Monday, November 16, 2009
Spices that Burn Fat
Spice and all things nice—now, how about a nice waistline? Fighting the bulge can be daunting and at times, frustrating. But what if there are foods that are on your side, fighting the bulge for you, making it easier for you to lose weight? Spices that burn fat? Sounds like a pipe dream for weight watchers. A dash here, a dash there and viola, fat will not stand its ground against these fat-busters. Is that myth? Or is it something spice companies love to claim to push their products? How can we prove the fallacy or truth behind this bold claim? Let’s look to some solid scientific evidence and put this claim to the test.
The red stuff that makes your food spicy—chili is a powerful fat burner. You can eat it fresh or you can use chili powder—it doesn’t matter because either way, you’re tapping into its active ingredient, capsaicin, capable of raising metabolic rate or helping you to burn unwanted calories. So, add a dash of chili powder to your food—use it to marinate meat, fish or to make sauces, condiments or marinades. Fresh chili peppers can be used to spice up any dish—from salsa to stir fry to salads.
Ginger adds zing, ginger adds zest. Engage ginger in your food preparation and allow this feisty rhizome to rev up your metabolic rate. According to an Australian study, when biochemists apply both fresh and dried ginger extracts to the tissue of animals, they found that the spice induced tissues to use up more than 20% more energy than usual. Go ahead—indulge—ginger snaps, ginger tea, ginger chicken, ginger pickles.
Hailed as “holy powder,” in India, this vibrant yellow root of the ginger family is one health miracle. It is commonly used in Asian countries to make curry and to season foods. Now, a new animal model study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) theorized that turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, may stall the spread of fat-tissue by inhibiting blood vessel growth, necessary in building fat tissue. The group treated with curcumin had lower blood glucose, triglycerides, and fatty acid, cholesterol and liver fat levels.
This familiar bulb, aptly nicknamed "stinking rose" is anything but stinky when it comes to promoting weight loss. Use garlic, preferably chopped, bruised to release allicin (its active ingredient) in your food preparation—allicin fights fat accumulation.
Parsley is famous for its role as a breath freshener. In ancient times, the Greek use it as an aphrodisiac and to promote beauty and youthfulness. Now, we can add more benefits: parsley can also stimulate the circulatory system, increase energy and fight water retention. Parsley looks pretty as an edible garnish and it can also be added to food to enhance flavor. Fresh is better than dried.
You can easily find these fat-fighters when you go grocery shopping. Can you put them together in one simple dish? Why not?:
Here is one really simple dish you can whip up in no time:
2 pieces of fish fillet (tilapia, salmon)
1 tb of curry powder (has turmeric)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 thumb of ginger, grated
A sprinkling of chili powder
Chopped parsley for garnishing.
Marinate fish with all the seasoning mentioned.
Coat pan with enough oil to pan-fry the fish—about 5 minutes each side.
Dish out and garnish with chopped parsley. And if you feel like a squeeze of lemon—by all means—I’ve heard it’s a fat buster too.