Because they’re loaded with benefits, virtually free from calories and easy to use on all sorts of recipes, there’s basically no reason for anything but love for spices. There’s evidence that including more spices and herbs in your diet (especially turmeric, black pepper and cayenne pepper) can help you reduce intake of things like flavor enhancers, salt and sugar while helping you reduce weight gain without having negative effects. Try adding some to homemade tea or detox drinks, marinades, on top of fish or other proteins, in a stir-fry, on veggies, or in soups.
Mate tea is known for its powerful thermogenic effects—meaning it turns up your body’s calorie burning mechanism—and can also promote weight loss by improving insulin sensitivity. In a recent study, participants were divided into two groups. One group took a placebo 60 minutes prior to exercising, while the other group ingested 1000 mg capsule of yerba maté. Researchers found that those who consumed the herb increased the beneficial effects their workout had on their metabolism without the workout. Plus, this brew is like green tea on steroids, with up to 90 percent more powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, a cache of B vitamins, and plenty of chromium, which helps stabilize blood-sugar levels.
Vegetarians are healthier than non-vegetarians in the long run. A wholesome vegetarian meal includes all the necessary components required for a healthy body and mind. Vegan foods have the right balance of vitamins, minerals, calcium, zinc, protein, carbs, and iron, all of which boost metabolism and keep the digestive system in order. When the calorie consumption is less, obesity and other chronic disorders are taken care of. Vegetarians are high on energy and less prone to common ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure. They are usually fit, disease-free, and energetic.
Rosemary is a popular aromatic herb used in cooking. It is obtained from the plant Rosmarinus officinalis and has spike-like leaves. Research on rosemary leaf and extracts have been carried out, and they were found to have strong antioxidant properties (20). Researchers also found that rosemary tea had an antidepressant property (21). Both these properties are good for promoting weight loss.
Whether you're trying to reduce your cancer risk, slash your carbon footprint, or you just want to take a stand as an animal lover, there are tons of benefits associated with going vegetarian. And one of those benefits could be weight loss. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who ate about 250 grams of meat a day—roughly the size of one half-pound steak, piece of poultry, or processed meat—packed on more pounds over the course of five years compared to other study participants who ate less animal protein. And this was true even when they had the same amount of calories overall. But slimming down as the result of going plant-based is definitely not guaranteed. In fact, certain missteps could lead to weight gain.
Enjoy the rich flavor of sweet potatoes? While home on Sundays, cook up a batch. Wrap each one in foil and bake for about an hour at 425 degrees F, or until their luscious, sweet juices start to ooze out into the foil. At work the following week, just pop one in the microwave for a quick warm-up. They’re loaded with taste, so they don’t need any extra toppings. If you want a little zest, swirl in a teaspoon or two of no-salt-added Dijon mustard or a quarter cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
Oolong tea is also obtained from Camellia sinensis, but the processing is different from green and matcha teas. It is also loaded with EGCG, a potent phytonutrient that has antioxidant properties. Scientists have confirmed that oolong tea is great for weight loss as it helps lower the lipid levels in the blood and increases fat metabolism (24), (25).
Dr. Kohnke and his team then tested thylakoid in humans and found that it also acts as a natural appetite suppressant in normal-weight people. Eleven subjects ate a high-fat meal (a sandwich with thylakoid-rich pesto or regular pesto). Afterwards, levels of three different appetite signaling hormones were altered in those given the thylakoid-rich sandwiches. Two hours after the meal, they showed significant increases in the satiety hormone cholecystokinin compared to those who did not eat a thylakoid-rich sandwich. They also had reduced levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, a hormone secreted by adipose tissue (fat cells) that tells you you’re hungry. Six hours after the meal, they had significant increases in ghrelin’s opposite hormone—leptin—which also control’s appetite by telling you you’re full. The fact that thylakoid increased leptin levels in the blood six hours after eating is important because leptin is crucial for regulating calorie intake between meals and over longer periods of time.
Ashwagandha tea gives you a better outlook on life and reduces stress hormones that can wreak havoc on your waistline. A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that “Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.” When it comes to weight loss, stress is not your friend. A recent study at Penn State found that people who react badly to stressful situations have increased levels of inflammation in their bodies—and inflammation is directly tied to obesity, as well as diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. When anxiety rides high, you’re also at the mercy of stress hormones such as cortisol—known as “the belly fat hormone” for its ability to pull lipids from the bloodstream and store them in our fat cells.
A 2009 Chinese study examined the ability of oolong tea to increase energy and accelerate weight loss. The study consisted of 102 obese individuals who were examined over a 6-week period. Participants consumed four 8-ounce cups of oolong tea every day during the study. The results showed that 70% of participants lost a minimum of 2 pounds. Almost a quarter of participants lost more than 6 pounds.
With a caffeine count higher than coffee, these teas kick your metabolism into gear. In a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, a 3-4 percent increase in metabolic rate was measured in both lean and obese subjects after a single 100 mg dose of caffeine. Look for teas made from this caffeine-containing fruit; if you want to skip comparative shopping, just grab a box of Celestial Seasonings’ Fast Lane, which clocks in 20 mg above your daily cup of coffee at 110 mg caffeine.
Another weight loss aid that is available in the UK is orlistat, a medication that works by reducing the amount of fat absorbed by your body from the food you eat. It is a prescription only medication and a GP or online doctor need to assess whether it’s suitable for you. Orlistat does not affect your appetite and you need to eat a low fat diet while taking it.
When you are stressed, your body kicks up production of the hormone cortisol. “High levels of cortisol can lead to an accumulation of abdominal fat as well as other chronic health problems,” says New York City nutritionist Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, the founder of Nutritious Life. Cortisol also causes the body to form a resistance to leptin—a hormone that sends the signal to the brain that you are full, she says. “The more stressed you are, the more cortisol you secrete, and the less able you are to tell when you are full.” There’s more to it too, she says. “During times of stress, we tend to crave high sugar, high carbohydrate foods that produce serotonin and make us feel calm and in control. So, reducing stress will help reduce these cravings.” She suggests carving out a few minutes to practice deep breathing each day. “Close your eyes, clear your mind, and breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth,” she says.
3. Go with natural foods. Our ancestors never saw refined food, and the less you see of it, the better. Focus on minimally processed natural foods, meaning more grains and less refined grains and sugars. Gradually boost your fiber intake to at least 25-30 grams. Whole grains and vegetables contain insoluble fibers that promote healthy digestion, while the soluble fibers in fruits, oats and cooked dried beans and peas lower cholesterol and keep blood sugar steady, helping prevent heart disease and diabetes. Both kinds help control weight.