For those of you who love spicy foods, I have really great news! Spices, although typically associated with rich and heavy dishes, are actually incredibly beneficial when it comes to boosting the metabolism, detoxifying the body and losing fat. So many of us simply use herbs and spices to make our cooking taste better, without realising just how powerful the benefits of these foods really are. Spices, such as ginger, turmeric and cinnamon are powerful sources of antioxidants which help fight free radicals in our bodies, and promote the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. Here are my top 5 favourite spices for weight loss, I encourage you to include these in your daily diet.
If you are like me and don’t tend to cook with spices every day, then you can get your daily dose of these powerful spices by drinking them too! I make sure to get in some good quality spices first thing in the morning on an empty stomach by drinking my Miracle Morning Tonic (made with spices such as ginger, turmeric, cayenne, pepper and cumin). This detoxifying drink is great for cleansing my system, promoting healthy digestion and of course, boosting my metabolism to keep me burning fat efficiently throughout the day.
Ginger effectively reduces appetite and helps curb any cravings, making it an excellent addition to your daily diet. I love enjoying a warm cup of ginger tea after a long day. Simply cut up a few slices of fresh ginger, place in a 1-litre jug with boiling water and some honeybush tealeaves ..mmmm so warming and delicious. I also add fresh ginger shavings to soups, stews and curries.
Turmeric has been shown by numerous studies to help reduce inflammation, high levels of which are known to be a significant cause of obesity and difficulty losing weight. I love sprinkling turmeric over cauliflower florets with a little pink salt, olive oil and rosemary and then oven grilling these until crispy – a delicious way to enjoy this amazing spice!
This seriously hot spice revs up the metabolism, especially when consumed first thing in the morning. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper (which makes it hot) helps with a process called thermogenesis through which your body converts fat into heat. This means you are burning more fat which adds to weight loss. Add a little cayenne pepper to your eggs or sprinkle in mug of hot water and lemon for maximum benefits.
Cinnamon helps stabilise blood sugar and insulin levels which controls hunger and keeps those unwanted cravings at bay. I love adding ½ a tsp. cinnamon to oatmeal or quinoa porridge for breakfast. I also enjoy brewing some homemade chai tea at night to increase my cinnamon intake, and it tastes delicious too!
Cumin is rich in phytosterols – these are plant chemicals known to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Cumin, like other hot spices, can also temporarily increase the metabolic rate.
Want to try it yourself?
Here are some yummy ways to enjoy cumin:
1. Add a few teaspoons of ground cumin to your favorite roasted veggie recipe (it pairs especially well with sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, squash, and cauliflower.
2. Blend ground cumin with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and ground red pepper for a DIY meat seasoning.
3. Add a dash to mayo or hummus for sandwiches and dips.
4. Kick up mild guacamole with a little cumin powder to taste.
5. Sprinkle ground cumin into a batch of roasted chickpeas or nuts for a delicious snack.
Cara, is a health blogger, fitness enthusiast, nutrition coach, wholefoods producer, and founder of the Caralishious brand. You can find Cara’s online coaching services and meal plan options as well as healthy recipes, nutrition advice, exercise tips and offers simple and sustainable ways to obtain and maintain lasting health on the Caralishious blog.