Belly fat, aargh! This has been a life long problem. So many of us have it, so many of us don’t like it, so how do you get rid of it?
Good question, there are so many “remedies” out there. Supplements that supposedly will burn that stubborn fat, diets made up of disgusting inedible processed food, meal replacement shakes, but what really works? It has to be something you can sustain for the rest of your life. That is why diets don’t work. They’re just not realistic!
I’ve struggled with belly fat all my life and as I get older, I’m beginning to accept the fact that it’s just going to stay! There are so any claims out there to help you lost belly fat. There is no little pill that will do it, if there was, everybody would be skinny! The secret is to watch portions and eat healthy, whole foods. Stay away from processed foods. Herbs and spices that help you lose belly fat will, if nothing else, make your meals more enjoyable even if you’re trying to lose a few pounds!
I’ve compiled a short list of spices and herbs and some tips on working them into your daily meals.
Daily herbs and spices to include in your meals:
- There are so many good things that I can say about ginger, I’m just going to start babbling because it is a wonder spice. It is so good for you! First off, ginger has the same thermogenic effect that turmeric and cayenne have where it helps to speed up your metabolism. It is another warm spice and it also has a nice spicy kick. If you’ve never cut open a fresh ginger root, you’re in for a surprise. It smells just like ginger ale, this might sound like, duh, really? but it’s kind of amazing to actually smell what ginger ale tastes like. I guess you have to try it to see what I mean! Ginger can also help control blood sugar when eaten with a meal high in carbs.
- Ginger can be used in so many ways, grated into oatmeal with turmeric and cinnamon, you have a super food breakfast!
- Grate it into a smoothie with pineapple and mango, use it in stir fries. As part of the Asian trifecta or sofrito, along with garlic and scallion or chilies. Make tea with it to soothe an upset tummy, add a little honey, add it to salad dressings for an Asian flair. I can keep going, but I am going to devote an entire post to ginger because there are so many things you can do with it.
- Turmeric is the bright yellow spice that turns anything it is mixed with a pretty yellow color. It can be used to dye fabric or easter eggs. I try to incorporate turmeric into my diet as much as I can.
- I was very excited when I found fresh turmeric in my grocery store. Keep a bag of tubers in the freezer. Use them to make tea and grate them into a recipe with my microplane.
- Turmeric is one of the warming spices in that it increases body heat, which boosts metabolism. Turmeric has been shown to fight inflammation, which is the problem we all have as we age.
- I like to make Golden Milk with turmeric, it is yummy, and warm, much better for you than hot chocolate on a cold day, or before bed. I’ve been experimenting with adding turmeric to baked goods, recipes to follow.
Cinnamon is truly my favorite spice. My mouth waters at the thought of coffee cake with yummy cinnamon streusel all throughout and on top of it. Apple pie, and my old stand by, Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon tea. I always have some in my fridge.
- A really easy and healthy snack is to sprinkle cinnamon on sliced apples, it tastes like apple pie, without any extra fat and sugar. You really gotta try it!
- Cinnamon has been shown to balance blood sugar, curb cravings and help you to feel full longer. Cinnamon is fun to add to a spice rub for pork roasts and you can also add it to marinades for steak.
Cardamom also has thermogenic properties. It helps to boost your body temperature and metabolism.
- Use cardamom to make a tea, add it to an apple pie, put it in your next yellow rice dish.
- Try it in banana bread, or add it to marinades for red meat. Make yourself a homemade curry spice blend or try my chai tea, it’s a super food recipe!
- Garlic can helps to boost energy levels and burn calories. It is known to boost your metabolism, and also to suppress appetite. It may also helps to keep your digestive system working properly.
- Garlic is most effective when eaten raw, so add it to salad dressings, guacamole, or try my delicious Bruschetta. One of our favorite summer recipes!
- If you don’t like garlic breath, add apples to a salad with garlicky dressing. Chew on a couple sprigs of parsley or a wedge of lemon. The enzymes make garlic breath disappear! Apples have the same enzyme. Have a sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon and a cup of green tea for dessert after a heavy meal with garlic.
Black Pepper works synergistically with turmeric and cinnamon to allow your body to absorb the nutrients from them. By itself it boosts your metabolism, but just think about what these spices can do together!
- Check out my post on black pepper. Learn about its history and why it is so popular. It is one of the important spices that grew the spice trade throughout the world.
I’ll admit, this is not my favorite spice, but I don’t hate it. I find it a bit harsh on the tongue, and don’t get me wrong, I love my food spicy, I just prefer the fruitier chili’s. And it’s really easy to over do it because it’s ground so fine.
- Cayenne is a warming spice like turmeric, but cayenne gives you a much bigger punch in the metabolism arena. You don’t have to burn your taste buds out to get the benefits though, try sprinkling it on different items you have throughout the day.
- A little in your homemade salad dressing, scrambled eggs or fritatta, or soup will all give you a boost.
- Ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginseng is high in antioxidants, will helps to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and help with brain function. It may stimulate weight loss, delay fat absorption and modify fat formation in the body. Most often found in tea form, you can buy ginseng root to make delicious recipes. If you live in the right climate, you can grow it in your back yard!
- Though ginseng is not a really strong flavor enhancer like other spices, it does lend an earthy flavor to your food. Korean Ginseng Chicken and Rice Soup is delicious, and so good for you! It will definitely make you feel better, both in body and mind.
Oregano is a perennial herb that contains carvacrol. Oregano is very easy to grow in your garden and comes back every year. Oregano is one of the first plants to start to sprout in my garden in the spring! Animal studies have shown that carvacrol may help you to lose weight and slow fat gain by altering fat synthesis within the body. Although is hasn’t been tested in humans yet, it is a tasty addition to many dishes easily made in your own kitchen.
- Most familiar is spaghetti sauce, but you can also sprinkle it into soups, add to salad dressings, sprinkle fresh oregano onto pizza, and add it to meat marinades.
The little seed of cumin contain enzymes which helps to breakdown foods and aid in digestion. This can counteract a meal heavy in fats and carbs. Cumin also contains important nutrients such as iron and copper, which are needed for healthy red blood cells. One teaspoon of cumin seeds provides ~3mg of your daily iron intake (that’s 20% of daily iron intake for women and 34% for men).
- Add up to one teaspoon of cumin to your meals each day and possibly burn up to three times more body fat! If you like tacos and curry, this is not a hard addition to make, and if you already eat these foods regularly, you’re there! Try something different next time you make your soups, stews, and dressings, add cumin. Add it to dips to stir-fries, rubs, and marinades.
- Make Jeera water to aid digestion. This is a strong detoxifier, but if you drink it regularly, your body will get used to it. (As with any detox, you will pee a lot the first couple of days). Drink lots of water until your body adjusts, as you don’t want to get dehydrated as the Jeera flushes toxins out of the body.
- Here’s how to make it:
- Jeera Water, makes 2 servings
- Bring water and cumin seeds to a boil in a saucepan. Turn down heat and simmer 1-2 minutes.
- Shut off heat, and steep for about 5 minutes.
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- Strain into 2 cups. Add honey while warm if desired, stir until dissolved.
- Drink on an empty stomach in the morning.
I’m going to add green tea to the list because I’d like to think of it as a spice. It also has thermogenic effects, is high in antioxidants, so it can boost your metabolism too!
- Adding it as your beverage of choice, you’re way ahead of the game!
- Cook with it, clean with it, it’s got so many uses besides a delicious, healthy beverage!
- See my ideas here!
As always, when trying to lose weight, the best way is to change your way of thinking. Don’t think of it as a diet, but a life style change. Just a few changes in your daily routines and meals like adding delicious herbs and spices will take your mind off the fact that you are eating healthy!
A few added tips for healthy weight loss:
Be sure also to include soluble fiber in every meal, (dried beans, oats, oat bran, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas, and potatoes). Make sure you eat enough protein. Watch your portions, and limit snacks to fruits and nuts. Nuts have “good” fat. Last, drink plenty of water, it helps your body function properly and flushes out the toxins.
If you have any ideas for incorporating spices and herbs in your diet, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your ideas! Thanks, Jeanette