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Are you using the wonderful array of herbs and spices at your disposal for cooking? If not, you should be! First and foremost, they’ll help make your home cooked food taste amazing which in turn helps you enjoy your meals and feel satiated more quickly. Enjoyment of your food is crucial if you’re on a path to weight loss, because it keeps you from that feeling of being ‘deprived’ of good-tasting foods. Herbs and spices have absolutely no calories, and they’ll make all the difference in the flavor of your food. Learning about and experimenting with new spices is a great way to bring new life to your cooking, and keep things interesting in the kitchen.
Many herbs and spices have been known for centuries to possess special medicinal and healing capabilities. But, more recently, research has begun to show that many herbs and spices also help you to lose weight – in a big way! These spices have thermogenic properties which create heat in the body, ramp up energy expenditure and stimulate the nervous system, all of which combine to help spark weight loss.
Here are 5 spices with outstanding health and weight loss benefits. Give them a try in your kitchen!
Cayenne pepper and most other spicy peppers including habaneros, jalapenos, serranos and even green bell peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin. The spices cumin and turmeric also contain capsaicin. Capsaicin has a wide variety of health benefits including lowering cholesterol, reducing risk of blood clots, promoting healthy digestion and antioxidant benefits. Capsaicin also helps suppress appetite and increases metabolism, causing the body to burn more calories. Recent studies have shown that capsaicin may trigger protein change in the body that cause weight loss and fight fat storage. Cayenne and other capsaicin containing peppers can be added to just about any recipe to give it a spicy kick!
Cinnamon’s health benefits include lowering blood sugar, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels as well as creating healthier arteries and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies show that cinnamon can also boost metabolism and increase insulin levels, lowering the chance of pre-diabetes. Cinnamon aids in weight loss by increasing insulin sensitivity, thereby preventing fat storage. It also helps you feel satisfied for longer and eat less over time. As little as one teaspoon of cinnamon per day can reduce blood sugar and promote healthier processing of carbohydrates. However, don’t go overboard with cinnamon. It also contains a chemical called coumarin which can lead to liver damage if consumed in large amounts. To incorporate more cinnamon into your diet, sprinkle it on fruits or in your coffee, or on your morning oatmeal or toast.
Black Pepper contains a natural chemical called piperine which helps improve digestion, burn fat and actually even burn calories faster. Research from the University of Oklahoma shows that black pepper can burn as many calories as walking for 20 minutes. Pepper can boost fat metabolism by up to 8% for several hours after ingesting it. Freshly ground pepper has the highest concentration of piperine, so if you don’t already use a pepper grinder, go out and get one. Black pepper makes just about everything taste better, so throw a little into each of the meals you cook at home!
Mustard seeds contain a whole host of important minerals including manganese, magnesium, niacin, zinc, iron and phosphorus. They also contain selenium, which can help with weight loss. Mustard can speed up metabolism by almost 25% for several hours after eating, resulting in additional calorie burn. To give you a sense, this would result in an additional burn of about 45 calories if a 700-calorie meal is consumed. Ground mustard seed can be used to spice up meat or veggies, or spread some good Dijon mustard onto your sandwich!
Ginger has multiple incredible health benefits. It’s fantastic for immune support, helping you stave of cold and flu. It also greatly improves digestion and can soothe an upset stomach. Research has also found that it hinders cholesterol absorption, offering heart health benefits as well. In terms of weight loss, ginger can suppress appetite, aid digestion, remove toxins from the body and raise the body’s temperature to boost metabolism. You can use ginger in lots of great Asian food recipes, but you can also make a great tea using ginger, lemon and a bit of honey.
At Athlean-XX for Women, we believe that quality nutrition is key – not only to weight loss but to overall health. It’s important to get all the right nutrients to support a healthy immune system and overall lifestyle. Our nutrition plan recommends combining lean proteins, tasty fruits and veggies, healthy fats and slow-burning carbohydrates at every meal and snack to help keep you feeling full. In fact, the Athlean-XX for Women nutrition plan is anything but a diet – we actually recommend you eat more – 5 – 6 times per day! This type of diet will help turn your metabolism into a fat burning machine – when combined with our killer 30 minute workouts. Yes, with Athlean-XX for Women, eat more, exercise shorter but harder and weigh less! Join us on Team Athlean to start your lifestyle makeover now!
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