If you’re one of us who has gained the proverbial Quarantine 15 (pounds), you are not alone. Studies show as we were confined to home a lot of the time, we snacked more, we moved less, we got anxious – all things that contribute to gaining weight.
As vaccinations become more widespread and people start to get about more, you might be looking for any avenue that will help you lose weight. You know the tried and true methods: exercise more, eat fewer carbs, maybe even try intermittent fasting. But while you are trying those, you might also try a few key herbs to help speed up your process. The list of possible helpers is considerable.
Green Tea – Clinical trials show green tea boosts weight loss, both through its caffeine content and an antioxidant flavonoid called catechin (sometimes known as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG). Be aware that most studies used supplements containing a higher amount of ECGC than found in cups of tea, so finding a quality capsule or tablet is probably your best choice. (Interesting to note that green tea also has been found to be beneficial for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.)
Oolong Tea – A Japanese study found drinking two cups of strong oolong tea daily increased fat breakdown by about 20% in healthy volunteers, and that the effect continued while participants slept. Researchers suspect the effect comes not just from the caffeine (participants had 100 mg. daily), but also from the tea’s catechins.
Green Coffee Bean Extract – Found in many weight-loss supplements, this extract comes from coffee beans that have not been roasted. High in chlorogenic acid, which may account for its weight-loss properties, studies found it reduces body mass index and belly fat.
Ginger – This common spice has several human studies showing significant weight loss and decreased belly fat. Researchers believe it may do so by increasing metabolism and fat burning, while decreasing fat absorption and appetite.
Cayenne – This chili pepper contains capsaicin, which delivers both heat and human health benefits. Capsaicin slightly boost metabolism, increasing the calories you burn. Other studies show it can increase feelings of fullness and decrease levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.
Cinnamon – Rich in antioxidants, this spice is now well known for its ability to stabilize blood sugar and slow food absorption. It may also reduce appetite and hunger. In addition, cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity. Studies used a 3-6 grams daily dose, so it might be easier to use supplements instead of powder.
Cumin – A member of the parsley family, cumin has human trials showing it contributes to weight loss. In a study of overweight women, just one teaspoon of cumin added to one meal daily increased fat-burning by three times the normal rate. In an another study, overweight subjects were fed a cumin capsule three times daily for eight weeks and lost 2.2 pounds more than those who took placebo.
Garcina – Usually found in weight-loss supplements, this berry works as an appetite suppressant and may inhibit the body from storing fats. Garcinia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which blocks an enzyme that converts carbohydrates into body fat.
Gymnema Sylvestre – This herb is well known for its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. It contains gymnemic acid, which can help reduce perceived sweetness of foods and help minimize sugar cravings. Human studies show it can reduce appetite and food intake. Animal studies show it helped maintain normal weight in participants fed a high-fat diet.
Black Pepper – This common spice contains piperine, the compound that delivers heat and health benefits. Animal studies show piperine inhibits fat cell formation.
Cardamom – A member of the ginger family, cardamom is another spice that may help with weight loss. Animal studies show it can reduce belly fat in those fed a high-fat, high-carb diets.