Welcome to week two in this three-part series looking at nutraceuticals. Part one may be found here. Nutraceuticals are ‘foods containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefit.’ Or, in other words, regular foods you can add to meals and snacks that help boost metabolism, suppress appetite and reduce inflammation. In case you missed it, watch it here.
This week, we’re looking at common foods known for their ability to suppress appetite. Eating real foods in their unprocessed forms is still the best way to get all the nutrients we need. If you’re looking for some magic bullet to do everything you ever wanted for yourself from food, you’re going to be searching for a very, very long time. The best changes to our health come from combining what has worked for us in the past with the flexibility to bring that knowledge to the present day, taking current research into account.
So, what does it mean to feel satiated? Satiety is the feeling of no longer being hungry. It’s not being overfull; it’s a comfortable feeling. You’d be ready to take on your next task and your brain is ready to think and process. On a fullness scale of 1 to 10, satiety is about a 6 or 7.
Let’s start with cinnamon. This spice has been shown to lower insulin levels. Lowered insulin leads to improvements in blood sugars, blood pressures, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. As insulin levels decrease, so do hunger hormones. What’s needed? About half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of cinnamon a day. Sprinkle it in your morning oatmeal or add to coffee or tea.
Moving on to the lentil effect: the name comes from the fiber and protein content of beans and legumes that are associated with appetite suppression. There’s no need to fear these carbohydrates because study after study shows their effectiveness in reversing or preventing type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular markers. Add lentils to salads, soups, as main dishes, or sides. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered the difference between a bean and a legume, legumes are grown in pods (peas, lentils).
Next up is flaxseed, which suppresses appetite due to its high soluble fiber content. Flaxseed also contains healthy fat that lowers liver fat and triglyceride levels. But, before you run out and buy supplements, studies looked at ground or whole flaxseed in their unprocessed forms. Add some flaxseed to smoothies, salads or cereals. Flaxseed has a fish-like odor, so if you use your grinder for coffee or other herbs and spices, consider rinsing it out thoroughly after each use.
Lastly, let’s talk about cumin, which is the second most popular spice after black pepper. It’s one of the oldest cultivated plants with a range of medicinal uses, including appetite suppression. Cumin was studied against Orlistat (the obesity drug causing diarrhea). It was found to be as effective for appetite suppression but without undesired effects. Use as little as a teaspoon of cumin a day to season proteins and vegetables.
Try adding one or all of these to your meals or snacks. Remember, simply because foods are found in nature doesn’t mean you’re protected against adverse reactions or sensitivities. To play it safe, stick to culinary doses (those you would use for cooking and seasoning).
Next week, we’ll look at herbs and spices to decrease inflammation.
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