Spices can aid weight loss…. truth or myth?

Diet Secrets for Weight Loss

In the medical world, weight loss actually refers to a reduction of the total body mass; either by means of body fat, fluid or lean mass. This loss may occur unintentionally as a result of malnutrition or an underlying disease; and on the other hand, may occur intentionally from a conscious effort to improve an actual or perceived overweight or obese condition. In this case, weight loss is referred to as slimming. In this article, we are focusing on intentional weight loss which happens as a result of efforts to improve fitness and health, or to change general appearance through slimming.

Weight loss is beneficial for individuals who are obese or overweight because it can reduce health risks and increase fitness levels. To achieve weight loss, you have to adopt a lifestyle in which fewer calories are consumed than those expended. Depression and stress have also been found to contribute to weight gain; in this case, individuals should seek medical attention.  Research has also shown that people on a diet who hardly get enough sleep have lesser tendency of losing weight. In order to   achieve permanent weight loss, the changes in your diet and lifestyle must also be consistent. 

Healthy weight is an important facet of good health. The type and quantity of food you eat have an important role to play in maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight. A healthy diet plan that reduces your calorie intake will definitely work as long as you remain consistent with it. The ideal diet for losing weight is one you can live with for a long time. It has to be good for all parts of your body- not just for your waistline. This refers to a diet that offers plenty of good and healthy choices; like fruits and vegetables; whole-grain breads and cereals; healthy fats from nuts and seeds; lean protein from poultry, fish, and beans; limited amounts of red meat and  moderate alcohol consumption.

Furthermore, we would be looking at some interesting food secrets as regards herbs and spices, vegetables and cooking methods that play crucial roles in weight loss.

Herbs and Spices useful for Weight Loss

Herbs and spices are known to add flavor and nutritional value to any meal or snack; and some have been found to be very useful in helping you lose some weight. There is no limit to the number of spices you can include in your diet in a given day; however, continuous use of only a particular spice may have adverse effects. You should also be aware of any potential interactions with spices and medication.

1. Cinnamon

This spice is derived from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree and contains many powerful antioxidants, and a compound called cinnamaldehyde which has been found to have several health benefits; as well as aiding increase in metabolism rate. Cinnamon can help you lose some weight indirectly. It may help stabilize blood sugar by lowering the amount of glucose (or sugar) circulating in the blood and by promoting insulin release (the hormone that helps lower and utilize your blood sugar). Through these mechanisms, you have a lesser chance of experiencing spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels, that can make you hungry.

2. Tumeric

The spice is commonly known for its significant role in curry powder. Besides its characteristic bright orange color for coloring foods and cosmetics, this spice has other valuable benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties can work to combat oxidative stress and metabolic syndrome, ultimately reducing the risk of obesity.

3. Garlic

People often question whether garlic counts as an herb or spice rather than a vegetable. However, since it is more often used to augment dishes than eaten on its own, it is close enough to at least categorize as the latter for culinary purposes. Garlic is actually very nutritious and contains a lot of vitamins and antioxidants. It also contains a compound called allicin that has been found to reduce blood pressure. Research has also shown that garlic helps to burn fat.

4. Cayenne

Cayenne powder is made from the cayenne pepper, a type of chili pepper from the same family as bell peppers and jalapeños. It contains a chemical called capsaicin, which is responsible for its ability to boost metabolism. Capsaicin consumption has also been scientifically shown to increase satiety and thermogenesis (which refers to your body’s ability to produce heat from burning calories) all of which affect weight loss.

5. Ginger

In addition to its other medicinal properties, ginger reduces free-radicals and inflammation, ultimately leading to weight-loss. It can also help with muscle pain and soreness, making it easier to recover from workouts. Ginger is considered safe to eat, although it could interact with some medications; so, medical advice should be sought in this regard.

6. Ginseng

All varieties of ginseng are believed to increase mental and physical stamina, boost immunity, and, perhaps most importantly, speed up fat metabolism.

7. Black Pepper

The active ingredient in this spice is known as piperine. Black pepper is commonly found on kitchen tables and plays relevant roles in lowering cholesterol levels, boosting absorption of nutrients, promoting gut health, and reducing appetite. It has also been found to have immune-boosting, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

8. Rosemary

The carnosic acid contained in rosemary extract has been found to inhibit the action of a digestive enzyme called lipase. This mechanism delays the digestion of fats and making your stomach feel fuller. Additionally, it may also improve your memory and promote hair growth!

9. Cumin

Cumin is a popular spice obtained from grinding of dried seeds of the Cuminum cyminum into powder. It is known for its distinctive earthy flavor and is often used in chili and curry. It is a rich source of iron and contains beneficial plant compounds that may help fight inflammation. Research has also proved the efficacy of the spice in enhancing weight loss.

10. Cardamom

Extracts from cardamom has been found to reduce elevated liver enzymes, protect against stomach ulcers, improve breathing and oxygen use, and treat bad breath and cavities. Recent research has also linked cardamom usage to reduced waist circumference in overweight women.

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