While weight-loss supplements are definitely out, those aren't the only things to consider: There are also natural herbs for weight loss. And while there's a laundry list ready to be added to your drink at any smoothie spot or juice bar, a lot of them don't really live up to their purported better-for-you benefits. According to the McCormick Science Institute, there are 12 herbs and spices that have potentially significant health benefits, including black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and turmeric. But out of all of the spices, cayenne pepper has been most praised for its weight-loss properties. Researchers found that just half a teaspoon increases metabolism, and a study group of 25 diners burned an extra 10 calories when it was added to their meal. Even better: For those who didn't regularly eat spicy meals, adding in pepper cut an average of 60 calories at their next meal. (Spicy foods might also be the secret to a longer life.)
Cinnamon helps you avoid overeating by fighting insulin resistance and also reduces oxidative stress associated with metabolic syndrome. Sri Lankan or Ceylon cinnamon is the true cinnamon that is well tolerated and safe when used in therapeutic doses. It is traditionally used for a number of ailments including dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, bronchitis, stomach cramps, toothache etc. Cinnamaldehyde and gallic acid are some of the major active constituents.
Often times, we think the best weight-loss strategies start with a lofty exercise program. But the reality is that workouts are only one part of the picture, and there are a slew of recommendations for how much exercise we should be getting on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, recommends that adults should exercise 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity, or incorporate 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Meanwhile, a study published in Circulation found that the amount of exercise we get has a direct relationship to our heart health—the more you get, the healthier your heart will be—and they suggest two full hours a day as the new goal.
At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does. Find out how many calories in a pound you’ll need to shed to lose weight.
Sitting can take a real toll on your health and your weight, but this is one risk factor that’s easily remedied—simply stand up more, says Kristen Battistelli, nutritionist, wellness coach, and CEO of Discernible Tastes, LLC. Consider investing in a standing desk or an active sitting chair and look for little opportunities in your day to stand up and move around, she says. Every little bit of movement helps!