For hundreds of years if not thousands, spices have been used to add color, taste, and aroma to food. However, spices also have therapeutic properties. They can protect and alleviate symptoms from acute and chronic ailments.
These among others include aiding weight loss, indigestion, cancer, diabetes, and more. Spices have compounds in them that can boost metabolism, help digestion, all of which helps weight loss.
The best spices for weight loss include; Chilli pepper, Cumin, Mustard, Black pepper, Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Cardamom, Saffron, and Ginseng.
In the next section, we shall look at all the above spices in detail, how to use them, and how possibly they can help weight loss.
What are the best spices for weight loss?
The best spices and some herbs that can boost your metabolism and foster weight loss include;
1. Black pepper.
It is scientifically called Piper nigrum. black pepper is a flowering vine that originated from India. It is cultivated for it’s for fruit and When it is ripe, the plant’s fruit is dried and this is what we call peppercorn. You can have black pepper as peppercorns or as a ground pepper seasoning.
Black pepper has a chemical compound called piperine. Pipeline raises the body temperature and increases metabolism, which burns fat as well as preventing fat cells from ever forming. Black pepper is helpful in the digestion process in the secretion of hydrochloric acid that breaks down proteins and solid foods.
Here is a full article about black pepper benefits for weight loss
2. Chilli pepper.
Chilli pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum which are members of the family Solanaceae. It originated in northeastern Mexico 6000yrs ago. Chilli peppers are widely used as spices to add heat to dishes.
Chili peppers have a chemical compound known as capsaicin, which is a powerful stimulant that raises the body temperature. High temperature implies more energy needed to maintain the temperature and this burns fat from the body.
Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. It originated in the Middle East and some parts of east India. It is a seed that is got from within a fruit. The main producers of cumin are China and India.
According to a study from the University of Chicago, when the cumin is combined with other spices, particularly in curry, cumin boosts metabolism.
It is rich in iron which is key in blood formation and supply of oxygen throughout the body. This enables metabolic processes to take place, burning more calories and fat cells from the body hence weight loss.
The word mustard is used to refer to several species of plants. The plants belong to the genera Brassica or Sinapis, with tiny seeds. These seeds can be used as condiments. When they are ground and mixed with other ingredients, a condiment called mustard is obtained. The seeds can also be processed to produce mustard oil.
While eating mustard alone is not going to make you reach your weight loss goals, adding it to a healthy diet can give your body an extra fat-burning boost. Mustard contains capsaicin which promotes thermogenesis where your body can convert fat into heat which helps to burn more fat and this aids in weight loss.
Turmeric is a flowering plant, Curcuma longa of the ginger family. The plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Turmeric has a chemical compound called curcumin, which is good for digestion.
A good digestive system is also the key to weight loss. Turmeric helps relieve stomach disorders like gas, bloating, and further improve bowel movements that help you lose weight. Turmeric helps increase the bile production present in the stomach. It is a digestive juice that helps in emulsifying fat and its metabolism.
Related article: Turmeric uses, dosage and side effects
It is a flowering plant whose rhizome or root is widely used as a spice. It originated from Southeast Asia. The spice produces a hot fragrant kitchen spice. Ginger contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols. These compounds stimulate several biological activities in your body when you consume ginger.
Gingerols have an anti-obesity effect, decrease appetite, and increase metabolism. This stimulates the body to speed digested food through the colon. Research suggests that gingerols may stabilize your blood sugar levels. Keeping blood sugar stable is key to losing weight.
Related; Ginger tea benefits.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines. Throughout the Middle Ages, the source of cinnamon remained a mystery to the Western world.
Europeans believed that cinnamon came up the Red Sea to the trading ports of Egypt, but where it came from was not clear. Cinnamon can boost your metabolism with just ¼ of a teaspoon. It stimulates insulin activity and helps indigestion. The spice regulates blood sugar, which helps reduce appetite and decrease the storage of fat.
Did you know the health benefits of cinnamon honey combo? Get it here.
Cayenne pepper takes its name from its supposed center of origin – the Cayenne region of French Guiana, Cayenne deriving from a Tupi Indian name. It grows largely in India, East Africa, Mexico, and the United States.
The cayenne pepper is a type of Capsicum annuum. Cayenne pepper has a chemical compound called capsaicin. capsaicin is thermogenic in nature. it burns the body fat by raising the temperature and boosting metabolism.
It is a spice that comes from the seeds and seed pods of various plants in the Zingiberaceae family. The pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. The seeds are small and black, while the pods differ in color and size by species.
It has an active compound called melatonin. Melatonin enables normal digestive functioning. It is also thermogenic in nature. This boosts the body temperature and metabolism, hence increasing the burning process of fats in the body.
Many people have most of the fat accumulated around the belly. Cardamom water helps get rid of fat accumulation by cutting the bulge in the abdominal region.
Saffron comes from the crocus sativus flower a relative of the iris. I am sure you know the petals, stamen, and pistil of a flower? People hand-harvest the dark red filament in the pistil and dry it to make the spice saffron. Just three saffron threads come from each flower, which explains why saffron is so expensive.
When used as a weight-loss aid, saffron supplements reduce appetite and cravings. Saffron increases brain levels of serotonin which in turn helps to prevent compulsive overeating and the associated weight gain.
It is the root of plants in the genus Panax. It has chemical compounds called ginsenosides and gintonin that can boost energy levels and speed metabolism.
Chinese ginseng extract prevents obesity by stimulating the oxidation of fats. Ginseng improves insulin and glucose levels and preventing high blood pressure. Fermented red ginseng prevents weight gain and reduces body fat by reducing cholesterol, blood glucose levels
What is the dosage of using spices for weight loss?
Have you thought about dosage or asked yourself the appropriate dosage and how often you should take spices? or if there are relevant directions on how to use spices and related products. Well, the appropriate dose of spices depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions.
There is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for spices in children or adults. Natural products are not always necessarily safe. Some may have side effects and even drug interactions at higher doses.
Too much curcumin, for example, can thin the blood, decrease iron absorption, and may lead to kidney stones. It may also interfere with certain types of breast cancer chemotherapy despite having a potential cancer-preventing role.
Excess ginger extract can also thin the blood and may have side effects, and high doses of capsaicin can bring havoc on your gut as well. Therefore, precautions and directions on usage are very important and must be followed. Always be aware of relevant directions on product labels and consult a physician or other healthcare personnel before use.
Are the possible side effects of using spices?
This is a common question that we usually ask ourselves. let me discuss some of the side effects that may arise as we use spices for weight loss. And probably how we can combat them.
1. Geographic tongue.
Eating vigorous things can cause a condition known as the geographic tongue. The condition produces irritation by forming strange patterns on the tongue which weakens one’s sense of taste for some considerable time.
Overusing spicy food can cause Gastritis. Gastritis is an inflammation in the stomach lining. Spicy foods like chili peppers reduce the stomach’s protective barrier. Chronic gastritis can produce ulcers by allowing the stomach’s acids to eat away the lining.
3. Acid reflux.
In some people, spicy food can trigger acid reflux disease. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid or bile flows into the food pipe and irritates the lining. Restaurant cuisine often seems to elicit this condition. The burping we experience after a nice Italian meal at our favorite bistro isn’t a result of bad manners, it’s the body not being able to handle all that strange, spicy cuisine.
4. Bad breath.
Garlic and onions are among the worst-smelling things one can eat, and they also happen to cause bad breath. Bad breath isn’t much of a problem, but it can be a nuisance to people near you.
It should be noted that spicy food is bad for sleep. The cause is quite simple. The body needs to slow down before snooze. spicy food raises body temperature. This causes sweat after consuming fiery food. If one happens to consume something zesty before going to bed, it can disrupt slumber. The first cycle of sleep is particularly sensitive to hot food.
6. Damage to taste buds.
Eating hot food can permanently reduce the sensation of taste. Getting used to the burning of chili pepper is very dangerous. This is so because people do feel less scorching after years of spicy abuse. Human taste buds wear out over time and This causes permanent deterioration.
Spices add flavor and nutritional punch to any meal. They contain chemical compounds like curcumin, pipeline, capsaicin, and more which raise body temperature, bring about thermogenesis and lastly metabolize the body fats to shed off the excess pounds.
They should however be used in moderation because they have potential side effects and interaction with other medication
Weight loss requires consistency, commitment, and patience. In case spices don’t help, try other measures like having enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, mindful eating, managing stress, and regular body exercise.
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