The weight loss industry is dominated by diet advice, workout routines, and carefully formulated lifestyle tips designed to get your metabolism up and raring to go. While that’s all well and good, Mother Nature has her own metabolism-enhancing bag of tricks, in the form of various herbs and spices.
Cayenne pepper has long been associated with weight loss and various health benefits, but recent scientific research is lending those suspicions new credibility. One 2011 study found that eating cayenne pepper not only increased the body’s overall energy expenditure (meaning more calories were burned at rest) but also led to a reduced desire to eat fatty, sweet and salty foods.
Other research has shown that capsaicin, the compound that makes pepper “hot,” causes positive protein changes in the body and helps to reduce fat build up. It seems that spicing up your diet might be one of the best ways of getting those cravings under control.
A 2014 Iranian study found that adding as little as a single teaspoon of cumin to your daily diet could result in as much as three times more fat burned overall. Another study from 2015 found that not only did cumin help with improving subjects’ weight and BMI scores, but that it also had a beneficial impact on insulin metabolism – which in turn comes full circle and has positive weight, as well as overall health, implications.
The best part of all this? Cumin is a universal herb. Add it to stews, soups, salads or roasts to reap the benefits.
Everyone’s aware of that warm feeling that comes from biting into a gingerbread biscuit or taking a swig of ginger beer. It turns out that the effect isn’t just in the taste buds, as ginger has been shown to increase the thermic effect of food. Basically, this means that more calories are burned off in one go digesting a meal.
The same study also found that ginger improved feelings of satiety and reduced hunger pangs, without affecting overall metabolism or hormone balance in overweight men. Ginger goes great with stir fries, marinades, curries or puddings. On chilly days you can even grate fresh ginger root into a mug of boiling water to create an invigorating tea.
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