This article, as well as others on alternative, natural ways to increase your health, is found in Newsweek’s Special Edition: Nature’s Remedies—Heal Your Body.
There’s no getting around it: In order to lose fat, people need to burn more calories than they take in. And while there’s no such thing as a pill that will allow a person to eat as much as they want and still lose weight, there are some foods and supplements that can help kick your weight loss plan into high gear.
Green tea contains an ingredient called epigallocatechin gallate, which is thought to have numerous health benefits, including lowering the risk of cancer. In order to determine whether EGCG has any effect on weight loss, researchers at Anglia Ruskin University conducted a study on the effects of decaffeinated green tea combined with cycling. The study suggests that combined with exercise, green tea can help people lose weight more efficiently: Those who took green tea capsules reduced body fat by 1.63 percent more than the control group. If you’re looking to use green tea to boost weight loss, consider ingesting it in pill form—it would take six to seven cups of tea daily to get the required dosage of EGCG.
Studies have shown that caffeine, ingested in the form of coffee, can slightly increase your metabolic rate for a few hours. Caffeine is also known to enhance energy and alertness, meaning you may be a bit more active after a cup of joe. Additionally, choosing a cup of coffee to boost your energy results in ingesting far fewer calories than, say, a granola bar. However, in order to maximize the weight-loss benefits of coffee, make sure to drink it black: The calories in cream or sugar will likely negate or even exceed any extra calories you burn off.
If you’re wondering why products like kombucha are popping up everywhere, the answer may have something to do with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria (the good kind) that can help regulate the bacteria in your gut. Researchers have found evidence to support the theory that probiotics can help counteract obesity and even diabetes, and they are beneficial in the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal diseases. If you’re not into kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut and miso soup all pack a healthy dose of probiotics.
Glucomannan is a weight-loss pill that actually works! It’s a supplement of dietary fiber that comes from the roots of the konjac plant. Because glucomannan takes up space in the stomach and delays it from emptying, it works well as an appetite suppressant. A diet high in fiber is also shown to reduce the absorption of protein and fat. Aside from taking glucomannan, it’s generally wise to choose foods that are naturally high in fiber, like whole grains, berries, split peas, beans and lentils.
People use coconut oil as a moisturizer, wood polish, insect repellent and more, and now there’s science to support its use for weight loss. Coconut oil is fatty, but not all fats are created equal. It’s is high in fats called medium-chain triglycerides, which have been shown to increase metabolism and help people eat fewer calories. Because coconut oil is still high in calories, it’s best to use it sparingly and in place of (not in addition to) other cooking oils and butter.
Scientists have discovered that capsaicin burns more than just your tongue—it’s responsible for helping burn fat, too. Known as the component that gives chili peppers their spice, researchers have determined capsaicin is effective in reducing energy and fat intake, as well as increasing satiety. If you can’t handle the heat, there’s still good news: Studies have also shown that the capsiate found in sweet peppers can also increase energy and boost fat oxidation.
This article was excerpted from Newsweek’s Special Edition: Nature’s Remedies—Heal Your Body. For more on the definitive guide to alternative methods of healing the mind, body and soul, pick up a copy today.
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