Top 4 spices for cooking that can help with weight loss
What are some healthy spices to support your clean eating diet? This week we will be looking at a lean approach to spices for cooking.
Difference between spices and herbs
Spices can be made of roots, barks, seeds or fruits of a plant. They are more commonly available in warm and tropical countries. Don’t confuse them with herbs that you can grow in your garden. We will tackle herbs in one of our future challenges. The most significant difference between them is that herbs are leaves of plants.
Health benefits of spices
Spices can provide you with vitamins and minerals, clear toxins from your body, and prevent diseases.
Did you know that some spices contain a huge amount of effective antioxidants with the potential of protecting you against many serious diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other health problems?
Spices can provide a wonderful taste and, in combination with other food, they can increase the power of natural antioxidants exponentially.
Here are even more health benefits of spices. They:
- support the fat burning process and boost metabolism
- help to stabilize blood sugar
- carry anti-inflammatory properties
4 of the most effective healthy spices for weight management
In spite of all these health benefits, there is actually no need to let spices take over your kitchen. Just keep your collection to the few most effective spices to maximize results.
The following four super spices can support you with your health and weight management
At the top of the list of healthy spices is Cayenne. If you have ever tried a spicy chili con carne, then you know how it can make you sweat. This is a sign that your metabolism is raised, which helps you burn fat faster. An interesting study showed that people who ate an appetizer with red pepper flakes consumed 15% less food.
I put red pepper flakes in my clean eating meals whenever I feel they need some zest.
This old spice contains one of the highest antioxidant levels of all spices – surprisingly 10-50x more than blueberries. In addition, it can fight fat cells through a blood sugar lowering effect. Stabilized blood sugar levels are an important factor for smart weight management.
I love to add some cinnamon to my homemade breakfast muesli with oats, apples and yoghurt.
Another healthy spice with especially high antioxidant levels is cumin. It is known for being especially good for digestion and detoxifying your body. Like cinnamon, it helps keep blood sugar levels stable, which means less chance of excess body fat and weight gain. On top of that, cumin is a natural flatulence treatment.
By the way … I never cook my cabbage soup without cumin.
With over 25 different antioxidants, the ginger root also provides a whole bunch of health benefits – too many to list. I love to make hot water simmered with a few slices of ginger to cure sore throats caused by colds and the flu.
The great thing about ginger is that you can just toss the root in the freezer without packaging. Grate some slices whenever you need them. From a weight management aspect, ginger can boost digestion and metabolism, stabilize blood sugar levels and, like cumin, it also relieves gas and bloating.
Upgrade your meals without extra calories
Each time you prepare your meals with healthy spices, you are upgrading your food without additional calories. This is especially important in a clean eating kitchen that some people claim is boring and bland. The opposite is true if you learn to spice up your dishes and enjoy all the above-mentioned benefits.
4 organizational steps that will help you include healthy spices as part of your nutrition
- Open your storage system for your spices and get the garbage bin handy. Now it’s time to throw away any expired, dusty, or sticky spices or herbs. As mentioned, we will talk about herbs in a separate challenge.
- Buy and replace only the 10 spices and herbs you’ve used frequently for the last couple of months. Make sure to also include the super spices presented here: cayenne, cinnamon, cumin or ginger powder. Choose whatever you love most that best suits your clean eating style. You may want to store fresh ginger roots in your freezer.
- Organize your spices in a way where you can’t overlook the healthy spices (e.g. store them on a spice organizer or lazy Susan). That way, it’s easy to see the labels and grab whatever spice you need right when you need it.
- With buying and adding those healthy spices to your meals, you’ve already made yourself a big gift. Do you think your actual storage system is a mess or not practical enough? Take your time and invest in a better spice storage solution. Nowadays you have many choices, including magnetic, pull-outs, drawers, cabinet doors or wall cabinet spice organizers.
4 additional tips to spice up your life
- Add cayenne to your soups, stews, chili, or morning eggs for a little metabolism boosting spice
- Enjoy cinnamon in your oatmeal breakfast (perfect match with apples), yogurt, smoothies or as a healthy addition to your coffee or tea
- Cumin plays a main role in foods from many countries: Indian curries, Mexican bean pots but also the good old American barbecue sauce. Try cumin also with hummus, cabbage, brussel sprouts, lentils or grains
- Fresh ginger – grated or minced – brings a wonderful zest to almost every stir-fry or creamy winter soup.
Note: Always check with your doctor to be sure certain spices don’t inhibit medications you may be taking.
Which are your favorite spices? If you could only keep one spice on hand of those mentioned above, which would it be and why?