Using Herbs for Weight Loss

Using Herbs for Weight Loss

In this world of severe makeovers and desperate diets, there are 2 definitive actions that bring about reliable long-term weight loss—(1) a high-nutrition and high-protein, low-calorie meal strategy and (2) a consistent, routine exercise regimen. Forget about magic tablets that melt the fat away or sauna covers that steam away inches. There are, nevertheless, herbs for weight loss that can supplement—not replace—healthy eating and exercise. These herbs can assist in increasing the body's gastrointestinal and metabolic efficiency and simplifying the process of long-term health and weight management.

The principle behind weight loss is that energy consumption does not need to surpass energy expenditure. What you eat needs to have fewer calories than what you put out in daily activities. A body composed of lean muscle (built from protein and exercise) will utilize more calories than an unexercised body. There is every reason to keep a strong exercise routine and high protein usage due to the fact that you require both to turn your body into a fat-burning device.

Some herbs that can assist weight loss and make this process more effective are green tea, flaxseeds, psyllium, and chromium.

Green tea is not only a powerful antioxidant but a fat-burner too. According to a study released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January 2005), consuming green tea abundant in catechins leads to a lowering of both body fat and cholesterol. These substances boost nervous system activity at the level of the fat cell, triggering it to release more fat. In another current study, one group of participants was provided green tea extract (with 150 mg of caffeine) and 375 mg of catechins 3 times a day.

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A second group was provided simply with 150 mg of caffeine alone, and a third group was provided a placebo. These subjects invested 3 24 hour periods in an energy chamber throughout which they got their green tea, caffeine, or placebo 3 times a day. Results show that the green tea group burned the most energy--by nearly 5 percent more when compared with those who got the placebo alone and 3.2 percent more than those who received caffeine alone. In addition, weight loss was increased in the green tea group.

Scientists speculate that a special antioxidant compound in green tea called EEG might trigger fat oxidation and thermogenesis (fat loss). What is likewise interesting is that the optimum fat-dissolving capability of green tea originates from the tea in concentrate type, which provides the benefits of 5–6 cups of tea in a single dosage of tea powder. Green tea is an herb that has actually shown effectiveness in encouraging weight loss.

Flaxseeds supply necessary fatty acids, which are building blocks the body uses to make fat. The body requires various types of fats (fish oil, flaxseed oil) not only for proper health but also to support blood sugar levels. Supported blood sugar levels mean stabilized hunger. Unusual cravings and food yearnings are established in people who do not consume adequate amounts of necessary fats. These individuals frequently turn to high carbohydrate usage (bagels, donuts, chips) because their bodies are on a frantic look for the missing nutrient--vital fats. Moreover, the body has an intelligence of its own; when it is deprived of fat, the body will lower its metabolic rate, store fat as well as make fat. A body deprived of important fats will turn into a fat-producing machine. Flaxseeds are, for that reason, another kind of herbal tool for weight loss.

Psyllium is a soluble fiber that comes from the small reddish-black seeds of the "Plantago Psyllium" plant. When combined with exercise and a healthy diet, psyllium seeds not only relieve constipation but also lower cholesterol and promote weight loss. Psyllium assists in supporting sugar in the blood, which likewise manages food cravings. The bulk of psyllium adds to the sensation of fullness and satiety when it is taken in its suggested dose: 1-3 tsp of powdered psyllium dissolved in water, taken 3 times a day before meals. In a British study, women who took psyllium with water 3 hours before a meal consumed less fat and fewer calories during the meal.

Chromium is a trace element found in entire grains, potatoes, prunes, nuts, and brewer's yeast. It appears to assist the body in using insulin more efficiently so that regular blood sugar levels are maintained. Chromium likewise helps the body break down protein and fat. In a recent study, people taking in 400mcg of chromium picolinate a day lost 6 pounds over 3 months, while another group getting a placebo lost just 3 pounds. The most remarkable aspect of the study was that the weight lost by those taking the organic supplement chromium was in the form of body fat, not muscle.

While all four herbs have demonstrated that they can assist in promoting weight loss, they are by no means magic tablets and ought to be taken in combination with a solid nutrition and workout program.

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Copyright: Mary Desaulniers, 2006.

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