If you look up “weight loss” on the internet, you’ll be bombarded with thousands of advertisements for trending diets and weight loss supplements. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to spend a hundred dollars on a diet pill that may or may not work. The best aids for weight loss can be bought from your local supermarket, found in your kitchen, or even grown in your very own backyard!
Benefits of Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices have been known for ages for their rich nutrients and positive effects on the human body. It’s no wonder that many ancient civilizations used these in their cooking, healing, and spiritual practices. In the present world, herbs and spices are still regarded as being one of the healthiest ingredients available.
In case you didn’t know, here are five benefits you can get from herbs and spices:
Herbs and spices are overflowing with antioxidants. These are the ones that fight against oxidative damage that may cause diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. They keep our cell membranes, DNA, and proteins safe from free-radicals.
Inflammation is another common problem among the elderly. It can also be external or internal, depending on the situation. Many herbs or spices contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the burning feeling.
Blood Sugar Control
Leveling and controlling blood sugar is another significant benefit of herbs. For example, cinnamon is highly praised for its ability to keep blood sugar levels stable and enhance the effect of insulin in people.
Herbs also protect against harmful bacterial growth. This is why it’s traditionally used as protection against raw meat in warmer regions. It contributes to preventing bacterial growth in the digestive system.
Last but not least, many herbs and spices, turmeric primarily, are known for their anti-cancer properties. They contain compounds and enzymes that can prevent cell mutation and inhibit tumor growth.
The 15 Must-Have Herbs and Spices For Weight Loss
There are many herbs and spices that can help you with your weight loss journey, but to make things easier, we have rounded up 15 of the most common and useful herbs on the market:
The first herb on this list is by far the most famous one. Green tea is, without a doubt, one of the best aids for losing weight. It’s super accessible and can be bought almost everywhere around the world. Studies have proven that green tea is rich in antioxidants known as catechins.
These catechins are what makes green tea such an effective weight loss drink. Epigallocatechin gallate, one of the catechins, is an excellent metabolism booster. Green tea also contains less caffeine when compared to other herbal teas and coffee itself. The caffeine in green tea stimulates fat burning and improves muscle performance.
To use green tea as an appetite suppressor, make sure to drink it half an hour before each meal. This helps you feel full and can get rid of cravings afterward. You can drink at most four cups a day. We recommend using green tea leaves for a more effective result. It’s also worth noting that more than the four cups a day of green tea can lead to insomnia, heartburn, or dizziness.
Ginger is one of the most versatile roots on the market and one of the most effective when it comes to weight loss. Ginger alone can boost your metabolism and speed up your calorie-burning process by 20 percent.
To experience ginger at its best, try mixing it up with the dishes you create. Ginger can help treat sore throats, flush toxins out of the body, and improve the overall performance of your digestive system. One of its best characteristics is that it can act as an excellent appetite suppressant to prevent you from binge-eating. Ginger also helps melt the stored fat in your body.
To incorporate it into your weight loss diet, you can chew on it raw or consume it as a drink or additive to food. You can also drink it as tea, pairing it with honey to balance the intense flavor.
Cinnamon is another famous Indian spice on this list. It has a sweet and robust flavor that is often used in pastries, but did you know that it’s also a useful weight-loss tool? Cinnamon’s number one ability for weight loss is its capabilities to quicken your metabolism. This quick metabolism will help you feel full for more extended periods and curb later cravings. This will also help you reduce your blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, making this an active combatant against diabetes.
To make cinnamon tea, you need to dissolve one to two teaspoons of powdered cinnamon in warm water or soak one cinnamon bark overnight. You need to drink the tea first thing in the morning every day for four weeks to get the best results.
In case you didn’t know, dandelions are edible. And they are mostly loaded with nutrients. You can either buy dandelions online at Ayurveda stores or your local supermarkets (if they have any).
Studies have shown that dandelions can slow down the digestive process, which in turn helps you feel fuller for a more extended amount of time. They are also chock full of fiber, helpful antioxidants, useful nutrients, and vitamins like K1. And akin to carrots, they also contain beta-carotene that protects your liver.
Dandelions can be brewed into tea. Boil one to two teaspoons of dandelion in a full glass of water. Make sure to get the approval of your doctor first before taking this into your diet.
Another strange spice (in this case) that can help you in your weight loss is cayenne pepper. It was made famous by Beyonce through her master cleanse diet. It has now landed on the dishes of many dieters. Despite its spicy nature, it has many nutritional benefits for the body.
Cayenne pepper’s compound, capsaicin, is what gives it its heat. It’s also a known thermogenic, meaning the capsaicin gets the body moving and burning fat to create body heat. It also breaks down fat tissues and decreases your desire to eat more. Plus, it lowers your blood fat levels and boosts your metabolism.
It’s advisable to eat only 1/4 of a teaspoon at a time at most twice a day. You can serve it as tea and add lime for extra taste. We do not recommend consuming too much of it, as it can lead to stomach upset and dizziness.
Turmeric is also known as a wonder spice, and it lives up to its name. It’s a yellow-pigmented root that originates in Southern Asia and has been used for centuries in medicinal practices in India. Its main compound, curcumin, is what’s responsible for its bright yellow color.
Curcumin is also amazing at burning fat, which is why it’s a wise choice as a diet drink if you’re looking for rapid weight loss. It’s also known to improve gut and skin health. But turmeric powder’s powers don’t stop there. It can also prevent microbial infections, lessen inflammation, and quicken the healing process.
You can consume turmeric by grinding the root into a fine powder. Mix the powder with one cup of warm water and 1/2 a cup of lime juice. It’s advisable not to drink more than two cups a day, as this can cause nausea, decrease your blood pressure to a dangerous level, and increase menstrual flow.
Another herb widely used in Chinese medicine is goto kula. Research has also shown that this herb is useful when it comes to treating stress, depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Gotu kula is also used in aid of urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, and the common cold.
One of the most significant factors of weight gain is stress. Because of stress, we tend to binge-eat to help alleviate the feelings. Gotu kola brings these emotions down and creates a “feel-good” hormone. This helps indirectly with weight loss as it helps you feel more active and energetic.
Gotu kola is often paired with honey when drank as a tea. You should only consume one to two teaspoons of this herb per day. Drinking too much can lead to drowsiness or fever.
Aloe vera works wonders for the human body both inside and out. It’s a stemless plant with fleshy leaves and a gel-like substance inside. The gel is excellent for treating skin irritations, burns, hair and gut problems, as well as aid in weight loss.
Aloe vera is rich in antioxidants that can help detoxify and clean your body. Its nutrients also boost your metabolism and keep your body functioning correctly. Having a working digestive system will encourage your body to slim down.
To incorporate this into your diet, mash up a couple of teaspoons of the extract with water and drink every day. We highly recommend only buying aloe vera extract from pharmacies, Ayurveda stores, supermarkets, or growing your own aloe vera plant. You should never use a wild aloe vera plant for consumption or topical applications.
Ginseng is very popular for its many herbal benefits. It’s a perennial plant with fleshy roots that grow slowly in colder regions like Bhutan, Korean, Eastern Siberia, and even North America. However, it’s commonly used in Chinese medicine. Studies have concluded that drinking ginseng helps alleviate stress and high cholesterol levels, as well as high blood sugar.
You can use the extract from ginseng to drink as tea and pair it with lime. Ginseng will help you feel relaxed and keep you energized for the entire day, thus avoiding overeating. Ginseng also quickens your metabolism and prevents weight gain by lowering your cholesterol and sugar levels. Plus, the lime that you add in your tea is rich in vitamin C and fiber that can boost your immunity and reduce cravings.
You can take five grams of ginseng two times per day for two weeks and then reduce to two grams. You can also purchase it as a tincture and mix 15 to 25 drops of the extract and lime into your tea. We recommend caution, though, as some people are known to have allergic reactions towards ginseng.
As you might expect, hibiscus tea comes from the pretty hibiscus flower. It greatly helps you lose weight by reducing the amount of water stored in your cells. Hibiscus tea is easily accessible and can be bought in supermarkets, online stores, and pharmacies.
The flower extracts contain phaseolamin, which is a type of enzyme. Phaseolamin will reduce the creation of amylase. This enzyme is responsible for transforming carbohydrates to sugar, thus by limiting its production, the body is less likely to absorb carbs. Hibiscus tea has many benefits, aside from encouraging weight loss. It prevents stomach irritations, has diuretic properties, lowers cholesterol, and improves the digestive system.
One cup of hibiscus tea has about 1.5 grams of hibiscus calyx so that you can drink hibiscus tea with honey at most two cups a day. The honey syrup is also good at preventing throat infections and encouraging a healthy gut.
The next herb on this list comes from South America. It is called Yerba mate. It is sourced from old and dried parts of a plant of the same name. Yerba mate includes three xanthines, including caffeine, and is loaded with polyphenols. This herb is also known for its beneficial properties that aid in the lowering of blood sugar levels and decreasing the risks of diabetes.
Yerba mate is also a perfect partner tea for shedding a few pounds. Its phytonutrients and caffeine properties help boost your mood, fuel your body, and suppress cravings. It’s also one of the main ingredients in most energy drinks – and for a good reason! Drinking yerba mate gives you the energy you need throughout the day, thus reducing your appetite and encouraging weight loss.
Yerba mate is usually drunk as a tea. You only need to boil one tablespoon of yerba mate with two cups of water. This tea is light and can be taken at any time of the day.
The guggul extract, found in India and North America, is also known by its local names as guggal, devadhupa, and Guggulu. It is a gum resin of the Commiphora mukula, which is a native tree in India, and has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine practices. The phytosteroid referred to as guggulsterone comes from the guggul extract. It is known for its anti-cancer, anti-angiogenic properties, as well as its ability to lower cholesterol levels.
The guggul extract is commonly used for reducing your fat composition. It helps stimulate thyroid function by boosting the metabolic rate and burning calories. It can be paired with another herb named Triphala. This herb cleanses the colon, improves overall digestion, and has strong antioxidant properties.
You can either brew the guggul extract and Triphala as tea or let it dissolve under your tongue. You can keep one gram of guggul in your mouth three to four times a day. It’s important to note that you should not exceed 25 grams a day, as an overdose can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Another perennial plant on this list is Gurmar leaves. This plant is commonly found in India and Sri Lanka and has yellow flowers with oval-shaped leaves. It’s also highly used in Ayurveda practices and known for years as a treatment against kidney stones, diabetes, constipation, and obesity.
Gurmar works well with weight problems, as it contains a compound called gymnemic acid. Gymnemic acid stops sugar absorption in the intestine and promotes insulin sensitivity. Drinking it together with honey only adds nutritional benefits, such as anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and healing properties.
The leaves are available in powdered form and can be taken at most 400 mg per day. When opting for dry leaves, make sure to take at most one to two grams a day. We also do not recommend this tea for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. If you’re approaching surgery, you need to stop drinking it two weeks prior.
This is a one of a kind tea coming all the way from China. It is unique in the sense that the tea is fermented. The leaves are dried before the fermentation process allowing microbes to oxidize the leaves. The tea leaves follow a similar aging process to wine, which creates a robust flavor.
Puerh tea keeps the spleen in tip-top shape, thus helping the body maintain a balanced and absorptive digestive system. When the spleen is taken care of, this increases our metabolic rate, which in turn leads to your weight falling off. Although Puerh tea isn’t as accessible as the others on this list, you can still purchase it online.
Puerh tea can be taken at most three times a day. It’s important to remember to drink tea after eating. Drinking too much of this tea can also an irregular heartbeat, so please exercise moderation.
Indian coleus, or otherwise known as coleus forskohlii, is an herb found in Southern Asia. In Ayurvedic medicine, they will often pickle the roots to help strengthen the muscles surrounding your heart. The roots also contain forskolin, which supports the thyroid and produces ATP to help you feel energetic. In men, it can encourage testosterone production to help build muscle.
Coleus forskohlii, when drank with lime as tea, helps significantly in slimming down your body. Its combined effects will help you keep active and energetic throughout the day. It will also increase brain and muscle functions and keep your metabolism and immunity up to shape.
We recommend purchasing coleus’ root extract that only contains 18 percent forskolin. You can take at most 50 grams of coleus two times per day. We strongly advise pregnant or breastfeeding mothers refrain from drinking this tea as it can lower blood pressure and cause bleeding problems.
Nature is often overlooked when we search for supplements to aid our weight loss journey. While diet drinks and ready-to-pop pills are accessible and convenient, nothing beats the healing wonders of Mother Nature. As long as you get the “go ahead” signal from your doctor, you can healthily incorporate the herbs above into your diet.