A recent behavioral study that taught adults to jazz up meals with herbs and spices instead of salt led to a decrease in sodium consumption by nearly 1000 mg a day (that’s more salt than you’ll find in 5 bags of Doritos!).
As if that didn’t make your blood vessels shriek with glee, recent research also suggests that some spices can actually target visceral belly fat, reduce bloating and generally improve the lives of the apple-shaped population by 110 percent. Spice up your life today with these top spices for fat loss.
I cannot confirm whether Confucius had a six-pack (or suffered from a chronically queasy tummy), but legend has it the Chinese philosopher ate ginger with every meal. And now there’s science to suggest ginger can improve a number of gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition to curing bellyache, a study printed in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hematology suggests ginger may have a unique ability to accelerate gastric emptying. To quote the First Lady: “Let’s Move!” Freshly grated ginger is delicious in marinades and salad dressings; or pick up a box of ginger tea for a soothing digestif.
Meet Piperine, the Zero Belly ninja! A powerful compound that gives black pepper its characteristic heat and taste, piperine has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to treat multiple health conditions including inflammation and tummy troubles. And recent animal studies have found that piperine may also have the profound ability to interfere with the formation of new fat cells—a reaction known as adipogenesis, resulting in a decrease in waist size, body fat, and cholesterol levels. Season your grilled meats and salads with a few grinds; your waist will thank you.
Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that are proven to alter body composition and improve insulin sensitivity. An animal study printed in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics showed that the addition of dietary cinnamon reduced the accumulation of belly fat. And a series of studies printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a heaping teaspoon cinnamon to a starchy meal may help stabilize blood sugar and ward off insulin spikes. Sprinkle cinnamon in your morning oats and smoothies for a smaller waist, less cravings, and appetite control.
Too much spicy food can send you to Toilet Town, but a little hit of capsaicin, the compound that gives chili pepper its powerful kick, has proven to reduce belly fat, suppress appetite and boost thermogenesis—the body’s ability to burn food as energy. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily consumption of capsaicin improved abdominal fat loss. And a second study by Canadian researchers found that men who ate spicy appetizers consumed 200 fewer calories at later meals than those that did not. You can find capsaicin in hot sauce, but just a couple of shakes of some popular varieties can provide nearly 20 percent of your daily sodium limit. For a less aggressive, salt-free kick, try seasoning grilled fish, meats and eggs with just a pinch of ground red chili pepper.
Add mustard to your meal, and feel the burn—literally! Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that by eating 1 teaspoon of mustard (about 5 calories) can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after eating. Not only that, a study published in the Asian Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that visceral adipose tissue of rats fed a diet of pure lard was lowered when the diet was supplemented with mustard oil. The Zero Belly benefits can be attributed to allyl isothiocyanates, phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor. Just be sure you’re heating things up with a pure and low-calorie variety (mustard seeds and vinegar). That means avoiding anything that’s neon yellow or honey-based.