Losing weight can be an exciting journey to become healthier and happier, but it can also be depressing and challenging at times.
When I gained 50 pounds from an anti-inflammatory medication I was taking for an autoimmune disease I supposedly had, I never felt more fat or more depressed. I remember standing in my walk-in closet on numerous occasions crying because nothing fit and I had to be somewhere.
Loving who you are—body and soul—is an essential to living your best life. We live in a culture that values being skinny, although times are changing to reflect the notion that all body types are powerful when loved and accepted.
No matter what your reasons for choosing to lose weight are, it can be helpful to have some help along the way. The weight loss industry is a $66 billion industry and people who want to shed pounds are often targeted with products that are unhelpful at best and harmful at worst.
With all the weight loss products on the market today, here are some evidence-based natural ingredients that can actually help. The following seven herbs could be helpful aides on your journey to shed pounds and live your best life!
Herbs That Help with Weight Loss
Are you ready to learn how completely natural plants can help you lose weight? These seven plants and herbs may just give you the boost you need to reach your goals!
Chili peppers naturally contain a compound called capsaicin that’s been shown to help support weight loss. But how?
Capsaicin can increase the number of calories that you burn daily, also called energy expenditure . Adding hot peppers to your diet as a supplement could help you burn more calories even if you don’t eat less.
Capsaicin is present in all types of hot peppers, but is more concentrated in hotter peppers such as chili peppers. You don’t need to supplement too much with this spice—simply adding a high-quality dried chili powder to your meals may be enough to help support your weight loss goals!
Fenugreek is actually a legume (in the same category as beans). The seeds of this plant can be used to season dishes when ground and are full of fiber as well as nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and protein.
Research shows eight grams or more of fenugreek fiber “significantly increased satiety,” suggesting that that fenugreek fiber can help you feel less hungry as you decrease your caloric intake .
Additional research shows that taking fenugreek seed extract decreased dietary fat consumption, leading to fewer total calories consumed over the course of a day .
How can you take fenugreek? While adding the spice to your dishes is great, there may be more potent ways to use the herb. Fenugreek is available to take in supplement form, a tincture form, or even a powder. Always consult with your natural healthcare professional before using quality supplements.
Green coffee is essentially coffee in its unroasted form, which is found in many weight-loss supplements. Green coffee has been shown to help decrease body weight even without adjustments to caloric intake .
It’s important to note that both black, traditionally roasted coffee and green coffee can help produce weight loss results, although if you’re sensitive to caffeine, black coffee may not be an option.
Does green coffee still contain caffeine? Yes, but not as much as black coffee. The ingredient in green coffee that’s suspected to aid weight loss is chlorogenic acid, which is high in green coffee. Taking a green coffee supplement along with reducing your caloric intake and participating in a healthy exercise regimen has the potential to help you lose weight!
Research shows that ginger can help reduce body weight, although using it in conjunction with your weight loss plan will be better than solely relying on the herb itself .
You can take ginger as a supplement or make it as a tea with fresh or dried ginger root. My herbalist actually has me drinking three cups of strong ginger tea every day for my dysmenorrhea, which I make from dried ginger root (one tablespoon for three cups of water boiled for ten minutes). When I don’t feel like drinking the tea, I take a high-quality ginger capsule from Gaia Herbs.
Ginger has a spiciness to it that people tend to love or hate, so depending on how much you like ginger, this may or may not be worth adding to your diet to help support weight loss. Just avoid candied ginger—a food that comes in packages as a snack—as it contains sugar and other additives that aren’t weight-loss friendly.
Studies show a “significant reduction in body weight” with caralluma fimbriate . But what exactly is this herb?
Caralluma fimbriata is actually a cactus (surprise!) that has a history of suppressing appetite. You can eat it raw in native cultures (it grows in India) but in the United States, it’s most commonly used in supplement form.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different and will react differently to certain herbs and supplements, so consult with your herbalist before taking this supplement to help with weight loss!
I am a HUGE cinnamon fan. Cinnamon not only tastes amazing and smells intoxicating, but has also been known to stabilize blood sugar, which has the potential to decrease appetite .
You can take cinnamon in capsule form, as well as sprinkling it on most foods that you eat (guilty!). You can also use cinnamon bark to make a tea, which I love doing, especially in the colder seasons. It’s also commonly present in teas such as chai blends.
Using cinnamon in conjunction with your new healthy lifestyle may just help you shed pounds!
Have you heard of brown algae? Brown algae is a type of seaweed that typically grows in colder waters. Brown algae contains a compound call fucoxanthin which has been shown to help support weight loss through dissipating excess white fat .
White fat and brown fat are different. Although both white and brown fat are important for the body, brown fat helps you to burn more calories, making it a potential ally on your weight loss journey. Excess white fat has been linked to chronic disease and even cancer.
Other research has shown that fucoxanthin combined with pomegranate seed oil among human test subjects resulted in “significant reduction of body weight” as well as waist circumference .
According to other research, fucoxanthin may be a “promising compound for cancer prevention”, so adding this supplement to your diet may have more benefits than just helping to burn calories .
How can you eat brown algae? You’ll most likely need to take this compound in supplement form, and again, always consult with your healthcare professional before taking!
Time to Start Losing Weight!
While herbs and plants can certainly help support weight loss, it’s important to remember that there’s no “magic” pill or supplement that can replace managing a healthy lifestyle.
This includes eating the right foods (and being tested for food intolerances if you’re having any adverse symptoms), exercising, and managing your mental health. External factors such as environment and stress can certainly impact your weight!
Supplements including herbs can have powerful impacts on the body, so don’t take their effects lightly. I always recommend working with a professional to determine if the supplement is right for you as well as the correct dosage that will be most effective (and no, a professional does not include people who work at the vitamin store!)
Talk to your herbalist, integrative health doctor, or other healthcare professional to determine if these herbs and spices can help you lose weight, and best of luck with your journey!
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