Almost all of us are inclined to scour the web in search of the best diets and meal plans. However, the truth is some of the tools to weight-loss success are already on our spice rack in our kitchen!!
In India, in particular, aromatic spices have long been used to cure common ailments and are in fact, traditionally, hailed as “medicines of the kitchen”. The west has woken up to this fact – some of these spices are now being sold in tablet form to help alleviate symptoms of many lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol build-up.
Few of these spices that not only add flavor to our favorite dishes but can help in our battle against the bulge are discussed here:
• Cinnamon: One teaspoon of cinnamon per day can boost the body’s weight-loss ability by reducing blood sugar and promoting healthier processing of carbohydrates. It also lowers LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 7 to 27% and total cholesterol level by 12 to 26%. Cinnamon has been shown to prevent the metabolic syndrome commonly seen in pre-diabetics.
Warning: Consuming cinnamon in large amounts can lead to liver damage since it contains a chemical called Coumarin.
• Cayenne: The main ingredient in spicy cayenne—capsaicin, which is also found in other hot peppers—has long been studied for its fat-burning abilities and thermogenic properties (the stimulating of the central nervous system to produce heat in the body, leading to an increase in calorie burning). It has also been concluded that capsaicin acts as an appetite suppressant. This spice increases fat oxidation, “ramps up energy expenditure, and stimulates activity by the sympathetic nervous system”—all which help the body to shed excess weight. Research has also found that cayenne’s ability to reduce appetite is equally effective whether ingested as food or in capsule form.
• Black Pepper: This common household ingredient has got a dozen of household benefits. One of them is its ability to improve digestion and promote the absorption of nutrients in tissues all over the body. Plus, its main component —piperine (which gives pepper its pungent taste) boosts fat metabolism by as much as 8% for several hours after ingesting it. To get the maximum benefits, use freshly ground pepper, which has the most concentrated amounts of piperine.
• Ginger: Ginger has long been used for its medicinal properties. It is also an effective diuretic (a substance that increases the elimination of urine). It improves gastric mobility (i.e. it pushes food and waste through the digestive system) and hinders the absorption of cholesterol. There are preliminary evidence suggests that this versatile spice helps to increase metabolism.
• Mustard Seeds: Spicy mustard helps boost metabolism and allows you to burn fat more quickly, owing to its thermogenic properties.