spicesSpices add flavor and complexity to food as well as an impressive dose of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and medicinal qualities. Better yet, they can boost your energy levels while helping you shed unwanted pounds. Several of the tastiest culinary spices are also associated with improving metabolism — a key to successful long-term weight loss. Be generous when you spice your food and you may notice your waistline diminishing.

Amplify Your Weight Loss

By spicing your food, you can support your entire body with smart nutrition. Spices and herbs often contain more antioxidants than foods do; for example, oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples. Cloves, a common spice added to soups, curries and meats, are actually one of the richest known sources of concentrated antioxidants in the plant world.

Research has suggested that spicy food creates a quicker sense of satiety, resulting in less caloric intake. The compounds in spices can thus be a potent ally in appetite control — another requirement for successful weight loss.

Introducing 5 Skinny Herbs

To add spice to your life and spring to your step, start with these herbs that are well-documented to raise the metabolism. Starting off the day with spice can spike your metabolism and help control your appetite. Be creative by adding these spices not only to your dinners, but to your breakfasts as well.

1. Cayenne Pepper

Famous for adding heat to dishes around the world, cayenne pepper is fueled by capsaicin. Capsaicin is a compound that creates the warmth of pepper. Because it creates heat, capsaicin is known as a thermogenic compound. Thermogenic compounds can fight obesity by decreasing appetite and by shrinking fat tissue. Capsaicin can boost metabolism by up to five percent over the course of a day, which can contribute to steady long-term weight loss. Cayenne pairs wonderfully with Mexican sauces, Thai noodle dishes and even plain rice.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is the main ingredient in most curries and adds a distinctive yellow-orange hue to food. A key medicinal compound in turmeric is curcumin, which has been extensively studied. The established benefits of curcumin include its ability to reduce the formation of fat tissue by cutting off blood flow to fat cells. This remarkable property of curcumin can lead to more successful weight loss and has even been correlated with preventing certain types of diabetes. Turmeric makes an excellent base for slow-cooked meat dishes, complementing the robust taste of lamb and lean beef.

3. Black Pepper

This staple of the dinner table harbors remarkable metabolism-boosting qualities. A substance called piperine gives black pepper its distinctive pungent flavor. Piperine can also block the body from forming new fat cells. Black pepper is especially effective in weight-loss efforts when combined with cayenne pepper and turmeric. To slim down, don’t pass on the pepper. Black pepper is excellent when freshly ground on soups and salads

4. Mustard

The mustard plant is actually a vegetable in the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Mustard seeds have been proven to increase the resting metabolic rate by up to 25 percent, helping to burn calories efficiently. Mustard seeds are generally ground up and added to soups or made into a paste with vinegar. For most individuals, just 3/5 of a teaspoon of mustard seeds a day can result in burning an additional 45 calories an hour.

5. Ginger

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe and relax the intestinal tract, assisting in digestion and assimilation. A healthy digestive system is the foundation for any long-term weight loss success, so ginger plays a potentially profound role in weight management. The spice makes an excellent tea to sip between meals and can also be added to curries and other spicy dishes. Ginger can even be consumed as a delicious crystalline candy for a sweet treat that won’t derail your diet.

About the Author: Priscilla Holland is a freelance writer and blogger interested in health, exercise and nutrition. She uses diet to go to help her maintain a healthy weight and positive outlook on life!

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