Let’s be realistic: there’s no silver bullet for weight loss. It feels like every other week, a new quick-fix comes out that promises to leave us beach-ready in a few short weeks. But the truth is that daily exercise and a healthy diet are still our best friends for getting fit. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few herbal helpers hiding in our pantries, just waiting to give us an extra little boost. Let’s take a look at which unassuming pantry staples can jumpstart your metabolism, how they work, and – most importantly – how much you need to consume each day to complement your healthy lifestyle!
There’s not much that a humble mug of green tea can’t do, from boosted immunity to clearer skin. But there’s been a lot of debate on whether or not green tea can help with unwanted body fat. It was once believed that it increased overall metabolic rate, but more recent studies suggest that green tea works in a whole different way.
It’s the potent mix of caffeine and catechins that is believed to give green tea its edge over coffee when it comes to weight loss. Instead of increasing overall metabolic rate, we now know that green tea tells the body to preferentially burn fat, without affecting blood glucose levels. What does that mean? That adding a green tea to an unhealthy diet won’t do anything, but that if you’re already on a low-calorie diet and add it in, you’re sending a signal to your body that says “Hey! Let’s use up some of those fat stores today!”
The Verdict: I recommend three or four cups daily to really see the effect.
The good news is in, and your peppers may not have to be burning hot to give you a metabolic kick-start! Capsaicin, the molecule that gives some peppers their heat, is the main focus when people talk about weight loss, but recently it’s been discovered that capsaicin has a cooler (but just as effective) cousin: dihydrocapsiate. So even if you don’t like it hot, you can still get in on the action!
The Verdict: Pick your favorite peppers and eat them with any meal that you can!
Like green tea, ginger has long been thought to simply warm the body and in turn increase metabolism. But more recently, small studies suggest that ginger actually prevents the storage of fat.
The Verdict: Do what I do and place a few slices of ginger in your water bottle each time you refill. Or if you really want to go all out, make an iced green tea, add your ginger and a pinch of cayenne and you have the perfect natural pre-workout fat burner. And all from things you’ve already got in the kitchen!
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