Did you know that you can spice up your diet to lose weight? The fact that spices and weight loss go hand in hand has been know for centuries to herbalists and practitioners of the Eastern medicine. However, it is only now, that we are beginning to appreciate this wonderful characteristic of some of the everyday spices. In today’s article I’ll introduce you to the most common spices for weight loss.
Spices added to food are said to help weight loss in different ways. Imagine, that every time you add certain spices to your meals, you not only enhance the flavor of the food, you also add ingredients that will help you burn fat, speed up your metabolism and keep your weight in check.
Most Common Spices For Weight Loss
Research has shown that when cinnamon is included into a daily diet it will help you lose weight. It has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Among others it is known to reduce blood sugar levels. It also lowers bad cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon also plays a role in sugar metabolism and prevents sugar from turning into fat. Researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture showed that a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon with food helps you metabolize sugar up to 20 times better than food without it.
Another benefit of cinnamon is the fact that it slows down the passage of food from our stomachs to the intestines, hence it makes you feel full and thus causes you to eat less.
Lastly, because this spice tastes sweet, when added to foods it satisfies the cravings for sweet foods. And since cinnamon balances blood sugar levels it has the added advantage of stabilizing your mood and energy levels.
You can add cinnamon to many foods and beverages, including toast, berries, cereal, tea and coffee to curb your appetite.
Cayenne can be considered of the of the “super” spices. It comes from chili peppers. Studies have shown that cayenne pepper can increase your metabolism by as much as 25 % and it also can burn, specifically, abdominal fat. The active ingredient in cayenne that does the job is capsaicin.
Cayenne has other excellent properties. It is known to open up the arteries, reduce cholesterol and stave off heart attacks.
It is one of the awesome spices I highly recommend you start using. It can feel really hot in your mouth and it takes a little time to get used to but the effects are worth it. Start with small amounts on your food and then gradually increase the amount you use.
3. Black Pepper also known as Peppercorn
Peppercorn is one of the most common kitchen spices. It comes from a plant Piper Nigrum which is native to India and some other tropical countries. Interestingly, this spice changed the course of our history as it has been the single most important factor in European search for sea routes to the East. At one point it was worth its weight in gold!
Piperine, is the substance in black pepper that gives it its distinctive flavor. It is this same element that aids your body use nutrients more efficiently and stimulate metabolism. Studies have shown that Piperine helps you burn calories and that it also interferes with fat cell formation. As a result, weight loss, reduced levels of cholesterol and fat loss happen.
Most homes, unfortunately use pre-ground black pepper and even let it sit forever in the shaker. As this spice gets old, Piperine or its effect is lost. For best results use only freshly ground pepper which has the most Piperine. Store it (whole and ground) in a cool dark place, in an airtight container.
Not too many households use turmeric, a yellow-gold spice grown in most tropical regions. It is most unfortunate, because turmeric belongs to the group of healing spices and it is believed to prevent a host of diseases. In addition to its healing properties, turmeric also helps your body metabolize fat. Studies have shown that it helps reduce fat storage as well.
Turmeric appears to play a role in reducing inflammation which is important for weight loss. And, it also protect your brain against damages caused by diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease.
Most commonly turmeric is used in curry powder, in Indian cuisine. Usually it is combined with ginger and cumin. It is believed that the combination of these spices aids weight loss even more dramatically.
Ginger, also known as gingerroot (ginger root), is a root of the ginger plant grown in tropical Asia. In Asia it is used extensively in cooking because it enhances both savory and sweet flavors in a dish. In the recent past it has become widely used even in the Western cuisine.
It can be used both fresh and powdered and when added to foods, ginger will help reduce your appetite. It seems to boost metabolism and for centuries it has been used to improve digestion. Studies have shown that it also speeds up gastric emptying, which is good for weight loss.
Ginger has many uses. It is added to teas and soft drinks. It is one of the most favorite spices for many main meals, particularly stir-fries. As well, candied forms are well liked and so are many different types of cookies and baked goods.
Mustard has very few calories (about 5 calories per tablespoon), so it is a good thing since people love to load it up on their hot dogs, burgers and other grilled meats. Recently I discovered that it is actually very tasty when I used it as a spread instead of a butter in my ham and cheese sandwich (try it sometimes).
Similarly to cayenne and ginger, mustard boosts metabolism. It has been discovered by English scientists that 1 tablespoon of mustard can boost the metabolism by up to 25% (similar to cayenne pepper). The effect will last for several hours after eating mustard.
Mustard helps with our digestion, reduction of fat accumulation and storage and burning of calories.
In summary, using spices is an excellent way to make your meals more tasty and more interesting. But using spices for weight loss is an extra bonus and no extra effort, for all the tastiness you will get by adding these spices to your meals. So go for it… spice-up your diet and watch those pounds disappear!