Growing up Indian American, my mom didn't know how to make any of the "traditional" American food—we usually ate foods like lentils, curries, rice, and rotis.
For traditional holidays, we would order a meal already prepared from the grocery store, but we would never eat it as-is.
No way! That was too bland. We would sprinkle red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, and pepper and chop up little jalapeños and cilantro and sprinkle it over everything. Then, we would make a huge pot of rice and serve it right next to the roasted chicken.
Finally, we could eat!
After I had two kids, I worked really hard to lose weight, but my stubborn love handles and bloated belly stuck to me. That is, until I went back to the warm spices I used in my childhood and started sprinkling them on my food.
With just a sprinkle a day of spices, I lost 10 pounds in one month and 40 pounds in nine months! The spices accelerated my metabolism, helped me burn fat, and even decreased my appetite.
Here are five metabolism-boosting spices that can help you lose weight:
1. Saffron for sugar cravings and PMS
Stomp out your sugar cravings and relieve PMS with a pinch of this spice.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. The plant comes from flowers that bloom for only one week a year. At a price of $2,000 to $10,000 a pound, saffron can cost up to $40 for a few teaspoons. But the good news is just a small pinch will get you far.
A pinch of saffron can be steeped into a tea or used with light meat and vegetables, such as chicken, cauliflower, and onions, so the beautiful bright color can stand out.
A more accessible way to consume saffron is to use a saffron extract, which is available in a capsule.
2. Turmeric for anti-inflammatory benefits and fat-burning
Add a pinch of this ancient wonder spice to your tea to lose double the fat.
Turmeric is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, helps decrease inflammation, and stimulates our fat-burning systems to help with weight loss.
Turmeric is a beautiful golden color and smells earthy, with a soft scent of orange peel and ginger.
A great way to enjoy turmeric is with turmeric tea.
Boil 2 cups of water, add 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a few slices of fresh ginger; let steep; strain, and sweeten with raw honey or stevia. Add a little unsweetened almond milk to make a creamier version.
3. Nutmeg for blood flow and sexual health
This spice is actually an aphrodisiac (ask my husband). Nutmeg stimulates the circulatory system and increases blood flow, which can lead to more, and more enjoyable, sex. It is also thought to be a digestive aid in traditional cuisines.
Nutmeg has a nutty smell and tastes slightly sweet and mellow. It’s very powerful, so you don’t need a lot.
Add a sprinkling of nutmeg (and, my favorite, cinnamon) to your morning coffee or smoothie or sprinkle ¼ teaspoon for 2 cups of stir-fry.
4. Pepper for burning calories
Spicy peppers may help boost metabolism and increase calorie burn.
Pepper has been precious forever. It was even used as currency 1,000 years ago to pay rent to landlords in Rome. Now that’s a powerful spice!
Rev your metabolism while you’re eating by adding ¾ teaspoon of black pepper to your next stir fry with a sprinkling of cayenne or red pepper flakes and enjoy the metabolic burst.
5. Sichuan peppercorns for digestion
Sichuan peppercorns were banned from being imported into the United States until just 10 years ago, and now top gourmet chefs can’t get enough of them!
Lightly toast these peppercorns in a pan, crush them, and add them to tofu, fish, or an Asian stir-fry!
Using a sprinkle a day of spices can help activate your weight-loss potential.