How Spices Can Help You with Weight Management


Do any of these claims sound familiar?

  • Add a pinch of bursting, yellow turmeric to lower your systemic inflammation and halt weight gain.
  • Or perhaps, just add a dash of fiery cayenne to increase your body temperature to help burn off fat.

Spices do have a place in the weight management world, but where exactly do they fit in? As outlandish as some of these claims may sound, it is possible to turbo boost weight-loss by adding a little spice to your life.

The Weight and Health Benefits of Spices

Spices are packed full of antioxidants that support immune health and decrease inflammation – two issues to combat when treating overweight and obesity.

Obesity and metabolic issues cause a cascade of metabolic disturbances that lead to tissue stress, inflammation, and ultimately dysfunction – like insulin resistance or a decrease in antibodies. Spices are not the sole key to halting these reactions; however, they can help control some of the damage. Especially when they are used as part of a portion-controlled meal packed with a balance of whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, lean protein and fresh fruit. And when they say “packed full” of antioxidants, they really do mean packed. It only takes a mere one teaspoon of oregano added to your favorite Italian sauce to provide an antioxidant boost equivalent to one whole cup of sweet potatoes!

The nutrient component isn’t the only benefit of spices, however. Use spices as a quick and easy way to change-up your healthy meal plan. Add a pinch of cinnamon, containing the antioxidant cinnamaldehyde, to your overnight oats to add a hint of sweetness without having to use extra sugar.

Using turmeric to enrich a cauliflower dish can add colorful variety to your plate, as well as the polyphenol curcumin with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Mix a little ginger into your oil and vinegar salad dressing to give it some Asian flair, while providing gingerol, a compound that some studies have shown to alleviate motion sickness and indigestion.

Spices do have some wonderful benefits, but remember they are only beneficial as part of a complete healthy eating plan. Be wary of any program that promotes any particular spice as a cure-all magic nutrient, but feel free to add plenty of spice to your life for that added weight-loss benefit!

Lauren Casey headshotAbout the Author:

Lauren Casey Flowers has been a registered dietitian for more than two years with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition. She is the current program dietitian at TriStar Centennial Center for Weight Management where she helps prepare patients for bariatric surgery or medical weight-loss. 

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