It turns out that your favourite spice mix not only helps your food taste better, it can also reduce your waistline. According to the Journal of Medicinal Food (2005), a food seasoning/spice mixture improves glucose metabolism and lipid profile in fructose-fed, induced-hyperinsulinemic, rats. Treatment with these spices significantly reduced plasma glucose and insulin levels and brought about a favourable lipid profile. Additional research published in the Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological, and Chemical Sciences (2010) confirmed the anti-diabetic effect of various spices. Among the spices, fenugreek seeds, garlic, onion, and turmeric have been documented to possess anti-diabetic potential by either lowering blood sugar or reducing insulin.
A more recent study in Food Functions (September 2018) reported on the anti-obesity effect of many of the bioactive ingredients in common spices, including cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, pepper, saffron, garlic, onion, and turmeric. These bioactive ingredients are proven to promote weight loss. These compounds can reduce lipid accumulation in fat cells and adipose tissues by regulating the expression of certain binding proteins (specifically, CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, or PPARG, in case you want to google them). They are also able to influence the activities of certain enzymes related to the production of fat cells, such as acyl-CoA carboxylase, fatty acid synthase, and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. When the spices were eaten, the cells that were on the way to becoming fat cells (referred to as 3T3-L1 cells) died via a process called apoptosis, thermogenesis was promoted in fat stores and there was a decrease in body weight. This is all very promising for those who like a little spice in their life.
2. Sprinkle a Little Cinnamon
A little cinnamon in your smoothies or topping your coffee can go a long way towards balancing insulin levels. A study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition (September 2018)showed that cinnamon may cause muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin, and therefore improve weight loss. Better response to insulin means better blood sugar balance—and, therefore, less insulin in your body and an easier path to nutritional ketosis. Cinnamon also seems to reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Just a half teaspoon (2 millilitres) a day for 20 days is enough to improve your insulin response and lower blood sugar by up to 20 percent. An additional research group from the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center found that cinnamon reduces blood sugar, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) in subjects with type 2 diabetes after just 40 days of consuming between one and six grams per day. The combination of a calorie-conscious diet and exercise has been found to reduce triglycerides by approximately 50 percent. The addition of cinnamon, combined with one serving of nuts, might just drop your trigycerides by another 5 to 15 percent, according to Archives of Medical Research (August 2017).
Another new development about cinnamon, hot off the press from the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience (September 2020), involves the benefits that orally administered cinnamon extract can have on deficits following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). We often encounter TBI in our clinical practice, and it’s not surprising, considering it is now one of the world’s most common neurodegenerative diseases. TBI patients suffer short- and long-term behavioural, cognitive and emotional impairments, including difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and depression. Even though this study was completed on mice, I think it certainly still merits our attention, as it appears that cinnamon extract can mitigate cognitive and behavioural impairments associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, whose pathophysiologies are similar to that of TBI. Researchers gave cinnamon extract to brain-injured mice for two weeks, then had the mice undergo behavioral testing to assess their memory, motor activity, and anxiety. The results showed that the cinnamon almost completely mitigated the memory impairment and decreased neuronal loss after the brain injury as compared to the mice that did not receive the extract.
Clear Metabolic Support, formulated to support glucose metabolism and insulin utilization also has cinnamon in its formula in the way of CinSulin® which is a safe, patented, 100% water-soluble, 10:1 concentrated form of cinnamon that provides polyphenol polymers. Don’t like the taste of cinnamon then supplement with this formula for metabolic benefits! Purchase Clear Metabolic Support.
3. Colour Your World with Curry
Curry is a rich source of curcumin (also called turmeric), which naturally reduces inflammation, pain, and swelling. In one clinical trial, participants who consumed 1,200 milligrams of curcuminoids (the antioxidant pigment found in turmeric) for two weeks found reduced morning stiffness and joint swelling related to rheumatoid arthritis. A study from Tufts University in Boston suggests that curcumin may help with fat metabolism and weight loss. The researchers studied the effect of curcumin in mice fed a high-fat diet over a period of 12 weeks. They found that curcumin did not affect food intake, but reduced body weight gain, fat accumulation, and density of fat tissue. Curcumin also increased the expression of key enzymes involved in fat oxidation. Blood cholesterol levels were also lowered by curcumin treatment. Another group of researchers found similar results in a more recent study published in Nutritional Neuroscience (May 2019). It not only was found protective against a high-fat, high-sugar diet, but also against obesity, neurodegeneration, memory loss and oxidative stress.
So, eat more curries and foods high in turmeric, and I would also recommend a supplement for a more concentrated dose. Turmeric on its own has an absorption rate that is relatively low, and the key to making a supplement most effective is the delivery system of the herb. The best products I know of are those that have carrier oils (MCT or curcumin oil) or black pepper extract (Bioperine) to aid absorption. Clear Curcumin (which has curcuminoid oils to increase absorption}, AOR, and Designs for Health are the most highly absorbable products I have come across. Dosages range from 500 to 2,000 milligrams daily. Take it with food if you find you experience digestive upset, heartburn, or related discomfort. Purchase Clear Curcumin.
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