The 16 Spices That Can Help You Find Your Happy Weight

Written by mindbodygreen

Photo by Nadine Greeff

Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D., helped inspire the bone broth craze, and now, the weight-loss expert (and mbg class instructor!) is back with a new book that will help you find your healthy weight, stat. This exclusive excerpt from 10-Day Belly Slimdown tells you exactly what spices to sneak into your meals to burn through fat:

1. Basil:

Basil is anti-inflammatory, reduces water retention and bloating, and functions as an adaptogen (a substance that helps your body adapt to stress). It also helps reduce fat buildup in your liver while detoxifying your body.

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2. Black pepper:

Piperine is the compound that gives pepper its pungent flavor. Piperine enhances the effects of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric—a fat-burning powerhouse I’ll talk about later. One study also suggests that the piperine in black pepper battles fat by blocking the formation of new fat cells.

3. Cardamom:

Cardamom is thermogenic (meaning it increases your body heat and speeds up your metabolism), has anti-inflammatory properties, and acts as an antioxidant, cleaning up rogue molecules called free radicals and resisting cellular aging.

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4. Cayenne:

Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, helps shrink fatty tissue and lower blood-fat levels. It’s also thermogenic.

5. Cilantro and coriander:

Photo: Nadine Greeff

Although both names refer to the same plant, cilantro typically refers to the leafy green part of the coriander plant, while coriander is the common name for the seeds of the plant. Both cilantro and coriander are antioxidant-rich and may help reduce LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels in your blood. They also contain large quantities of vitamins A and K.

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6. Cinnamon:

Cinnamon helps regulate blood glucose levels, reducing your cravings and helping you burn fat faster.

7. Cloves:

Cloves help reduce your blood sugar. They also help improve your digestion and optimize your metabolism.

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8. Cumin:

Cumin is a great fat burner that also aids in digestion. One teaspoon can help you burn up to three times more body fat!

9. Fennel seeds:

These are a natural diuretic and a powerful digestive aid.

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10. Garlic:

Garlic is rich in antioxidants and helps burn belly fat. It also reduces LDL cholesterol, which may lower your risk of heart disease. In addition, it reduces oxidative damage from free radicals, helping fight the aging process.

11. Ginger:

Photo: Martí Sans

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s a powerful gut soother. It also has thermogenic properties that help boost your metabolism.

12. Green tea:

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and thermogenic properties. What’s more, the EGCG in green tea reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs when you eat.

13. Mustard:

One teaspoon of prepared mustard can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after eating. The credit goes to allyl isothiocyanates, which are phytochemicals that give mustard its characteristic flavor.

14. Parsley:

Parsley’s wealth of vitamin C makes it a great immune-system booster. It’s also an excellent source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps protect your body against free-radical damage. It has anti-inflammatory properties, relaxes your muscles, and encourages digestion.

15. Turmeric:

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It slows the formation of fatty tissue by affecting the blood vessels needed to form it. Curcumin contributes to lower-body fat and weight loss. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent and lowers insulin resistance.

16. White pepper:

Just as in black pepper, piperine is the compound that gives white pepper its pungent flavor. White pepper also increases the effects of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.

As you can see, those little herbs and spices have incredible mojo. (It’s true: Good things do come in small packages!) So use a liberal hand when you add them to your meals, put them in your shakes, or stir them into your broth.

 The 10-Day Belly Slimdown by Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D., is available for purchase here.

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