbs and spices need to be prepared and used the right way in order to maximize their benefits while reducing their potential to create unwanted adverse reactions. Taken under the guidance of your doctor and in within the context of a healthy diet, using these 10 herbs and spices may help you lose weight in a safe, easy-to-access manner.
Turmeric contains curcumin, its bioactive compound that has promising potential to burn excess fat. In studies conducted by Tufts University on animal subjects in 2009, mice fed curcumin lost more weight than those that weren’t. This may be attributed to turmeric’s warming capability, which increases body heat — in turn raising your metabolic rate (and therefore the benefits that the latter comes with.
Cinnamon is packed with polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants that have shown to help increase sensitivity to insulin and may change body composition. Based on studies on animal subjects, adding dietary cinnamon to their diets reduced their belly fat. Cinnamon is also known for its potential effect reduce cravings, make you feel more satisfied longer, and regulate blood sugar. It’s an excellent addition to yogurt, oats, or tea. Cinnamon also works well when used as a seasoning for meat, fish, and other seafood.
The active compound in cayenne pepper — that is, its capsaicin content — is the compound thought to have thermogenic and metabolism-boosting capabilities that give it its weight loss value. The higher your metabolism, the more fat and calories you’re going to burn. Furthermore, capsaicin has demonstrated its ability to curb appetite and reduce belly fat. Best of all, cayenne pepper goes with everything — sprinkle it on eggs, dips, salads, and soups for a little extra fire to your dishes.
Who says cumin is just a spice? Cumin has been prized for its potential to promote weight loss due to thymoquinone, a unique and naturally-occurring chemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties. If that’s not reason enough to add the robust flavor of cumin to your foods, then maybe this will: thymoquinone may also help your body detoxify due to its free-radical targeting properties.
If you’re dealing with high blood sugar or diabetes, ginger may be of use to you. Ginger regulates glucose levels if your diet is rich in carbohydrates or sugar. Like turmeric and cayenne pepper before it, ginger also possesses fat-burning capabilities that make it an excellent complement for weight loss.
Rosemary aids digestion, weight loss, and raises your metabolic rate. Try steeping green rosemary leaves in boiling water for several minutes and strain. The resulting concoction can then be consumed with food.
Cardamom is a spice used widely in India that injects tremendous flavor to anything it is added to. By nature, cardamom is thermogenic; therefore, using it in your daily cooking the right way won’t only make your food taste better, but also help fire up your metabolism for better weight loss. Furthermore, cardamom prevents gas from forming, helping you feel less bloated and uncomfortable.
Black pepper is a cousin of cayenne pepper — therefore, we can’t NOT add it to the list. Black pepper is rich in piperine — the compound that gives pepper its distinctive taste —which also prevents fat cells from forming, and therefore helps you lose weight and keep it off. Furthermore, piperine may increase the bioavailability and absorption of nutrients in the body.
This herb needs no introduction considering its long-standing medicinal use in traditional and conventional medicinal systems. Extensive research on ginseng root has proven its worth in increasing metabolism, therefore aiding in weight loss. Paired with regular exercise and healthy eating, ginseng can help you lose more fat than those who don’t harness the power of ginseng.
Moreover, ginseng may affect cholesterol and fat metabolism thanks to its effects on insulin, leptin, and adiponectin. That’s because ginsenosides, or the active compounds in ginseng, promote fat loss while helping curb appetite and regulate blood sugar levels. If that’s not enough, ginseng boosts energy while helping reduce fatigue — and regular ginseng consumption will further help your body detoxify efficiently as it clears free radicals and curbs oxidative stress.
Last, but not the least, we have fenugreek — an herb used since antiquity to treat a plethora of ailments, and used as a spice to flavor a wide array of dishes with its rich, nutty flavor. A tablespoon of fenugreek seeds contains valuable nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and iron for overall health support. Moreover, fenugreek, may also help with metabolism-related diseases such as diabetes due to the fact that a study found that taking 50 mg of fenugreek powder with meals may regulate blood sugar, enhance insulin’s effect, and reduce levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
Fenugreek also helps curb hunger due to its rich fiber content, which invariably leads to reduced food intake and therefore weight loss. Lastly, fenugreek has demonstrated the ability to reduce overall inflammation, helping your body metabolize food into usable energy
Consult your doctor whether taking any of these herbs as supplements and make sure to do your own research before consuming them. Also, if something sounds too good to be true when it comes to supplements making exaggerated claims, it probably is.