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One of the hottest topics out there: weight loss.
Many companies capitalize on the world health crisis of obesity, and other weight-related disorders, by selling and marketing products that simply don’t work. Pills, wraps, shakes, programs, you name it – it’s out there, and it’s been bought by somebody, most likely millions of somebodies.
And, it really is no secret: the world is in crisis. According to the World Health Organization, rates of obesity have nearly tripled, with 39% of all adults over a healthy weight. And, maintaining an unhealthy body weight can cause many different health issues, like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, pain, and death.
But thankfully, hundreds of dollars in special shakes and pills isn’t the answer.
The Earth already gives us everything that we need to support and maintain a healthy life, and our body weight is no exception. Of course, it’s important to remember that we can’t be eating 4 double cheeseburgers for every meal, and expect anything to keep us healthy. But, plants are so very incredible, and several powerful ones interact with our metabolism and appetite to impact our weight. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Ginseng is one herb recognizable by many researchers, as it has been studied extensively; especially for its impact on weight. One reason for this could be because of its ability to impact the gut microbiome – specifically the ones, like phyla Bacteroidetes, that directly impact Body Mass Index(BMI)[2, 3] Ginseng also acts as an appetite suppressant, reduces fat in the liver, lowers cholesterol, and can even help your body burn more fat during exercise[4, 5]. The really interesting aspect of ginseng is that, even when eating a diet where one would expect to gain weight, intake actually suppresses the expected increase, which literally means it causes you to gain weight at a slower rate than you would without it.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Capsicum annuum is a species of plants, typically recognized by their hot red peppers – one of which is the cayenne. This moderately hot pepper is also widely known for its weight-loss properties. By boosting fat loss, particularly fat in and around the abdomen, and suppressing appetite, the cayenne pepper has passed many lab tests on its ability to help one lose weight and get healthier. Just 12 weeks of treatment with this pepper yields impressive results in weight loss and food intake, and the great news is that adverse reactions have never been documented.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is beneficial for so many different aspects of health, including protection against disease and cancer, reducing stress, boosting energy, and reducing body weight. Green tea, with or without caffeine, has the ability to “significantly decrease body weight” by boosting metabolism and aiding in the body’s ability to burn fat, even while resting[10, 11]. When exercising though, green tea helps the body burn fat quicker and more efficiently, influencing greater weight loss, and “significant reductions in total and subcutaneous abdominal fat areas”.
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices used in the US – and you can find it in everything from coffee to baked goods, and even candy. But, like any herb, cinnamon isn’t just great for your taste buds, it’s also extremely beneficial for the body. Ingestion of cinnamon produces a body-wide anti-inflammatory effect, offers protection over the cardiovascular system, regulates blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and can also inhibit cancer growth. Cinnamon actually carries real merit when being used as the sole therapy for diabetes, and greatly lowers one’s risk of developing a metabolic syndrome, like heart disease[14, 15]. Cinnamon directly impacts the metabolism, turning its attention to fat cells, and causes them to “start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis”.
Fenugreek is an herb native to some parts of Europe and Asia, and has been used throughout these countries for centuries. Fenugreek can be taken to help boost a workout, significantly impacting “upper and lower-body strength, and body composition”, by improving endurance and muscle mass. Ingestion of fenugreek suppresses weight gain, improves blood glucose levels, and lowers cholesterol. Its consumption helps prevent the onset of diet-induced diabetes by over 400%, and reduces glucose levels in those already diagnosed with the disease.
Turmeric is an herb I have boasted about tirelessly, as it is one that has helped significantly in my own life. Turmeric has been well-documented for its abilities to aid in both preventing and reversing Type 2 diabetes. Within two months of daily dosing, with turmeric’s active component curcumin, this herb can significantly lower blood glucose levels, and improve insulin sensitivity. Because inflammation plays a major role in obesity and metabolic disease, curcumin actually has the ability to adjust targets that affect body weight. It suppresses overall body weight gain and promotes in increase in the body process that burns fat[22, 23]. In fact, there have been over 300 scientific reports on curcumin’s effects on obesity and obesity-associated complications.
What we know as cumin typically includes the pungent ground seeds from a plant in the parsley family. It is often used in Indian cooking, or when seasoning meat, but has so many more benefits than just giving a dish a deep, flavorful tone. When mixed with lime, cumin showed remarkable potential for reducing weight, BMI, and fasting blood glucose within just two months. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity effects, cumin remains a great option for reducing waist circumference, cholesterol, fat mass, and overall weight[26, 27].
Peppermint is most often recognized by its aromatic scent, and can be found in different teas, toothpaste, and skin-care products. It takes about 1.5 pounds of peppermint leaves to make one 10 ml bottle of peppermint essential oil, so this way is one of the best for potent peppermint health support. When taken orally, peppermint essential oil has shown the ability to instantly increase exercise performance, as well as boosting endurance[28, 29] Ingestion of peppermint tea lowers blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, leads to weight loss, and lowers overall BMI.
While these herbs will not magically erase a constant stream of high-sugar, nutrient-devoid foods, they do prove to be a priceless asset when supporting your body through healthy diet and exercise. Not only are these herbs pure from the earth, but their cost is significantly lower than you might find through a fancy pill. Everything is already here for our benefit, we just have to learn to understand their true value.
Until next time,
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