Let’s be honest with ourselves, though: as pleasant as the fantasy is, there’s no magical herb growing on a rocky mountainside in some remote part of the world that — on its own — will slim you down until you’re a trim, glowing version of yourself. In order to slenderize healthily, you already know what you need to do: eat more green vegetables, reduce your sugar intake, put the pint glass down occasionally, and exercise with something resembling regularity.
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.
Consumption of protein-rich food is vital in many weight-loss programs because protein fills you up faster; thus, you need less food to be satisfied. According to Stephanie Goldfinger of vegetarian website Cooking for Luv, proteins are available in many forms, which makes them convenient to incorporate into meals because they can be eaten raw or cooked quickly. Protein powders are ideal for a grab-and-go breakfast or mid-day smoothie, while other plant-based proteins such as tempeh, beans, lentils, quinoa, and oats are versatile and can serve as the main component of a veggie burrito, salad, or stir-fry.
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.
As serving sizes have increased, so have plate sizes—and seeing appropriately sized portions swimming on a giant plate can make you feel like you're not getting much food. Put your main meal on a 7-inch plate, which is about the size of a salad plate or child-size plate. Choose a 1-cup dessert or cereal bowl instead of a soup bowl, a 6-ounce wineglass rather than a goblet. When you’re eating out, ask for an extra salad plate and transfer the proper-size portions of your food onto it when you’re served your entree. Then ask the waiter to take away and wrap up the rest.
But all this was rather abstract. I wanted to see how real people living in the 21st century would do on the simple diet plan. I decided to recruit some volunteers at my gym to test the diet. All of the people I chose were healthy exercisers, in their early 20s to their 60s. While some had elevated cholesterol or were on medications, most just wanted to lose weight. About 40 stuck with the diet for six weeks, and some of those stayed on for another six-week study with 15 volunteers from another local gym.
These weight-loss tea leaves are partially oxidized (black teas, for instance, are fully oxidized), lending a smooth, but bold taste to the brew. Happily, they also help boost your body’s ability to metabolize fats, reports a 2009 study from Chinese researchers. When obese and overweight participants consumed oolong for six weeks about two-thirds lost more than 2.2 pounds and 12 percent belly fat. Bonus: They ended the study with healthier cholesterol and triglyceride scores, all adding up to a stronger ticker. (Here are 23 tricks to flatten your belly without exercise.)
While a full day of physical labor might leave you famished, a shorter intense workout might have the opposite effect. One analysis of 20 studies found that exercise suppressed the “hunger hormone” acylated ghrelin while boosting levels of hormones that act as appetite suppressants. Wrap up your gym session right before a meal so that you don’t tempt yourself into eating so much that you negate your workout.
Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavanoid called Aspalathin. Research shows this compound can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage and are linked to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Yup, sometimes the kettle can be as effective as the kettlebell.
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The foundation of the vegan food pyramid is greens and vegetables followed by fruit and whole grains. This is an updated version of MyPyramid—the food guide that replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2005—which emphasized grains, bread, cereal, and pasta as the foundation of a good nutritional regimen. Although the vegan food pyramid serves as a guide, caloric intake and portion control are key factors for any healthy weight-loss program.
This South American tea comes from the yerba mate plant. Its leaves and twigs are dried, usually over a fire, and steeped in hot water to make an herbal tea. This caffeine-containing tea, often called mate, may help promote weight loss. Some consider it an ideal substitute for coffee, minus the bitterness. The Mayo Clinic advises, however, to enjoy this tea in moderation. Some studies have found that people who drink large amounts of mate over prolonged periods may be at increased risk for certain types of cancer such as cancer of the mouth, lungs and esophagus (smoking in combination with drinking mate increases the cancer risk).
Protein is known for suppressing appetite, but it seems that whey protein is especially good at it. New research shows that after people have a liquid meal with whey protein they consume significantly fewer calories at their next meal than those who had a liquid meal with casein protein. Stock up on whey protein at your local natural foods store to reap this benefit!