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13 natural plant extracts and spices that can help you lose weight

13 Natürliche Pflanzenextrakte und Gewürze, die Dir dabei helfen können, Gewicht zu verlieren

It's no secret that what you put on your plate plays a key role in weight loss. But what you have on your spice rack may be just as important.

Many spices and herbs have been shown to fight cravings, as well as accelerate fat burning and weight loss.

Here are some amazing (medicinal) herbs and spices that could help you lose weight.

Fenugreek / Fenugreek

Fenugreek - better known in the supplement industry by its English name Fenugreek, is a common household spice that comes from the Trigonella foenum-graecum, a plant that belongs to the legume family. The seeds of the plant are dried and ground and used as a spice.

Fenugreek contains soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, most of which is galactomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber (33). Fenugreek has been shown to have a number of health benefits due to its fiber content, including better blood sugar control, reduced cholesterol levels and better appetite control (1, 34, 35).

Several studies have found that fenugreek may help control appetite and reduce food intake to aid weight loss.

One of these studies, conducted with 18 subjects, showed that supplementation with 8 grams of fenugreek fiber per day increased satiety and reduced hunger and food intake compared to a placebo (1).

Another small study found that taking a fenugreek seed extract reduced daily fat intake by 17% compared to a placebo. This resulted in a lower number of calories consumed during the day (2).

In addition, a review of 12 randomized controlled trials concluded that fenugreek has blood sugar-lowering and cholesterol-lowering effects (36). Furthermore, studies show that fenugreek is safe and harmless and has minimal or no side effects (37).

Fenugreek works by, among other things, slowing gastric emptying and delaying carbohydrate and fat absorption in the digestive tract, resulting in a reduction in appetite and better blood sugar control.

Dosages range from 2 to 5 grams per day for whole fenugreek seeds and 500 to 1000 mg of fenugreek seed extract in capsule form per day.

Summary: Fenugreek is a plant rich in galactomannan fiber. Fenugreek has been shown to help reduce appetite and food intake, including slowing gastric emptying and delaying the absorption of carbohydrates and fat.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that is used to add a hot, spicy flavor to dishes. Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin, which gives this spice its characteristic heat and has numerous health benefits.

Some research shows that capsaicin can boost metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day (3, 4). In addition, capsaicin may reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

One small study found that taking capsaicin capsules increased satiety and reduced total calorie intake (5). Another study of 30 subjects showed that eating a meal containing capsaicin lowered ghrelin levels - the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger (6).

Summary: Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that contains capsaicin, which has been shown to increase metabolic rate and reduce hunger and calorie intake.

Ginger

Ginger is a spice made from the root stem of the ginger plant - Zingiber officinale. Ginger has long been used in traditional natural medicine to treat a wide range of conditions and some research suggests that ginger may also aid weight loss.

A review of 14 human studies showed that supplementation with ginger significantly reduced both body weight and abdominal fat (7).

Another review of 27 human, animal and test tube studies concluded that ginger may help reduce weight by increasing metabolic rate and fat burning, while reducing fat absorption and appetite (8).

Summary: Ginger, a spice also used in naturopathic medicine, may support weight loss by increasing metabolic rate and fat burning, while reducing fat absorption and appetite.

Oregano

Oregano is a hardy plant that belongs to the same family as mint, basil, thyme, rosemary and sage. Oregano contains carvacrol, a powerful compound that may help increase weight loss.

A study conducted on mice fed a high-fat diet containing either carvacrol or no carvacrol found that the mice fed carvacrol gained significantly less body weight and body fat than the mice in the control group. It has also been shown that carvacrol supplements can directly affect some of the genes and proteins that control fat synthesis in the body (9).

However, research on the effects of oregano and carvacrol on weight loss is very limited and further human studies are needed.

Summary: A study conducted in animals showed that the carvacrol contained in oregano could help reduce weight and fat gain by altering fat synthesis in the body. However, there are no human studies on the subject as yet.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a plant with health-promoting properties that plays an important role in traditional Chinese medicine. There are a number of different types of ginseng, including Korean, Chinese and American ginseng, which all belong to the same family of ginseng plants.

Many studies have suggested that ginseng may aid weight loss. One small study found that taking Korean ginseng twice daily for eight weeks resulted in quantifiable reductions in body weight, as well as changes in the composition of the gut flora (10).

A study conducted with animals also showed that ginseng can combat obesity by altering fat formation and delaying fat absorption in the gut (11).

However, further, larger human studies are needed to determine the full impact of ginseng on fat loss in humans.

Summary: Ginseng may stimulate weight loss, delay fat absorption and modify fat formation.

Caralluma Fimbriata

Caralluma Fimbriata is a plant that is used in many diet pills. This plant is believed to work by increasing serotonin levels - a neurotransmitter that directly influences appetite (12, 13).

A twelve-week study of 33 subjects found that study participants taking Caralluma fimbriata showed significantly greater reductions in abdominal fat and body fat than those in the control group (14).

Another small study showed that consumption of one gram of Caralluma Fimbriata daily for two weeks resulted in reductions in weight and hunger compared to a placebo (15).

Summary: Caralluma fimbriata is a plant that may help reduce appetite to stimulate weight loss.

Turmeric / Curcumin

Turmeric is a spice prized for its flavor, vibrant color and medicinal properties. Most of these health benefits are attributed to the presence of curcumin - a chemical that has been extensively studied for its effects on everything from inflammation to weight loss.

A study of 44 overweight individuals showed that taking curcumin twice a day for a month was effective in increasing fat loss, reducing abdominal fat and increasing weight loss by up to 5% (16).

A study conducted in animals found that supplementation with curcumin for 12 weeks reduced body weight and body fat in mice by blocking fat synthesis (17).

Summary: Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, which has been shown to support weight and fat loss.

Black pepper

Black pepper is a household spice made from the dried fruit of Piper nigrum. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which is responsible for both the strong flavor and the potential weight loss benefits of black pepper.

One study found that supplementation with piperine helped to reduce body weight in rats fed a high-fat diet without any change in food intake (18). A study conducted in a test tube showed that piperine was able to inhibit the formation of fat cells (13).

Unfortunately, scientific research is limited to test tube and animal studies, so further human studies are needed to make definitive statements about the effect in humans.

Summary: Black pepper contains piperine, which has been shown to reduce body weight and inhibit the formation of fat cells in test tubes and animals.

Gymnema sylvestre

Gymnema sylvestre is a plant that is best known for its anti-diabetic properties, but can also aid weight loss. Its active ingredients have been shown to reduce the perceived sweetness of food, thereby reducing cravings for sweets (20).

In addition, these ingredients can bind to sugar receptors in the gut and prevent the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This could help to maintain low blood sugar levels and prevent carbohydrates from being stored as fat (20). One study also showed that Gymnema Sylvestre blocked the digestion of fat and increased the excretion of fat (38).

One study showed that people who fasted and took Gymnema Sylvestre had less appetite and were more likely to limit their food intake than people who did not use this supplement (21).

A three-week study conducted with animals found that consuming Gymnema Sylvestre helped maintain body weight in rats fed a high-fat diet (22).

Gymnema Sylvestre should be consumed with food, as taking it on an empty stomach may cause slight stomach discomfort.

Summary: Gymnema sylvestre is a plant that is often used to reduce blood sugar. Studies conducted on humans and animals also show that it can promote weight loss by reducing appetite and food intake.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is an aromatic spice extracted from the inner bark of trees of the Cinnamomum genus. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. Some studies have also found that cinnamon may accelerate weight loss.

Cinnamon is particularly effective at stabilizing blood sugar levels, which may help reduce appetite and hunger (23). Studies show that a specific compound found in cinnamon may mimic the effects of insulin and help transport sugar from the bloodstream into cells for use as an energy source (24, 25).

Cinnamon may also reduce levels of certain digestive enzymes, slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates (26).

Although these effects could potentially reduce appetite and lead to weight loss, further research is needed on the direct effects of cinnamon on body weight.

Summary: Cinnamon is a spice that can lower blood sugar, which could lead to a reduction in appetite and hunger.

11. green coffee bean extract

Green coffee bean extract is found in many weight loss supplements. It is made from coffee beans that have not been roasted and are rich in chlorogenic acid, which is thought to be responsible for the potential weight loss benefits of this extract.

One study found that green coffee consumption reduced body mass index (BMI) and abdominal fat in 20 subjects without a change in calorie intake (27).

Another review of three studies concluded that green coffee bean extract could reduce body weight by an average of 2.5 kilos. However, the researchers noted that the quality and size of the available studies were limited (28). Further, higher quality studies are therefore needed to evaluate the effectiveness of green coffee bean extract in supporting weight loss.

Summary: Some research suggests that green coffee bean extract may help reduce body weight and abdominal fat.

12. cumin

Cumin is a spice made from the dried and ground seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant. Cumin is known for its distinctive flavor, but also has a variety of health benefits including the potential to accelerate weight loss and fat burning.

A small, three-month study found that women who consumed yogurt with 3 grams of cumin twice daily lost more body weight than the control group (29).

Another eight-week study observed that adults who took a cumin supplement three times a day lost 1 kilogram more than the study participants who received only a placebo (30).

Summary: Cumin is a widely used spice that has been shown to effectively reduce body weight and body fat.

13 Cardamom

Cardamom is a highly prized spice made from the seeds of a plant in the ginger family. This spice is used in both cooking and baking, but can also promote weight loss.

A study conducted on animals found that cardamom powder helped to reduce abdominal fat on a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet (31).

Another animal study showed that black cardamom in particular was effective in reducing abdominal fat and total body fat on a high-fat diet (32).

Unfortunately, most of the research that has looked at the fat loss potential of cardamom has been limited to animal studies, meaning that the effect in humans has yet to be investigated.

Summary: Cardamom is a spice that has been shown to reduce belly fat and body fat in animal studies. However, human studies are lacking.

How to use these spices and plant extracts safely

When used to flavor food, the herbs and spices described here can provide a boost in health benefits with minimal risk of side effects.

However, don't overdo it and stick to a maximum of one tablespoon (14 grams) per day and make sure to combine these spices with nutrient-rich, whole foods to further promote weight loss.

When using these herbs and spices in supplement form, it is important to adhere to the dosage recommendations of the respective product to avoid unwanted side effects.

In addition, people suffering from a medical condition or taking medication should discuss the use of these spices with their doctor, especially when using them in supplement form.

If undesirable side effects or symptoms of food allergies occur, it is strongly recommended that you stop using the spice or supplement in question and consult a doctor.

Conclusion

In addition to adding a flavor boost to your favorite foods, many herbs and spices have been shown to boost metabolism, increase fat burning and increase satiety.

Adding some variety to your spice cabinet is an easy way to boost your weight loss with minimal effort. Make sure you combine these herbs and spices with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to get the most out of your weight loss.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19353539
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19809809
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21093467
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15611784
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15611784
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695870/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29393665
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2919341
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21447440
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986624/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978305/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22191633
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25217810
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23642949
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17097761
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26592847
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19297423
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113382/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22463744
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24166097
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6836034
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11411567/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19930003
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11506060
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9762007
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2153814
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4123567/
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943088/
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25456022
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25766448
  31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5557534/
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586555/
  33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21861724
  34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26251835
  35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17313713/
  36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27496582
  37. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24102093/
  38. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11411552/

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/weight-loss-herbs

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