Ancient Wisdom Part 23: 5 ancient spices for weight loss; how to add them to your diet
From improving metabolism to curbing appetite, spices like cinnamon, ginger and black pepper can work wonders for your weight loss journey.
Note to readers: Ancient Wisdom is a series of guides that shines a light on age-old wisdom that has helped people for generations with time-honoured wellness solutions to everyday fitness problems, persistent health issues and stress management, among others. Through this series, we try to provide contemporary solutions to your health worries with traditional insights.
When it comes to weight loss, sustainable solutions are increasingly being trusted more than quick remedies by fitness enthusiasts. Fad diets can help you shed kilos rapidly and the results are encouraging initially, but often these diets are either extremely low-calorie or focus on just a few food groups thus doing more harm than good in long term. So unless, you want to develop deficiencies and disorders, adopting dietary practices that focus on holistic wellness are more appropriate. One strategy could be going back to the roots and bringing back our ancient superfoods. For instance, there are several spices and herbs that our ancestors trusted for centuries for weight loss and calorie management. (Also read: Ancient Wisdom Part 22: Saffron or kesar can improve heart health, boost mood; all benefits)
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In this edition of Ancient Wisdom, we talk about five ancient spices that can aid you in your weight loss journey ahead of Diwali festivities by improving metabolism, stabilizing blood sugar, curbing appetite to helping burn calories in a natural way.
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Cinnamon that you frequently use in bakery items and curries was even more valuable than gold in ancient times and the spice can be extremely helpful in managing blood sugar spikes. The power of curcumin a compound in turmeric was acknowledged way back in 500 BCE when Ayurveda started using it as ancient remedy. Turmeric can control inflammation in the body that can help prevent obesity. Similarly mustard seeds can help burn calories with their metabolism-boosting properties.
Dietitian Vidhi Chawla, Founder Fisico Diet and Aesthetic Clinic, in an interview with HT Digital talks about 5 ancient spices that are extremely beneficial in modern times and also the ways you can add them to your diet.
Use of cinnamon or dalchini dates back to 2000BC and this centuries old spice was considered even more valuable than gold and silver. In Egypt and medieval Europe, cinnamon was used for religious practices. Cinnamon or dalchini is no stranger to Indian kitchens and is extensively used in curries and sweet treats. The natural agents found in cinnamon can keep the blood glucose levels stable and is highly recommended for those on weight loss journey.
Ancient use: Cinnamon was a prized spice in ancient Egypt and was even used in embalming. It was also mentioned in ancient Chinese texts for its medicinal properties.
Health benefits: Cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing sugar cravings and promoting weight loss. It can also boost metabolism.
How to consume: Sprinkle it on your morning oatmeal, add it to smoothies, or use it in baking.
Turmeric or Haldi has long been recognised for its anti-inflammatory properties that can purify blood and boost immunity. Consuming turmeric regularly can prevent obesity as curcumin, a powerful compound in it, can control inflammation which is often a cause of weight gain.
Ancient use: Turmeric, a staple in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, was used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, can aid in weight loss by reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity. It also supports fat breakdown.
How to consume: Make a warming turmeric tea or add it to curries and soups.
The season of ginger tea or Adrak ki chai is here. But have you ever thoughts, that ginger can also support you during weight loss apart from warming you up and relieving your cough and cold? Ginger a powerful remedy for digestive health in ancient times is known to boost metabolism and aids in weight loss. Ginger is also regarded as a detox remedy and can offer protection from industrial pollutants.
Ancient use: Ginger was widely used in ancient China and India for its digestive benefits.
Benefits: Ginger aids digestion, curbing overeating and reducing the risk of weight gain. It also boosts metabolism and helps burn fat.
How to consume: Brew ginger tea, add it to stir-fries, or use it in salad dressings.
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4. Black pepper
A pinch of kali mirch or black pepper can transform any dish. The spice not only lends a distinct flavour to your favourite dish but can also help you burn fat. Black pepper has piperine which helps boost fat metabolism and may help burn belly fat.
Ancient use: Black pepper was highly valued in ancient Greece and Rome and was even used as currency.
Benefits: Piperine, found in black pepper, enhances the absorption of other nutrients, such as curcumin in turmeric. This synergistic effect can support weight loss efforts.
How to consume: Use it to season various dishes, enhancing the flavours of your meals.
5. Mustard seeds
A tadka of mustard or sarso seeds in dal, curries or stir-fries can provide an excellent flavour. Mustard seeds can also be ground and used in curries and other dishes. It has a powerful and pungent flavour and can help boost metabolism, thus aiding in burning calories.
Ancient use: Mustard seeds were used in ancient Roman cuisine and were known for their pungent flavour.
Benefits: Mustard seeds are rich in metabolism-boosting compounds. They can increase your body's calorie-burning potential.
How to consume: Incorporate them in marinades or make your own mustard for sandwiches.
Incorporating these ancient spices into your diet can have a substantial impact on your weight loss journey.
When not to consume these spices
"It's important to note that while these spices can assist in weight loss, they work best when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Additionally, consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have underlying health conditions," says Chawla.
Cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and mustard seeds offer a combination of metabolic support, appetite control, and anti-inflammatory benefits. By incorporating these spices into your daily cooking, you can tap into the timeless power of these ancient ingredients to aid in shedding kilos and improving your overall well-being.