Spring is here which makes most of us very joyful and lively. But all of a sudden we realize that we should lose a bit of winter weight! Apart from exercise, the most effective way to lose and maintain weight is by diet. You can do an awesome workout but if you don’t put the right foods in your body it won’t be as half as effective. Certain foods, herbs and spices can help you maintain a healthy body weight by increasing your metabolism, shrinking fat tissue and suppressing your appetite. The following list of herbs, spices and foods may all support your weight loss goals when added generously to your meals.
What are the main causes of weight gain?
- Too many kilojoules in, and not enough out
- Laziness (Our ancestors were known to walk over 40 km a day)
- PCOS, Hypothyroidism
- Various medications
- Lack of sleep
- Yo-yo dieting over a long period of time
- Emotional eating
Foods, herbs and spices which can help you lose weight which are most likely in your kitchen…
Herbs and Spices
Ginseng– Boosts energy and speeds metabolism
Cayenne Pepper– due to ‘capsaicin’s’ heat potential, research suggests that it boosts metabolism and increases fat burning levels.
Cinnamon- This spice may help boost your metabolism, and it also is a blood sugar regulator, which is particularly beneficial for food cravings.
Black Pepper– Contains a substance called ‘piperine’, which not only gives it its pungent flavor, but also blocks the formation of new fat cells.
Dandelions– This ‘weed’ that may be in your house is particularly popular for aiding liver detoxification, but it also helps slow your digestion, which can make you feel full longer.
Turmeric– Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, is known to reduce formation of fat tissue by suppressing the blood vessels needed to form it.
Ginger– Another warming spice that has anti-inflammatory properties, it is known to help soothe and relax your intestinal tract. It also has thermogenic properties that help boost your metabolism, as well as suppressing your appetite.
Cardamom– Another thermogenic spice which boosts your metabolism and increases your bodies fat burning abilities.
Cumin– Is known to be useful for digestion and energy, but also studies suggest that it may improve your glycemic control, particularly for people with type 2 diabetes.
Licorice– Licorice reduces the effect of cortisol, which is our ‘stress’ hormone, which is particularly good for stressful people.
Green Tea– This popular herbal tea decreases your appetite hormone ‘leptin’, as well as increasing your metabolic rate.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA); Fish, avocados, eggs, olive oil, seeds and nuts– Research suggests that EFA reduces insulin resistance, which improves with weight loss.
Leafy Greens; Kale, spinach, swiss chard, collards etc– Low in calories and carbs, but loaded with fiber; which keeps you full for longer.
Cruciferous Vegetables; Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts– Similiar to leafy greens, these vegetables contain loads of fiber and help you stay fuller for longer. They also contain a decent amount of protein.
Apple Cider Vinegar- Taken the same time as a meal, ACV can increase your feeling of fullness, and also reduce blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds– High in fibre, chia seeds turn gel like and expand in your stomach, which will help reduce your appetite.
Nuts– Filled with fiber, protein and good fats, nuts are a handy staple to have among your weight loss diet. They are great to snack on in between meals to help reduce cravings and making you feel full.
Coconut Oil- Unlike EFAS mentioned above, coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), which studies suggest can make you burn more calories. Swap your vegetable oils in your kitchen with coconut oil.
Water- Something I always rave on about in my earlier posts, Drinking water, especially before meals can help boost your metabolism and increase fullness.
Other useful tips:
- Exercise daily, or at least five days a week.
- Reduce refined sugars, processed foods and starchy carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta etc).
- Eat some protein with each meal.
- If you are emotional eating, counselling or meditation may be beneficial for you.
- Eating healthy is not a diet, its a lifestyle. Not only is it going to help with your weight loss, but your energy, mood, skin and life will improve drastically!
- If you are finding it hard to lose weight no matter what you do, the paleo diet may be beneficial for you.
- Don’t let a bad meal or binge ruin your whole day, just move on and chose a healthier meal later on.
- No one is going to help you lose weight except yourself, never give up; the results are worth it!