If you’re looking for a little help keeping your diet on track this new year, there are plenty of herbs and spices that you can add to your meal plan that suppress your appetite, effectively boosting your willpower so you can bypass the office candy dish - or any other temptation that might come your way to derail your best efforts.
Most of the spices and herbs mentioned mimic the effects of ketosis, a process that occurs when your body burns existing fat, called ketones, for fuel rather than stored glucose. It usually happens on a low-carb diet, when there is not much glucose being introduced, and your body turns to existing fat stores for fuel instead.
“Ketones are an efficient and effective fuel for human physiology without increasing the production of damaging free radicals. Ketosis allows a person to experience nonfluctuating energy throughout the day as well as enhanced brain function and possibly resistance to malignancy,” said Dr. David Perlmutter.
Cinnamon has two things going for it. Not only does it help suppress your appetite, it also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, protecting against diabetes, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
How to use: Sprinkle some on oatmeal or stir a cinnamon stick in a cup of tea.
The licorice flavor of fennel seed helps reduce the desire for sugar even as it suppresses your appetite for other foods and boosts metabolism.
Fennel helps break up fat stores so they can be used for energy, so you won’t get hit with food cravings during those times when your body feels as though it needs a little something – perhaps a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies – to get through the afternoon.
According to a German study, participants who supplemented with fennel seed ate less than those who did not eat fennel.
How to use: Bring two pints of water with four teaspoons of fennel seeds to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow the tea to rest for 15 minutes. Strain out seeds before drinking.
Commonly used in folk remedies, chickweed has been shown in studies to help break down fat molecules, so your body uses that fat for fuel, reducing the craving for carb-heavy food options.
Because it is rich in fiber, it also helps assist in the digestive process.
How to use: If you have a kitchen herb garden, add chickweed to the mix and toss fresh leaves in your salad alongside the lettuce. You can also treat chickweed like spinach and either steam or sauté it.
Siberian Ginseng Root
Ginseng has long been considered an energy booster, so it will help quiet an angry appetite in the same way caffeine from your morning coffee might.
How to use: Make ginseng tea when you’re feeling in need of a snack, and your cravings will temporarily flee.