Spice Up Your Metabolism

There is no magic pill or food that can make up for a poor diet or a lack of exercise. However, some spices and herbs can help you to lose weight. Here’re my top three:

#1 Cinnamon

“Cinnamon is a super-food that lowers cholesterol and is anti-cancerous”. Hannah Bronfman

Cinnamon is not only my favorite spice; I like it so much, I named my dog after it.

The usage of Cinnamon dates back to 2000 BC. It is made from the inner bark of trees from the Cinnamomum genus. There are two types of Cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia.

The popular spice includes many health-boosting nutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin C

The health benefits of cinnamon

Cinnamon contains many phytochemicals, which have potent anti-inflammatory effects.

According to a study by the Department of Human Nutrition of the NWFP Agricultural University, the intake of 1–6 grams of cinnamon per day can reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol and thus may be helpful in preventing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Cinnamon also helps with diarrhea, nausea, fungal infections, weight loss, and uterine hemorrhaging.

In Chinese Medicine, cinnamon is used to warm the body, help to fight colds, and alleviate pain.

Why can cinnamon help you to lose weight?

  • Cinnamon can help to slow down the breakdown of foods, which can decrease appetite and hunger.
  • Cinnamon also seems to help the body to use carbohydrates for energy. (1)
  • While taking cinnamon supplements doesn’t give you a Card Blanche for eating sugary foods, it can help to prevent blood sugar spikes.

How can you bring more cinnamon into your life?

One easy way is to add cinnamon to hot drinks (coffee or tea). I also mix it in smoothies, protein shakes, and yogurt.

However, the sugar content of cinnamon rolls will negate the health benefits of this “Super Spice.”

You can also buy cinnamon supplements, but please consult with your doctor before taking adding them to your diet because cinnamon can decrease the effects of certain drugs and cause liver damage.

#3 Ginger

“Everything good is found in ginger.”
Indian Proverb

Ginger has been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries and belongs to the same spice family as turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

It contains many healthy nutrients such as:

  • Amino acids
  • Calcium
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C

Health benefits of ginger

According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, ginger can help to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

Other studies have shown that the consumption of ginger (tea) can help to decrease muscle pain and prevent migraines.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), ginger is used to treat atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, nausea, headaches, and colds.

In Indiaginger is called “Vishwabheshaja” (the universal medicine) and is used for digestive, respiratory, and circulatory disorders.

Why can ginger help you to lose weight?

  • Like cinnamon, ginger can help to stabilize blood sugar and thus prevents over-eating.
  • Apart from that, ginger aids digestion and can help to flush out toxins.
  • Ginger also improves liver function, which is crucial for a healthy metabolism.
  • Research showed that ginger supplementation can help to reduce body weight waist-to-hip-ratio, and fasting glucose. (2)  

#3 Turmeric

Turmeric is the powerhouse of spices. It contains many healthy nutrients, including:

  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

Turmeric is also rich in phytochemicals (plant components). The most active is called curcumin. Curcumin fights free radicals, aids circulation, supports liver detox, and lowers cholesterol. It is also anti-inflammatory and has antibiotic properties.

Why can Turmeric help you to lose weight?

  • The curcumin found in turmeric can help to manage inflammation, which is linked to weight gain and decreased gut health. (3) (4)
  • A study with overweight individuals showed that supplementation with curcumin can increase weight loss results by almost 5%. The participants also demonstrated a significant reduction in body fat and BMI. (5)

Recipe for my morning metabolism booster*:

1/4 teaspoon of organic ginger

1/4 teaspoon of organic cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric with black pepper

1 teaspoon of matcha. I use the Organic Liver Detox Tea Powder (link below)

1 table spoon of a green drink powder. I use Barlean’s Greens (link below)

Sources:

(1) Jarvill-Taylor KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ. A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001;20(4):327-336. doi:10.1080/07315724.2001.10719053

(2) Maharlouei N, Tabrizi R, Lankarani KB, et al. The effects of ginger intake on weight loss and metabolic profiles among overweight and obese subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(11):1753-1766. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1427044

(3) Saad MJ, Santos A, Prada PO. Linking Gut Microbiota and Inflammation to Obesity and Insulin Resistance. Physiology (Bethesda). 2016;31(4):283-293. doi:10.1152/physiol.00041.2015

(4) Dixit K, Kamath DV, Alluri KV, Davis BA. Efficacy of a novel herbal formulation for weight loss demonstrated in a 16-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with healthy overweight adults. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2018;20(11):2633-2641. doi:10.1111/dom.13443

(5) Di Pierro F, Bressan A, Ranaldi D, Rapacioli G, Giacomelli L, Bertuccioli A. Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015;19(21):4195-4202.

*PLEASE always check in with your health care provider before making changes to your diet or taking supplements. Especially when you’re suffering form any chronic condition or are on medication.

Interested in more weight loss or health hacks?

Change your life within the next 4 weeks: Kaizen Up Your Life by Rike Aprea and Sush Prusty, M.D. provides you 28 days of inspiration for a healthier, happier life. FREE for Kindle Unlimited Members or $3.29 without membership.

In good health,
Rike

Rike Aprea

My name is Friederike Aprea. Most people call me Rike. I'm German-born and have lived and worked in Japan and Korea before I moved to the US. I coach individuals and companies using the principles of Kaizen. Whether you want to live a more purpose-driven life, improve your health, or change the business model of your company: Kaizen can get you there. Step by step. Day by day.

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