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Herbs to Boost Metabolism

In a world of a constant bombardment of free-radicals, it's good to know that  Mother Nature happily provides us with plant medicines to help support our bodies through illness, stress, and hormone imbalance.

Everyone who starts down the path of changing their diet to counteract these free-radical effects by switching to a diet packed with whole foods and healthy fats to help lose weight and regain their health are looking for a little boost. 

Fortunately, you can turn to your pantry to find many incredible herbs and spices that can increase metabolism and improve your fat burning capacity. Take a look at some of the easiest to find and most delicious options below!

1. Matcha

Matcha is the powdered leaf of everybody’s favorite green tea, making it a super concentrated source of the powerful nutrients such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels[1] and contribute to better blood sugar balance in the body[2].

When drunk in this form it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which go a long way towards creating a healthy body.

However, even more, exciting for those looking for a little metabolism support is that green tea extract has been shown in studies to help with weight loss efforts[3].

Rather than taking a pill I always recommend enjoying your matcha tea as a dairy-free elixir.

2. Ginseng

There are many different varieties of this herb, but one thing they all have in common is their adaptogenic properties in the body.

That’s just a fancy way of saying that when taken regularly this herb can help your body better adapt to physical and emotional stress and give you a boost of natural energy!

On its own this should have a positive effect of your weight as stress hormones such as cortisol, when chronically elevated, can cause your body to store fat.

Specifically it likes to store fat around the midsection, which is the most highly correlated with developing chronic disease.

Above the stress modulating and energizing benefits, some animal studies show that it has promising benefits for blood sugar balance and weight loss[4], when taken regularly. If you struggle with diabetes, stress, or hormone imbalance, this may be the metabolism-boosting herb you need! Pick some up right here.

3. Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is definitely one of my favorite culinary herbs to use in cooking and baking. It adds so much flavour and enhances the sweetness of desserts, while helping keep glucose levels stable[5], by increasing the cellular uptake of sugars from the blood stream.

Improving sugar metabolism in the body can have huge benefits for weight management, lowering inflammation levels, and decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome[6], so add a tsp. to your daily diet to reap the benefits! You can grab some right here!

4. Ginger

Ginger is another incredibly common culinary herb that is so easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

You may think its only role is to help prevent nausea when traveling or sick, but it’s also a potent anti-inflammatory and has sugar sensitizing effects in the digestive tract.

It has been demonstrated to increase the thermic effect of food, which means the amount of energy expended above and beyond your normal metabolic rate. This effect shows promise in helping individuals maintain a healthy weight.

The same study showed that it may also help improve feelings of fullness, which can help keep you from mindless snacking[7]. Get yours here!

5. Turmeric

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the wellness world who isn’t obsessed with turmeric, and for good reason!

It’s been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body and brain[8]; it’s packed with powerful anti-oxidant phytochemicals, and it can help with the ever important balancing of blood sugar[9].

You may have started to notice a theme here: keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels in a healthy range is crucial not only for weight management, but for optimal health!

And many herbs and spices do double (triple, quadruple) duty keeping those levels in check.

It is also showing promise in the realm of metabolism and weight loss as this study demonstrates significant reduction in body fat and waistline measurements[10] above those shown from dietary interventions alone.

I love adding turmeric to stir-fries, curries, or making my own delicious golden milk! Pick up your turmeric powder here!

6. Cayenne

If you’re looking to add a little spice to your life and boost the fat burning capacity of your meals, look no further than cayenne pepper!

It contains a compound call capsaicin that increases thermogenesis[11] (that increased metabolic energy expenditure you saw above with ginger), which can help you achieve your weight loss goals in a healthy and delicious way. Add some spice to your life right here!

7. Black Pepper

Like cayenne, black pepper contains a powerful compound called piperine that can help improve your metabolism of fat and carbohydrate during exercise[12], making you a workout machine.

But the benefits don’t stop there!

It also increases the metabolic rate of muscles when they are at rest[13]! This is good news for those of us looking for a little extra support post gym workout.

Black pepper also aids in the absorption of turmeric, so make sure you combine these two spices as often as possible to reap the optimal rewards!

8. Cumin

I love putting cumin on and in everything from roasted sweet potatoes, to hummus & guacamole. From crackers to soups and curries!

This powerful spice improves insulin metabolism and can aid in weight loss efforts[14] just as much as certain pharmaceutical weight loss drugs!

9. Cardamom

Like most of the herbs you’ve read about today, cardamom has great anti-inflammatory benefits.[15]Keeping inflammation levels in the body under control has a huge impact on hormone balance, the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses, and contributes to the maintenance of a healthy weight, especially by reducing the likelihood of retaining water weight.

I adore the flavour of cardamom in baked goods and in turmeric lattes!

10. Honorable Non-Herbal Mention: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil makes the list not only because it can help reduce waist circumference[16] and aid in your liver’s ability to metabolize fats,[17] but also because it helps the absorption of many of the herbs and spices mentioned above, specifically the powerhouse of turmeric!

Metabolism Boosting Super Chickpea Curry

Super Chickpea Curry

I love the idea of combining lots of potent spices together and you may have noticed that many of these ones create the perfect base for delicious and nourishing curry.

So why not combine the power of coconut, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, cumin, and cardamom to make the super-charged, metabolism-boosting power meal below!

You can even pick up a bundle with cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon right here to get you started!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil (use more as needed)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (or 1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger root)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin or 2.5 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ½ head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 small sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 5 tomatoes, diced or 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can chickpeas, drained & rinsed *
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • splash of maple syrup

Directions

  1. Heat a medium sized saucepan over low-medium heat for 2 minutes.*
  2. Add coconut oil and all spices from cinnamon to black pepper, stirring to combine. Cover pot to toast spices while chopping the red onion.
  3. After 1 minute when spices become fragrant add red onion and garlic, stirring to coat. Recover and let cook while you chop the cauliflower and sweet potato.
  4. Continue adding cauliflower and sweet potato as chopped, stirring and recovering between additions.
  5. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, stock, and sea salt.
  6. Stir together, turn to high heat and bring to a boil.
  7. Once boiled reduce heat and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the better the flavour.
  8. Add splash of maple syrup and enjoy!

 

* You can also add diced chicken breasts and thighs to make this omnivorous.

* Feel free to add all ingredients to the crock-pot in the morning and cook on low to have a quick and easy dinner ready to go! To toast the spices: turn the crock-pot to high and add coconut oil and spices. Cover and let sit while you chop the rest of the veggies. Once all veggies are chopped add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and turn down to low.

 

[1] EGCG & Cholesterol: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27324590

[2] Green tea & Blood Sugar: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23803878

[3] Green tea & weight loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594224

[4] Ginseng & weight loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17995625

[5] Cinnamon & Blood sugar: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21480806

[6] Cinnamon & metabolic syndrome: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20513336

[7] Ginger & thermic effect: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538118

[8] Turmeric & depression: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26610378

[9] Turmeric & blood sugar: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28928074

[10] Turmeric & weight loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26592847

[11] Cayenne & weight loss: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/pr901175w?tokenDomain=presspac&tokenAccess=presspac&forwardService=showFullText&journalCode=jprobs

[12] Black pepper & exercise: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28680454

[13] Black pepper & metabolism: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27799519

[14] Cumin & weight loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25766448

[15] Cardamom & inflammation: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332216329535

[16] Coconut Oil & waist size: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26545671

[17] Coconut oil & liver metabolism: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23305031

 


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