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Weight loss.Let’s face it: The way you prepare and season your food is just as important as the food itself. For example, deep frying your chicken in canola oil is much worse than baking or grilling your chicken. Or let’s say you air pop your popcorn, but then put a ton of butter and salt on it—this is not helpful when it comes to weight loss.
So, what seasonings can help you lose weight? As it turns out, herbs can curb cravings and support your weight loss efforts. And while herbs may not be a cure-all (diet, exercise and lifestyle are contributing factors), they can certainly help you on your weight loss journey.
Benefits of herbs for weight loss
Herbs provide several different benefits. Here are a few of them.
“Herbs help your body to digest the food you’ve consumed, converting macronutrients like protein into micro-nutrients like amino acids,” says Haylie Pomroy, a top Hollywood nutritionist and founder of the Haylie Pomroy Group. “Micro-nutrients are what make the metabolism work!”
Herbs promote hormonal health
Hormones play a major role in terms of weight management.
The phytonutrients also reduce inflammation and have a targeted effect on the outer fibrous layer of fat cells, Pomroy says.
Best herbs for weight loss
Here are some of the best herbs for weight loss:
As an anti-inflammatory herb, turmeric can help eliminate excess body fat. “When your body is in an inflamed state, it promotes insulin resistance, which can keep stubborn fat on the body,” Pomroy explains. “Turmeric increases blood flow, and as we know, fat cells have very poor blood flow. It takes nutrients to break down the fat cells, and turmeric helps the nutrients get to them through this increased flow.”
This herb is excellent when it comes to absorbing nutrients.
“Rutin is a bioflavinoid that is anti-inflammatory, and this specifically reduces GI inflammation so individuals with food allergies or poor gut health can benefit. Plus, when it comes to weight loss, it’s not what you eat – it’s what you absorb – and rutin helps the body absorb micronutrients better than almost any herbal in my opinion,” Pomroy states.
As a natural appetite suppressant, quercetin makes weight loss easier.
“It suppresses appetite not because it tricks the brain, but because it flattens the fat cells,” says Pomroy. “When fat cells are buoyant, they secrete a hormone that makes you crave sugar. When they’re flat, they don’t secrete that hormone. With weight loss specifically, the quicker you can shrink fat cells, the better.”
4. Lemon bioflavonoids
These come from the pith or white part of grapefruit, orange, or lemon. They help to shift the Ph in the body – when you’re acidic, you gain weight, but when your Ph is stable, it’s much easier to lose weight, Pomroy explains.
A common addition to a salad or burger topping, arugula is a powerful and nutritious herb. “It helps the body produce a digestive enzyme that helps with carb metabolism,” Pomroy states. “This is particularly great for people who have a hard time losing weight when they eat carbs.”
While ginger is known for alleviating inflammation and pain, it also plays a role in weight loss, especially among women, due to its potential metabolism-boosting effects, Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of the Candida Diet, explains.
A tasty seasoning in many different foods and drinks, cinnamon is also good for heart health and fat burning. “It contains antioxidants that regulate triglycerides and thereby reduces the chance of a heart attack,” says Lauren Grey, clinical dietician and wellness contributor. “Cinnamon has numerous health benefits and it should be added to meals and drinks regularly. Ideally, you should put it in your food to speed up fat burning.”
An ingredient found in hot peppers, capsaicin has metabolism-boosting effects.
“It has been shown to boost metabolism through the process of thermogenesis, which essentially heats up your metabolism so you burn more calories,” Heather Hanks, MS, CAM, Medical Solutions BCN – Nutritionist and Medical Advisor, explains.
9. Camellia sinensis
“Otherwise known as green tea, this is one of the most effective weight loss agents we have available to us,” Hanks states. “It has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, and burn belly fat.”
10. Panax ginseng
A healthy gut microbiome can help you shed those extra pounds.
One study found that Panax ginseng provided anti-obesity properties due to its ability to change the composition of the gut microbiota, Hanks says.
As a natural energy booster, mint can support your weight loss efforts. “Mint improves alertness, boosts overall mood and reduces the feeling of fatigue,” Dr. Siamak Tabib, MD, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA
Gastroenterology and Hepatology and cofounder of MDbio, explains. “An effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant, mint has invigorating and antispasmodic properties. Peppermint oil can be used to relieve tension headaches. Some even say it is an effective appetite suppressant!”