Do Spicy Foods Help You Lose Weight? 9 Powerful Spices

Spices not only make your foods palatable but they are also effective in improving your body's ability to burn fat. The simple reason is they have thermogenic properties, meaning they have the capability of increasing your body's temperature hence speeding your metabolism. A faster metabolic rate promotes faster weight loss. Spices are also natural appetite suppressants and can reduce the absorption of fat by your intestines. Eating at least one spicy dish every week can be beneficial for weight loss and health. There are many spices which can help you lose weight. Here are 9 powerful spices.

(1) Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper also known as the Guinea pepper or bird pepper is a red hot chili pepper which is used in various cuisines in the following forms notably fresh, dried, powdered or dried flakes. Cayenne pepper is abundant in capsaicin, an alkaloid which has the ability to speed up your metabolism by raising your body's heat. In doing so, your fat burning furnace is set on fire allowing you to burn more calories. Capsaicin is also known to have cancer-fighting properties. A great way I like using cayenne pepper is in Paella, which is one of my favorite spicy foods. I use cayenne pepper flakes and only a dash is enough to add some heat. If you don't know, Paella is a Spanish rice dish which is full of aroma and flavor since it uses an array of spices like cumin, saffron, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder. Other spicy peppers include Jalapenos, Habaneros, Chile de arbol and Rocoto.

(2) Ginger

Ginger is a natural diuretic and can help your digestion and prevent bloating. When your foods are digested effectively, you're less likely to store fat. In addition, ginger can impede cholesterol absorption. Ginger intake naturally heats up your body and kicks your metabolism into high gear making you burn calories more efficiently. Using fresh grated ginger in steamed fish is a great way to eat ginger or boiling ginger along with sweet potatoes. Some people call it the sweet potato ginger soup which really heats up your body.

(3) Saffron

Although it does not have a direct effect on fat loss, saffron is a powerful appetite suppressant which can regulate and control your food intake. By curbing your appetite, saffron prevents overeating making you less prone for fat storage. Saffron is loaded with antioxidants which can boost your immune system. Some creative ways to use saffron is to add it in your rice, sauces, stews and soups.

(4) Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular Indian spice which has a deep orange-yellow color and it's commonly used in curries. It contains an active ingredient called curcumin which has an earthy and mustardy smell, slightly hot peppery aroma and a bit bitter. Turmeric can facilitate digestion and boost your metabolic function which can break down fat deposits. Rich in antioxidants, it can also cleanse your liver from toxins and impurities.

(5) Cumin

Cumin is a popular spice which can be used ground or as whole seeds. Whole seeds cumin is commonly used in the Biryani dish while ground cumin can be used in spicy foods such as Paella and Chili Con Carne. In India, cumin is actively used in popular spicy dishes like masalas and kormas. This wonderful spice adds great aroma and taste to your dishes. Just like its cousin Turmeric, it aids digestion, stimulates metabolic activity and helps torch fats.

(6) Black Pepper

What's the best way to instantly spice up your dish than adding a few sprinkles of hot and freshly ground black peppercorns? Black pepper makes foods palatable and its active compound "piperine" is a powerful ingredient which triggers your fat burning metabolism and makes it last hours after consumption increasing your ability to burn more calories. Black pepper also enables your body to absorb more nutrients from food by aiding digestion.

(7) Paprika

Paprika is a wonderful spice used in various cuisines around the world including Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Netherlands and Morocco. It is mostly used to color rice, stews, soups like goulash for instance and in the preparation of sausages. Paprika is obtained by milling the dried fruits of Capsicum Annuum ie bell peppers and chili peppers. It's usually sweet in flavor which is rather mild(not hot) but you also have spicier varieties which is hotter. Paprika is rich in antioxidants notably vitamin C which is quite unusual. Given that paprika is a storehouse of vitamin C, it helps maintain a healthy immune system and it's also effective in revving up your metabolism which speeds up your fat burning process.

(8) Garlic

Although not traditionally a spice but rather a vegetable if used fresh, garlic is a widely used ingredient in the Chinese cuisine because it adds intense flavor and aroma to dishes due to its pungent smell. In powdered form, garlic is considered a spice. Apart making dishes palatable, garlic is beneficial for weight loss and general health like reducing bad cholesterol levels and acting like a natural antibiotic. The active compound Allicin found in garlic is a natural appetite suppressant and helps keep cravings at bay. Garlic also stimulates the nervous system resulting in the release of Epinephrine commonly known as adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone and a neurotransmitter and has several bodily functions including heart regulation and metabolic activity. It can actually trigger a release of catecholamines which stimulate your fat metabolism resulting in more calories burned.

(9) Onions

Although not considered a spice but rather a vegetable if used fresh, I add onions because they can definitely spice up any dish adding great flavor and aroma. Same as garlic, onions is a staple food in Chinese cuisine and both belong to the Lily family of plants. In powdered form, onion is considered a spice.

Onions can foster weight loss due to its natural compound called chromium. Chromium is a vital nutrient which can play an active role in maintaining stable blood sugar levels thereby limiting fat storage of excess glucose/sugar notably in your waistline. This has the effect of making you feel more energetic throughout the day and abstain from food cravings. Chromium has also a positive effect on insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when your cells are insensitive to insulin making it difficult for the glucose to be used up as energy and leaving it circulating in your bloodstream. Insulin resistance promotes weight gain and obesity as it leads to increased fat storage and it's also a precursor to diabetes and other health issues.

Spices on its own won't deliver miracle results to your weight loss aspirations. You still need to have a proper nutrition program and workout routine in place, but adding spices in your meals can definitely contribute to your overall weight loss efforts as well as offering many health benefits.

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