When it comes to weight loss, these potent plants, spices and even algae could give you the boost you need to tip the scales in your favour. Read on to discover our favourite weight loss herbal remedies…
1. Chlorella: the algae that detoxes your body for healthy weight loss
Granted, algae doesn’t sound like the most appetising thing to add to your cooking. However, chlorella, a type of freshwater algae, is fast becoming a well-known weight loss herbal remedy. It not only adds a splash of colour to dishes, but has a host of health benefits, too.
‘Chlorella helps boost energy, supports fat loss and helps you detox from heavy metals,’ says Holly Zoccolan, an holistic lifestyle and nutrition coach. Chlorella is rich in vitamins C and B12, iron, zinc and magnesium, as well as the naturally occurring phytonutrient chlorophyll. When dried, nearly half its weight is protein, which is twice as much as spinach. It also contains nine essential amino acids.
Millions of people take it daily in Japan already. One Korean study found that chlorella helped shrink fat cells and block the production of new ones. In another Korean study, it was found to reduce levels of lipids (fats) in blood serum.
While more research is needed, chlorella is low in calories, rich in nutrients and high in protein. This makes it a great addition to any diet regardless. ‘You can easily take chlorella in supplement form via a tablet or as a powder added to smoothies or simply mixed with water,’ says Holly.
Or why not make the soup below? Created by functional nutritionist, chef and author, Christine Bailey, this provides lovely, warming boost on cold, winter days…
Broccoli, fennel and pear soup
This is a beautiful, light yet creamy soup – perfect for detox days. The addition of pear provides a natural sweetness and is rich in pectin, a soluble fibre to support bowel health.
- Olive oil 1 tbsp
- Onion 1, chopped
- Garlic clove 1
- Broccoli 150g, chopped
- Fennel bulb 1, chopped
- Vegetable stock 600ml
- Pear 1, cored and chopped
- Chlorella powder 1tsp
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan andsauté the onion and garlic for a couple of mins.
- Add the broccoli and fennel and stir to coat in the oil. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-25 mins until the vegetables are tender. Place the soup in a blender with the pear and chlorella powder, and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
2. Hibiscus: the weight loss herbal remedy that stabilises blood sugar levels
Hibiscus extract has been shown to inhibit obesity and fat accumulation. A small human study found that those taking hibiscus extracts saw reduced body weight, BMI, body fat and waist-to-hip ratio.
The study attributed the effect to the polyphenols found in hibiscus, with consumption of the plant having a particular effect on reducing abdominal fat.
‘Hibiscus is loaded with antioxidants. Some compounds found in hibiscus have been shown to support weight loss and stabilise your blood sugar levels, too,’ says Holly. She recommends adding hibiscus into your routine by drinking the tea or taking a hibiscus supplement.
Try Vahdam Hibiscus Rush Herbal Tea Tisane (£15) is a blend of hibiscus petals and tropical fruits to create a mix of sweet and tart notes. It is perfect for any time of day as a weight loss natural remedy – and tasty tea!
3. Pineapple: the viral weight-loss remedy that inhibits fat cell multiplication
Not only is pineapple a great-tasting snack, but it’s also a great weight loss herbal remedy (it even went viral on TikTok for its weight-loss properties!).
This is mainly down to the bromelain content, which has been shown to exhibit an ability to modulate the multiplication of fat cells. ‘Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme, which helps break protein molecules in the body,’ says Holly. The breaking down of protein molecules also helps with digestion.
Proper digestion can increase metabolism and help reduce bloating, further aiding weight loss goals. ‘As pineapple aids digestion, it may help with weight loss by keeping your digestive system moving regularly,’ adds Holly.
But it’s not just bromelain doing all the hard work. Pineapple is filled with manganese, which regulates the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates in your body.
Finally, pineapple consists of 86 per cent water, so it’s hydrating. When a person is dehydrated, they often mistake it for hunger. Therefore, being hydrated can help tamp down on overeating.
4. Turmeric: the golden wonder spice that kick-starts fat loss
You no doubt already know about the many health benefits turmeric can provide. But this wonder spice isn’t done yet. Recently, researchers have started to examine turmeric’s role as a weight loss herbal remedy.
Test-tube studies suggest that curcumin – the main active ingredient in turmeric – may suppress particular inflammatory markers that play a role in obesity. These markers tend to be elevated in people with excess weight or obesity.
‘Turmeric is known to contain powerful compounds, which help boost fat loss,’ says Holly. She recommends adding turmeric and black pepper to your meals. This is because black pepper enhances your absorption of curcumin.
What’s more, a 30-day study in 44 people who were previously unable to lose weight found that supplementing twice a day with 800mg of curcumin and 8mg of piperine (a compound found in black pepper) led to significant reductions in body weight, BMI and waist and hip circumference.
Furthermore, a review of 21 studies in more than 1,600 people worldwide noted there was increased levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate your metabolism.
Try Together Health Curcumin Complex (£9.99). It contains whole turmeric powder, including a potent extract of 95 per cent curcumin. The antioxidant formula also includes black pepper extract for better absorption.
5. Capsaicin: spice things up to detox and promote healthy weight loss
Capsaicin is what makes your mouth feel hot and can be found in a range of peppers. It is also the active ingredient in cayenne pepper. Researchers believe capsaicin is a thermogenic chemical and it’s this that may help speed up your metabolism and decrease your appetite.
A 2014 study showed that people who consumed red pepper with every meal felt increased feelings of fullness and had fewer cravings. This potentially led to a decrease in caloric intake and an increase in weight loss.
‘Capsaicin has been shown to provide detox support in your body, reduce inflammation and support your metabolism. Therefore, it may help with weight loss,’ says Holly. Meanwhile, another study found that women who ate fresh chilli pepper raised their metabolic rate for up to 30 minutes after consuming it.
In addition to increasing your metabolism, cayenne pepper itself is thought to help you burn calories because it’s spicy. When you eat a spicy pepper, your body’s temperature rises. Consequently, your body goes into cool down mode, causing your body to burn calories.
A study from 2011 found that people who didn’t like spicy food had better weight loss results when they started taking cayenne capsules.
You can add capsaicin to your diet in a few ways. ‘Capsaicin can be taken as a supplement or by adding spicy peppers and cayenne pepper to your meals,’ suggests Holly. However, cooking with pepper every day may be difficult. Instead, consider buying powdered cayenne pepper. Try adding it to smoothies or a protein shake!
Try Solgar Cayenne 520 mg (£11.25 for 100 capsules) is one way to ensure you get all the goodness contained in this spicy pepper. Take one vegetable capsule a day.