A lot of people assume that eating for weight loss has to be dull. They think it’s all steamed fish, plain vegetables, and brown rice. While eating like that will definitely lead to weight loss, you probably won’t be able to keep it up long term. Right?
After a few tasteless meals, you’ll soon be craving something more flavorsome. However, because you have deprived yourself for so long, you won’t just have a small treat. Instead, you’ll go completely off the rails, and eat not just unhealthily, but consume far more food than you should.
This is why so many diets fail. They are unpleasant, unsustainable, and usually, lead to reflexive overeating. Some people can forgo taste and enjoyment (weirdos!) and stick to super-strict diets for long periods. However, in most cases, these are people who don’t really enjoy food or tasty meals. These people are definitely in the minority.
So, how can you make your weight loss-friendly meals more enjoyable? The answer is spices.
Spices are amazing. They not only make your meals more palatable; they can also help you lose weight faster. Many spices have been shown to boost your metabolism so that you burn more calories all through the day, even while you are asleep.
All spices are good for making your meals more flavorsome, but some are better than others for speeding up fat loss. Here are nine of the best metabolism-boosting spices.
Fenugreek has a sweet, nutty taste, and is commonly used in Asian and Indian cooking. You can use the leaves and seeds of the fenugreek plant, and it’s also available as a powder and in supplement form. Fenugreek can help you lose weight in several different ways. Consumption of fenugreek can make you feel fuller faster, and for longer, and may also stop you from eating so much fat.
2. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is a variety of chili pepper and has a hot, spicy taste. It contains a compound called capsaicin which is what gives cayenne its heat. Studies show that that capsaicin can slightly boost metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn per day. Also, capsaicin-rich cayenne may reduce your levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
Ginger is a traditional folk medicine as well as being a favorite spice used in both sweet and savory meals. It can also be added to teas – lemon juice and ginger is one of my all-time favorites. As well as tasting divine, ginger may also help you lose weight and has been noted to preferentially target belly fat. That’s very good news because belly fat is closely linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Ginseng can help your body deal with stress more effectively. Stress often leads to weight gain and makes fat burning harder than it needs to be. Many people turn to food during times of stress – comfort eating is a common cause of weight gain. Ginseng is also linked to weight loss for a few additional reasons. In studies, ginseng helped people lose weight by delaying fat absorption and improving digestive health by modifying gut bacteria.
This golden spice is high in curcumin. Curcumin has many interesting medicinal properties. It’s a known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and is effective for effective in enhancing fat loss, decreasing belly fat, and increasing weight loss. On its own, curcumin has very limited bioavailability which means your body cannot use it very well. That all changes when you combine curcumin with black pepper. Curcumin and black pepper are like 1+1=3!
6. Black pepper
High in a substance called piperine, black pepper is a household spice that you probably have in your kitchen cupboard right now. It works well with turmeric to increase curcumin bioavailability and also works alone to speed up weight loss by speeding up your metabolism and preventing the formation of new fat cells.
Warming and aromatic, cinnamon is made from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It’s rich in antioxidants and can help speed up fat loss by increasing insulin sensitivity while stabilizing your blood glucose levels. When you eat carbs, those carbs turn to fat if they cannot enter your muscle and liver cells. Increasing insulin sensitivity means more carbs can enter your muscle and liver cells and will not end up in your fat stores.
Cumin is a spice made from the dried and ground seeds of a flowering plant in the same family as parsley. It’s well known for its distinct nutty flavor but also packed with health benefits, including the potential to accelerate weight loss and fat burning. Although the mechanisms are unclear, cumin has been shown to speed up fat loss, increase good cholesterol, decrease bad cholesterol, and reduce triglycerides too.
Many supplement studies are done on rats. This might sound odd, but rat physiology is quite similar to human physiology. The main advantage is that studies done on rats produce much faster results and a rat’s life cycle is considerably shorter than ours. In rat studies, cardamom has been shown to speed up weight loss and reduce belly fat even during a high-fat diet. Cardamom is a spice made from seeds and used in both sweet and savory dishes, especially Indian food.
Safe use of herbs and spices
As well as making your healthy meals taste delicious, spices can have a significant impact on your health and rate of weight loss. However, just because they are natural does not mean you can use them with wild abandon. Use too many spices, and you’ll not only ruin your meal; you may upset your stomach too.
Use spices conservatively, limiting yourself to around a tablespoon per day. While they DO contain beneficial nutrients, you should also make sure you consume plenty of vegetables to cover all your nutritional bases. Finally, if you have any underlying health conditions, are taking any medicines, or experience any adverse side effects, please talk to your doctor.