If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, you probably know that diet plays the most crucial role in weight loss. In fact, even when you look for additional methods of weight loss, there’s a good chance that all you find is dietary advice and suggestions to exercise. From the Keto diet to intermittent fasting, and HIIT workouts to hot yoga, you’ve heard it all before. Unfortunately, weight loss through diet and exercise can seem agonizingly slow, and despite your best efforts you often hit periods of stagnation.
So, how do you jumpstart weight loss or enhance the fat burning effects of your diet and fitness routine? The answer can be found in natural weight loss remedies, with some of the most effective ones being ayurvedic herbs.
Amla or Indian gooseberry is regarded by most folks as a ‘superfood’ and perhaps the richest natural source of vitamin C. This makes it popular as an immunity booster and it is also an important ingredient in natural cosmetic products. Its medicinal benefits are much wider, giving it a role to play in healthy weight management and weight loss too. In Ayurveda, it is known to promote detoxification in the body, which is believed to improve metabolic function, which can aid weight loss. This therapeutic benefits of the herb is supported by studies, which indicate that weight reduction is accompanied by cholesterol regulation and anti-inflammatory effects that also lower the risk of obesity associated lifestyle disorders.
Suran or elephant foot yam is a commonly used food ingredient in India, and is a tuber or root, similar to potatoes. Although we normally think of suran as just another food, it does possess some special properties that make it useful when dealing with obesity. The weight loss benefits are due to a special water soluble dietary fibre it contains, known as glucomannan. Like most types of dietary fibre, it is low in calories and has a satiating effect, which helps lower the chances of overeating. Research shows that glucomannan is also notable for promoting healthy gut microbiota and limiting the absorption of fat.
Vegetables of the capsicum family, including bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and chili peppers are widely used in a number of cuisines, but they are also a source of medicinal value. The main bioactive ingredient in peppers that is responsible for numerous health benefits is capsaicin. Although most commonly used in Ayurvedic and natural medicine to treat pain and inflammation, it can also aid weight loss. Studies show that it has a metabolism boosting and fat burning effect. Capsaicin has also been found to have a positive effect on appetite regulation and caloric intake.
Cumin seeds or jeera are commonly used across the subcontinent for tempering food or to add flavour. It is known to strengthen agni or the digestive fire and is often recommended to speed up weight loss. This weight loss benefit is also supported by research; with some studies showing that daily supplementation with just a teaspoon of cumin powder can improve lipid levels and promote weight reduction within a span of 3 months. Cumin was also found to promote significant fat loss, including visceral or abdominal fat buildup.
With its strong flavour and sulfurous odour, garlic isn’t exactly appetizing or inviting in its raw form. It is widely regarded as beneficial for health, especially cardiac function, and not just in Ayurveda. If you can’t chew on raw garlic cloves, at least try to use it as garnishing and when cooking meals. The herb has proven weight loss benefits, with one animal study showing that garlic supplementation could induce weight loss within 8 weeks. The herb was shown to reduce both body weight, as well as white adipose tissue deposits, and it also improved lipid profile.
Nagarmotha is another potent Ayurvedic herb that is sometimes used to treat excess weight gain or obesity and it is also an ingredient in some Ayurvedic weight loss medications. Outside of Ayurveda, the herb is not well known and not easily available, but this doesn’t make it any less valuable. It is sometimes used to treat pre-diabetes because of purported anti-diabetic benefits, which can also help lower the risk for obese individuals. The herb has also been shown as a possible aid to promote weight loss, but the method of action in this regard is still not clearly understood.
Cinnamon is one of the easiest ingredients to add to your diet and it’s also regarded as a highly effective weight loss remedy. The culinary spice adds rich flavour to foods and beverages and can be used whole or in its powder form. Cinnamon helps to promote weight loss because of its effect on satiety and the feeling of fullness, which makes you less likely to experience unhealthy food cravings. This reduction in food cravings is also connected to its regulating influence on blood sugar levels, which helps to prevent sudden spikes or crashes in energy, which can make you crave unhealthy junk foods.
An important herbal ingredient in Ayurveda, guggul is actually the sap or resin of the guggul tree and it has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 2000 years now. It is most widely used as a natural method of controlling cholesterol levels, making it beneficial to obese individuals who are at a higher risk of heart disease. It may also have a direct role to play in weight reduction, as research suggests that when used in combination with calorie restricted diets it enhances weight loss. A study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements highlighted potential weight loss benefits, as well as improved cholesterol, glucose, serotonin, and dopamine levels.
9. Green tea
Green tea has enjoyed considerable attention for close to a decade now, often touted as a cure to every condition. Of course, it remains popular as a detox and weight loss drink. While the weight loss benefits are often exaggerated, green tea can help if you are already following a healthy diet and exercise routine. It enhances the effects of your routine by increasing fat burning, with some studies showing that it can increase fat oxidation and burning by almost 20%.
10. Coconut oil
Cooking oil may not be the first thing to come to mind when you’re trying to lose weight and when it comes to Ayurveda, you’d expect the only recommendation to be substitution with ghee. However, some experts now recommend switching your regular cooking oil for coconut oil as evidence indicates that coconut oil may actually help reduce abdominal fat buildup, also increasing your metabolic rate. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that excess consumption will lead to weight gain, so only use it sparingly and as a substitute for your regular cooking oil.
Natural remedies for weight loss can give you an edge, especially when you hit a weight loss slump and are struggling to shed those stubborn pounds. However, don’t rely on such remedies alone. In addition to a boost from natural weight loss herbs and Ayurvedic medications, stick to your diet and fitness routine. Most importantly, adopt the practice of mindful eating to strengthen that natural awareness of your body and sensations like hunger. With all of these practices and natural remedies, you’ll find that weight loss doesn’t have to be a constant battle.
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!