Adding some spice to your foods may do more than give them a kickin’ flavour, they may also give a subtle boost to your metabolism. New research indicates that spices, including turmeric and cinnamon, may help in the fight to lose excess body weight.
A Penn State University study shows that high calorie meals increase levels of blood triglycerides. Tests revealed that as little as 2 tablespoons of spices per meal resulted in a drop in insulin response by 20% due to antioxidants in the spices. This, researchers stated, facilitated weight loss by 30%.
Lipotropic herbs, such as cinnamon and ginseng also promote the exportation of fat from the liver, which helps the body use fat for energy. Research shows that these two herbs lower triglycerides and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, which means you’re metabolizing fats better. It doesn’t mean they will cause your body to release stored fat. However, normalizing the burning and digestion of fat can make a marked improvement in aiding digestion and absorbing nutrients, meaning more energy, more metabolic efficiency and better overall health.
The main ingredients in some spices are the secret to their success.
Cinnamon seems to reduce blood sugar (with moderate use) and helps to better process carbohydrates, as well as lowering LDL cholesterol. (Diabetes Care, 2003).
Cayenne, which contains capsaicin, has the unique ability to trigger protein changes in the body that cause weight loss, according to the Journal of Proteome Research. And studies performed by the Journal of Obesity also found that the spice increases fat oxidation, which increases energy expenditure and stimulates activity by the sympathetic nervous system.
Black pepper improves digestion and promotes nutrient absorption. Its main component-piperine, also boosts fat metabolism for several hours after ingestion.
Mustard seed is another potent spice that helps to burn fat more quickly due to its thermogenic nature. Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that a mere teaspoon of hot mustard can boost metabolism 20 to 25% for several hours after eating.
Another way that spices such as cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and cloves impart help with weight loss is through their natural sweetness. Use of these allows you to reduce or eliminate sugar (and subsequent calories) in foods.
It should be noted that though research shows some benefit to eating spices for weight loss, the results are unlikely to be effective in the absence of a healthy diet and effective exercise plan.