The weight loss industry is the biggest money-making industry in the entire United States, and though the country spends billions on weight loss products each year, you can actually reap the benefits just by using certain spices to help you lose weight. These spices don’t cure a poor diet or inactive lifestyle, but adding them to a good nutrition plan and an exercise program has been shown to provide pretty startling benefits. Many have even been researched and proven to aid in weight loss by medical universities here in the United States, though they have been used by alternative medicine professionals for years. Perk up your foods with these spices to help you lose weight. They are a simple way to upgrade your food and whittle that waistline! Spices bring life to any dish they encounter, and are my favorite salt-free way to season a dish.
Ginseng is one of the most well-known spices to help you lose weight due to its ability to act like a stimulant, without the caffeine jitters. Ginseng is most often used for its ability to boost energy levels and speed metabolism. Panax ginseng, in particular, has been linked to weight loss benefits, with one study showing that obese, diabetic mice given panax ginseng extracts not only had improvements in insulin sensitivity, but also lost a significant amount of weight after 12 days. You can buy ginseng in tablet form, as a tea or find it in natural weight loss aids.
2. Cayenne Pepper
This spice became extremely popular with the recent Master Cleanse Diet craze, which consists of subsisting off a drink made of maple syrup, cayenne and lemon juice. You don’t have to go on a crazy diet to reap the benefits of cayenne though. Just sprinkle a little here and there on your foods. A little goes a long way! This is a potent spice that is particularly high in compounds that stoke metabolism. Capsaicin is the special compound that gives peppers their heat, which may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, lowering blood fat levels, and fighting fat buildup. All peppers seem to increase metabolism, but cayenne has the biggest net effect.
3. Black Pepper
Surprised about this one? This spice is easily affordable, available, and is one of the most popular seasoning spices in the world. I love to use black pepper liberally on my foods and always have. I had no idea it was great for weight loss all those years, but studies show that black pepper truly does aid in metabolism and weight maintenance when part of a healthy diet. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which gives it its spicy bite and blocks the formation of new fat cells. Aside from weight loss, black pepper also increases the bioavailability of just about all other foods, which makes it perfect to aid in nutrient absorption.
I just love mustard! It's been my favorite condiment since I gave up ketchup years ago when I ditched the sugar-filled condiments. Mustard is spicy, tangy and calorie-free. Can’t get much better than that, right? Well, it turns out mustard is great for your weight, not just because it is calorie-free, but also because it significantly reduces your blood sugar, lowers your appetite and its spicy bite actually stokes your metabolism by almost 20%. The mustard plant is actually in the cruciferous family of vegetables (along with broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, for instance) and mustard greens are a popular leafy green. Using whole mustard seeds has even been shown to boost metabolic rate by 25%, which means you'll burn calories more efficiently just by eating them in whole form or grinding them to make your own mustard at home.
This lovely, bright orange spice may turn you away at first glance, but you will learn to love turmeric in no time once you try it! This bright spice is the popular ingredient used in curry powder, which so many people love. Turmeric powder is actually very mild, unlike curry, but it is full of nutrition. Curcumin is the ingredient in turmeric that makes this spice such an antioxidant powerhouse. Curcumin also reduces the formation of fat tissue by suppressing the blood vessels needed to form it, and therefore may contribute to lower body fat and body weight gain.
Cinnamon is one of the best spices to eat of all spices, in my opinion. Not only are its smell and taste associated with comfort food, so it satisfies and calms you, but it also shows to be a popular and extremely effective spice to lower your blood sugar. Cinnamon is also an anti-fungal spice, which means it fights off bad bacteria in your body. Having a healthy balance of good bacteria will help you absorb nutrients better and help you to eat less. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants that lower insulin levels and satisfy appetites. It has even been linked to diabetes prevention and treatment therapies. I love sprinkling some in a smoothie, on a homemade muffin, or adding it to a little unsweetened vanilla almond milk to drink before bed to cure a sweet tooth.
Ginger is such a wonderful spice for a variety of issues. Ginger is a warming spice that has anti-inflammatory properties known to help soothe and relax your intestinal tract. Research suggests that ginger may have thermogenic properties that help boost your metabolism, as well as have an appetite-suppressant effect. I love using ginger anywhere I can, whether in homemade salad dressings or in smoothies. It's also great in a cup of hot tea. You can buy it powdered or as a whole root and grate it.
Cardamom is truly my favorite sweet spice of all spices. Just the smell of it makes me incredibly happy. It reminds me of cookies and sweets, but remarkably, it has a powerful effect to calm my sweet tooth down. Cardamom is very soothing and is known as an aromatic spice. It has a spicy-sweet flavor with powerful thermogenic effects that help boost your metabolism. Cardamom is a popular herb used in Ayurveda, an ancient holistic system of medicine and natural healing from India. I personally love it over some homemade coconut porridge or mixed into homemade energy bars. It is also great in my Banana Cardamom Green Smoothie, which I’ve provided a link to below.
When I gave up table salt years ago, I started using herbs and spices to season my foods and became immensely aware of just how amazing they can be. They kick up any dish to a new level, and they make cooking fun. They’re also great for your health, your metabolism and your skin. Do you have any spices you like to use to calm your sweet tooth or satisfy your appetite?