There’s a longstanding myth that dieting and delicious food are mutually exclusive. That to lose weight you have to choke down boring, bland food. But I’m here to tell you that it’s simply not true.
What IS true is that your kitchen can be the most powerful weapon in your effort to shed the extra weight for good.
But you don’t have to suffer through meals that taste like cardboard to make that happen. And you won’t get there by stocking your pantry with “diet” this or “lite” that, either.
Good nutrition requires cooking fresh, whole food from scratch. And don’t forget to go heavy on the spices. Because it turns out, they could be the key not only to fixing delicious meals but to turbocharging your weight loss too.
Boost metabolism with your spice rack
Following are five of the best spices to light a fire under your sluggish metabolism.
1. Chili powder:
Hot peppers can boost metabolism—which probably comes as no surprise. But what may shock you is just how powerful their effect can be. That’s because they’re loaded with capsaicin—the compound that gives cayenne, jalapenos, and other peppers their heat.
But that’s not all capsaicin does: Research shows that it also enhances the expression of adiponectin—a hormone tasked with regulating appetite, fat storage, insulin release, and inflammation. Lean people have higher levels of this critical hormone. And as a result, they’re less hungry—and better able to burn both carbs and stored fat—because of it.
There’s little that this potent yellow spice can’t do from fighting inflammation to boosting brain health. But it turns out weight management is one of turmeric’s many impressive talents.
You can credit curcumin for this fat-burning benefit. It’s turmeric’s powerful active compound. And like capsaicin, it boosts adiponectin—while battling obesity-fueling inflammation throughout your whole body.
The end result, as studies show, isn’t just a slimmer waistline—but higher insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar and cholesterol, too.
You won’t find a tastier natural blood sugar buster than cinnamon. Or a more powerful one: Extensive clinical research supports its ability to drive down fasting glucose levels in diabetics and prediabetics. And given the key role that metabolic dysfunction plays in obesity, it goes without saying that this kitchen staple is a critical ace to have up your sleeve when you’re struggling to lose weight.
Experts believe cinnamaldehyde, a chemical that gives cinnamon its flavor, could be behind the spice’s ability to help us slim down. Cinnamaldehyde appears to be able to help fat cells burn energy. Plus a metareview found that cinnamon in food causes slower stomach emptying which could help you feel full longer and reduce overeating.
Nothing warms you up like a hearty helping of ginger—and I mean that quite literally. As part of a recent pilot study, researchers gave overweight men two grams (about half a teaspoon) of ginger powder dissolved in hot water with breakfast.
The ginger tea boosted the amount of energy the volunteer’s bodies burned during digestion. Which means it could boost metabolism in you too. And just as importantly, it curbed their hunger pangs and made them feel fuller longer. And that translated into eating less at mealtimes.
5. Mustard seed:
In the war against obesity, mustard beats ketchup hands down. And not just because the red stuff is loaded with sugar. A small study of healthy young men showed that the addition of half a teaspoon of mustard seed in a carb-heavy meal sent the guy’s post-meal blood sugar plummeting.
And in an earlier Oxford study, researchers found a teaspoon of mustard could boost metabolism by 25 percent for a couple of hours after eating. Experts credit capsaicin and isothiocyanates for its metabolism-boosting benefits.