The 10 Best Spices for Weight Loss

If additionally to your regular yoga practice you are looking to lose a few kilograms, adding certain spices to your diet is a great way to support your weight loss journey.
The 10 Best Spices for Weight Loss

Spices not only contribute to your overall health, they can also help you lose some pounds. Additionally they are an opportunity to add some amazing flavors to your food and to discover new exotic dishes.  Let our 10 best spices for weight loss inspire your inner chef and help you liveg a healthy, conscious lifestyle.

 

Cinnamon – Not Just a Bark

 

Cinnamon, made from the bark of trees of the genus Cinnamomum, must be one of the most popular spices. Be it in Christmas bakery, sprinkled over your latte or your morning oats – cinnamon makes everything better.

What It Does

Cinnamon may help with the regulation of the blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of glucose in circulation and increasing insulin. This may help to reduce your appetite, prevent any strong food cravings and make you feel full longer.  

There are some indications that it also reduces the number of some digestive enzymes, which slows down the digestion of carbohydrates. An added benefit are cinnamon’s many antioxidants. They can strengthen your immune system and catch those nasty free radicals, which otherwise can damage your cells.

How to Use It

Take at least 1 gramm per day (about ⅓ teaspoon). Mix it in tea, coffee, oatmeal, yoghurt, sprinkle it on fruits. And while in the West we mainly use it for sweets, cinnamon also goes very well with eggplants and other vegetables as well as with meat. If that sounds good to you, then Indian and Persian cuisine are where you need to look for recipes.

 

Ginger – an Ancient Remedy for… Everything

 

The rhizome of the ginger plant has been used as a remedy for many ailmentsfor thousands of years. It is a fixed culinary staple ingredient in many cuisines and it might even help you lose weight.

What It Does

Ginger may improve digestion by supporting your digestive system in getting the most nutrients out of your food. Like cinnamon, it may help to control blood sugar levels and with that stop cravings and reduce appetite. It is also said to increase the metabolism and with that burn fat while simultaneously reducing the absorption of fat. 

How to Use It

Generally there is no such thing as an unhealthy “ginger-overdose”, but it can interact with certain medications, especially with medication to slow blood clotting. So if you take any medication like that, first consult your doctor before introducing significant amounts of ginger into your diet.

Ginger is regularly used in Asian and Indian dishes. Another option is to boil it in water, add some lemon juice as well as honey and drink it as tea – also very good when you have a cold.

 

Turmeric – the Golden Spice

 

Like ginger, turmeric is a rhizome. You can get it fresh, dried or ground. It’s strong, yellow color makes it unique. Be careful especially while handling fresh turmeric, the color will stick to your skin for a while.

What It Does

Turmeric’s main component with several health benefits is Curcumin. Generally it may improve digestion and is rich in antioxidants, which may help to prevent cancer. According to one study, concentrated curcumin may enhance fat loss by up to 5%. This study has been done on mice and on humans, so we are optimistic about validity of the results! 

How to Use It

Try to daily add ½-1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to your diet. You can add it to most dishes, use it to give your rice, quinoa or any other grain a nice color or add it to your tea. A popular favorite is Golden Milk. For that just heat up some milk with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, some ginger and a little bit of cinnamon. Strain it and enjoy with some honey. 

Ideally you always should  consume turmeric together with some black pepper and some fat, which both help your body to significantly increase the amount of absorbed curcumin.

 

Mint – Keeping You Calm and Fresh

 

People’s favorite breath freshener can be found in candy, tooth paste and chewing gum. But mint doesn’t only make your breath smell nice, it also has great health benefits.

What It Does

Mint may reduce stress, which is always good when you are trying to stick to a diet. It also may lower cortisol levels. Chronically high cortisol levels are not only associated with excess belly fat, but also with an increased risk for cancer. 

How to Use It

Make yourself a nice, warm cup of mint tea on winter evenings or cool yourself down with a lemon mint drink on a hot summer day. You can also add some fresh mint leaves to your salad, to give it a fresh and exotic note.

 

Cumin – Small Seeds With Great Power

 

Don’t confuse cumin with caraway, even though they might look similar. Cumin has a distinctively different taste – and it is definitely a very good spice to support your weight loss yourney.

What It Does

Cumin may help to control blood sugar and with that reduce your appetite and prevent cravings. One study is particularly interesting for us: It has shown that as little as 1 tbsp of cumin seeds daily help your body to burn fat three times as fast as normal. Cumin also contributes to a reduced BMI.

How to Use It

Cumin is a very common ingredient in Middle Eastern, Persian and Indian cuisine, so adding it to your diet is a good excuse to explore those dishes. It generally goes well with meat and vegetables and even makes for a delicious tea. You could also sprinkel some seeds over your salad or yoghurt and mix some in your bread dough. Cumin tastes exccelent with lentil dishes. It is often combined with turmeric, so you get two powerfull fat burners at once.

 

Cardamom – the Queen of Spices

 

Cardamom is one of the most flavorful, but also one of the most expensive spices in the world. For flavoring you can either use the whole capsules and then remove them after cooking or you can remove the seeds and grind them yourself in a mortar. It is quite some work, but the taste will be much more intense than from bought ground cardamom.

What It Does

Cardamom is thermogenic. This means it produces heat, which in turn increases the metabolic rate and helps with digestion. Both effects help to lose fat. The only studies about cardamom’s fat reducing abilities were conducted on rats, so there is definitely still some work to be done. If all indications about cardamom’s fat reducing abilities are wrong, then in the worst case you’ll just incorporate a delicious spice into your meals – an acceptable risk.

How to Use It

In the West, C´cardamom is mainly used for baking, but be careful with that on your weight loss journey! Alternatively you can add some when you boil water for your tea or explore Indian, Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine, where plenty of it is used.

 

Saffron – the Most Precious of All Spices

 

If cardamom is the queen of spices, then as the most expensive spice in the world, saffron must be the empress. For us to use it, the threads of the saffron crocus are collected manually – an incredibly costly and laborious process.

What It Does

Saffron has many health benefits. Besides reducing high blood pressure, it may also reduce appetite and make you feel satiated longer. Regularly drinking saffron with water can, as one study has shown, lead to a significant reduction of BMI, waist and fat.

How to Use It

Luckily you only need about 30mg per day to profit from saffron’s health benefits – considering the price, this is a relief. Saffron is good in desserts, with rice, stews, chicken and seafood. You can also brew some tea with it. It is often used  in mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, if you are looking for more inspiration.

 

Black Pepper – an Everyday All-Rounder

 

Pepper is an everyday spice that we regularly use but don’t give much thought to. Conveniently it boasts a bunch of health benefits, so don’t hesitate to use an extra pinch!

What It Does

Pepper has thermogenic qualities, meaning that it increases body heat and the amount of energy burned.

One of pepper’s main components, piperine, may even prevent the formation of fat cells. Piperine may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also helps the body to absorb curcumin, so it’s always good to combine pepper with turmeric.

As it is often the case with herbs and spices, till now research on their effects on the body has only been done on animals and in test tubes. But since all of us have pepper in their kitchen, it won’t hurt to add just a pinch more to our food.

How to Use It

Pepper is really easy to incorporate into your diet, it probably already is a staple in your kitchen. It goes with almost everything, be it salads, stir-fried vegetables or meat. You can even put some in your tea to give it a special kick.

 

Garlic – Improves Every Dish

 

If you are like us here at Yogayogi and automatically double the garlic amount a recipe calls for, you probably already get enough of this healthy little bulb. For everyone else, here are some reasons to follow our strategy:

What It Does

Garlic doesn’t only have cancer-fighting and anti-bacterial properties, it is also thermogenic. This means that it increases the body temperature and the amount of fat burned. Garlic is overall a very healthy ingredient.

How to Use It

Try to eat one garlic clove per day. You can of course eat it raw, but if the taste is too strong for you, just incorporate it into your cooking. We strongly encourage you to simply double the amount of Garlic you would usually use, since – at least for us – garlic makes everything better! Then invite your friends over for dinner, so you are not the only one to suffer from the infamous garlic breath.

 

Cayenne Pepper – to Spice It Up

 

The name cayenne is thought to be derived from the old tupi language, that was spoken by native Brazilian tribes, and to mean pepper. Yes, cayenne pepper basically means pepper pepper. But on to more important news:

What It Does

Even more than black pepper and garlic, cayenne pepper’s component capsaicin raises your body temperature and so helps you burn more calories. Capsaicin may also reduce appetite and so reduce your calorie intake, simply by making you eat less. 

How to Use It

Cayenne pepper is quite hot and will add a real kick to your food. Use it carefully and increase the amount slowly. Ideally you should consume ¼ teaspoon of cayenne every day. It goes well in salads, on chicken, in certain smoothies, currys, stews and soups. It can even be great in tea or hot cocoa.

 

We hope this has given you some ideas on how to incorporate spices to help you lose weight into your diet. Of course it is also imperative to choose healthy food and to watch your calories, but adding the right spices can give you just the weight-loss-boost you need. 

Spices are also a great way to add flavor and variety to your dishes. So if you actually enjoy your food, every diet is easier. Just be careful that you don’t like it too much and start eating double portions. 

 

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