There are five wonder plants that help you lose weight

"Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that in order to achieve their goals, one needs to change their habits."

 Green tea (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Green tea
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

In the winter, we like to eat comforting foods which contain lots of carbs. And, when it’s cold and raining we want to curl up under a blanket, not go out and exercise. To combat this problem, a  naturopath named Gefen Ben Tzur has researched five plants for everyone who has difficulty maintaining weight that will help you with your diet in the winter and beyond. 

The air cools down and we start wearing layers that hide our body’s shape. This causes us to gain weight during the winter and then we want to lose weight fast. Is this even possible?

It’s important to remember that the weight loss process requires change. It’s not magic. Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that in order to achieve their goals, one needs to change their habits. The changes include improving eating habits, sleeping well at night and a more active lifestyle during the day. However, there are natural nutritional ways that can help you in the weight loss process and advance you towards your goal.

Here are some of vegetables and drinks that can help:

Mate - The Argentines can’t live without it

Yerba mate (MAH-tay) is one of the most popular and beloved drinks in South America. It grows in South American rainforests and inhabitants drink it often. The bitter mate plant has gained popularity among health enthusiasts in many places in the world and it’s time for Israelis to get to know it and enjoy its health benefits.

The highlight is its effect on fat breakdown. Mate’s synthesization of fatty acids during exercise has been tested in studies and the results were significant. Researchers found that drinking mate tea encourages the body to utilize fat stores as an energy source, especially during light to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Athletes can enjoy it because it contains caffeine and antioxidants, so they get a boost of energy and fatty acids are burned during sports activities. Drinking mate pushes off fatigue and improves performance.

Mate also has an effect on the body’s metabolism. This is by a thermogenic effect, or in simple words, an effect on the amount of energy that the body burns to produce heat. Mate tea contains caffeine in an amount similar to that in coffee so it’s also a stimulant.

(Credit: Ingimage)(Credit: Ingimage)

Cinnamon - Contains a component that affects metabolism

Cinnamon has starred in many kitchens and cultures for thousands of years. Cinnamon is known to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Another and lesser known effect of cinnamon is related to a compound found in it called cinnamaldehyde, which also gives it its special aroma. This component has a thermogenic effect, generating heat in the body by metabolic processes that can contribute to the weight loss process. A study conducted at the University of Michigan examined the effect of the component found in cinnamon on human fat cells, after good results in a study on mice. The researchers noticed a direct effect on fat cells and concluded that the same component found in cinnamon causes the utilization of fat from fat stores for energy production.

Green tea - Helps your body fat produce energy

Green tea has been recognized for many years as a plant that may contribute to the weight loss process due to its effect on the metabolic rate associated with the synergistic combination of caffeine and catechins found in the camellia sinensis plant (green tea).

The mechanism by which green tea affects weight loss is with the help of increased thermogenesis, as heat burns calories. 

A study was done on 14 young healthy men who received green tea or a placebo extract for four weeks in which they did three workouts a week of cycling for about an hour.  In the group who drank green tea, results showed that the rate of fat oxidation increased by 25% and there was a decrease in body fat percentage of about 1.63% compared to the control group, where there was no change in the subjects' data. In the same study, the green tea drinkers reached a greater distance in the final test conducted at the end of the four weeks.

This effect is attributed to catechin (EGCG) found in high amounts in green tea, along with caffeine, whose effect on fat utilization for energy production, at the expense of glycogen use, has been tested and proven in studies. The combined effect is probably more significant during exercise, but in some studies good results were seen after the exercise sessions. 

(Credit: Ingimage)(Credit: Ingimage)

Hot pepper - Encourages burning calories

Hot peppers, such as cayenne pepper, chili and its substitutes, contain a powerful active ingredient called capsaicin, the same substance which makes you feel warm. Studies examining capsaicin’s effect on metabolism have found that hot pepper accelerates metabolism in the 30 minutes after eating. The effect was tested at rest. Hot pepper seems to motivate the body to use more energy and burn more calories. These actions are related to the activation of adrenaline receptors and an increase in body temperature.

Fennel - Suppresses appetite

Fennel seed use has been common in many cultures worldwide for thousands of years. It’s best known for the digestive system, relieving bloating and gas. According to traditional medicine, fennel seeds are considered an appetite suppressant. The sweet taste of the seeds comes from a substance called anthol (Trans-Anethole) that suppresses appetite. People feel satiated after drinking a fennel infusion or chewing fennel seeds. Those who often snack between meals can drink fennel tea after and between meals and to feel full longer, get relief from indigestion and feel less bloated.

If you have decided that you want a change that will make you feel better and improve your health, it’s entirely possible. The best advice for success, in any change you want to achieve, is to feel good right now. 

GET INTO THE process with the intention of improving your health first. As mentioned, there is no magic here.  Yet, you can choose to improve habits, ones that can be applied over time. Incorporating herbs in the process may help you achieve goals and provide you with an abundance of antioxidants. People who have medical problems or are taking prescription medications should consult a professional before using herbs or supplements, as some may conflict with medication. Some plants presented here contain caffeine, a stimulant, so avoid them in the evening.