POPULAR HERBS AND SPICES FOR WEIGHT LOSS & FOR BURNING BELLY FAT
What is belly fat?
Basically, there are three types of fat in the body: subcutaneous fat, triglycerides, and visceral fat. While the first two – subcutaneous fat and triglycerides – may be considered healthy, visceral fat is not.
Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat that resides underneath the epidermis (outer part of the skin) but above the abdominal muscles. Triglycerides, on the other hand, are groups of fat that are found in the bloodstream. More than 90% of the body’s fat content is of this type.
Visceral fat, or belly fat, is a layer of fat around the belly and is considered harmful to overall health, especially when it is in excess. Visceral fat is located beneath the abdominal muscles. The risk of diseases such as colorectal cancer and heart disease gets higher when there is too much fat in the body.
According to research, visceral fat poses these risks due to the fact that fat cells stimulate the production of hormones and chemicals in the body. When visceral fat becomes excess, the level of these chemicals also increases, thereby, causing damage to body organs.
What causes belly fat?
While good levels of visceral fat are considered healthy, the problem arises when the fat levels become abnormally high. This increase in visceral fat can be due to various reasons such as the following:
- Eating high-sugar foods: Foods containing too much sugar are delicious to consume, but they are harmful to the health. Studies have found that eating sugary foods like cakes can increase the level of visceral fat in the body. Other studies have also shown that following a high-fructose diet can reduce the rate of fat conversion in the body.
- Eating foods containing trans fats: Trans fats are used for preserving packaged foods. These fats are considered unhealthy to overall health as they have been shown to cause several diseases. Eating foods containing trans fats is one of the quickest ways of increasing belly fat.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol: High intake of alcoholic drinks has been linked to belly fat. While moderate alcohol intake can help in lowering the risk of some diseases, excessive consumption, however, can cause serious health issues. Moreover, the fact that many persons who regularly binge on alcohol develop a protruding belly hints to the danger of excess alcohol intake.
- Menopause: During menopause, women tend to gain belly fat quite easily. This is because during menopause, this slows down the production of estrogen which causes fat to be stored in the wrong places like the abdomen. Before menopause, normal production of estrogen causes the body to store fat around the hips and thighs, but when the estrogen levels decrease, this function is affected.
- Living a sedentary lifestyle: Inactivity is another cause of belly fat. Various studies have discovered that people who sit or lay down for long hours every day are more susceptible to developing belly fat than those who do not.
Other possible causes of belly fat are:
- Eating low-protein foods
- Imbalance in intestinal flora
- Eating low-fiber foods
- Lack of sleep
Herbs and spices for burning belly fat
Although there are several methods of losing weight and burning excess belly fat, we shall consider some herbs and spices that are as effective as some traditional weight-loss methods.
Following are herbs and spices that can help in burning visceral fat in a rapid manner:
- Turmeric: Turmeric can help in reducing belly fat due to its many powerful chemical compounds, chief of which is curcumin. A 2009 study conducted on mice showed that feeding the mice with cucurmin-rich diet helped them lose more fat than those that were fed without curcumin. Besides, turmeric helps to burn fat by enhancing body metabolism.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon powder is a kitchen spice that can help the body in so many ways, including helping to maintain a healthy weight. Drinking a solution of cinnamon powder in water is a healthy way of burning fat. You can also benefit from this spice by adding it to your meals or smoothies.
- Black pepper: Black pepper is highly beneficial in burning fat as it has been found that it has the power to inhibit the formation of new fat cells. If you have belly fat, you can benefit from this spice by adding it to your meals.
- Curry: Researchers have also suggested that curry leaves can help in weight loss. Adding the leaves of this plant to your meal is a great way to control your visceral fat.
- Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper is a type of hot pepper that can increase the body temperature, thereby, increasing metabolism. According to a research report, eating foods containing cayenne pepper can help to burn fat.
- Cumin: Like cayenne pepper, cumin is another spice that can help to effectively burn extra fat around the belly. A recent study even suggests that adding a teaspoon of cumin to your meals can help to burn body fat by as much as 300%. So if you haven’t started adding cumin to your meals, now should be a good time.
- Ginger: Ginger has thermogenic properties, i.e. it promotes heat production in the body. Heat is produced in the body as a result of metabolic reactions like fat burning. Moreover, ginger can aid in weight loss by inhibiting the production of cortisol in the body. High levels of cortisol in the body lead to stress, which in turn leads to weight gain. Therefore, drinking ginger tea, or eating raw ginger will help in getting rid of the excess belly fat.
- Garlic: Most people do not like garlic because of its pungent smell. However, beyond the smell of garlic are its great medicinal properties, including helping to lose weight. As a result, it is recommended that you add garlic to your meals, or you eat it raw. Although studies are yet to be conducted on humans, the weight-losing benefits of the herb cannot be disputed.
- Dandelion: While many people consider dandelion as a weed with no use, others are reaping the health benefits of this herbal plant. Dandelion helps to burn belly fat by reducing inflammation and also by detoxifying the body of harmful chemicals. You can prepare dandelion tea by boiling the leaves of the plant in water. The leaves can also be eaten raw.
- Cardamom: Cardamon is a spice that stimulates the production of heat in the body – it is thermogenic. The spice also aids weight loss by promoting metabolism.
- Ginseng: Ginseng contains caffeine, which is helpful in weight loss. In addition, the herb has been found to aid in enhancing metabolism which is also important for expending stored fat. Drinking ginseng tea daily will help in reducing the excess fat around the abdomen.
- Green tea: Green tea has long been used for its medicinal properties, so it is no wonder that it is included in this list. Green tea is loaded with potent antioxidants that help in protecting the body against infections as well as in boosting metabolism. For instance, catechins, which are antioxidants present in green tea have been proven to be helpful in weight loss by increasing metabolism and by aiding fat conversion in the liver. Drinking four to five cups of green tea per day is a natural and simple way of getting rid of belly fat.
- Hibiscus tea: The flower of the hibiscus plant has medicinal properties that can benefit people with excess belly fat. The flower extract can help to reduce weight by removing excess water in the body while also reducing the rate of absorption of carbohydrates in the body.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is a common culinary herb that aids in weight loss. This is due to the fact that the herb is rich in lipase, which is an enzyme that promotes the metabolism of fat molecules in the body. In addition, the fiber content of the plant helps in weight loss by preventing the absorption of fat.
- Aloe vera: The weight-losing properties of aloe vera are evident in the fact that the plant promotes metabolism and detoxification. To get rid of belly fat quickly, drink a cup of aloe vera juice every morning.
- Peppermint: Drinking peppermint tea is another natural way of reducing weight. Apart from the sweet aroma of this plant, it also possesses wonderful health properties. Peppermint helps in detoxifying the body and in improving digestive health, which can cause accumulation of fat in the belly if left uncontrolled.
- Parsley: The fat-burning property of parsley can be linked to its role in reducing blood glucose levels and in curbing appetite. Furthermore, parsley aids in weight loss by promotin the conversion of food instead of storing it as fat.
- Holy basil: Stress and high levels of cortisol also contribute to weight gain, especially around the abdominal region. Holy basil promotes weight loss by lowering the cortisol levels in the body. So if you find that your belly fat is due to stress, you can remedy the situation by chewing some fresh basil leaves or drinking basil tea.
- Milk thistle: Milk thistle extract can help in reducing belly fat by converting excess glucose in the body. Moreover, the detoxifying effect of the plant also helps in keeping the body healthy.
Important Tip For Weight Loss
Drink plenty water. Dehydration can also cause weight gain. Moreover, drinking lots of water during the day will make you to eat less, reducing the amount of calories you consume.
So while using any of the aforementioned herbs and spices, try to drink more water.