In part two of our spotlight on essential oils for Aromatherapy Awareness Week, we take a look at how some of these incredible oils can help you shift excess weight and burn body fat.
By Eva Gizowska
Did you know essential oils can help you reach a healthy weight? ‘Alone or in combination, essential oils offer stimulating, appetite-curbing benefits that can be used when cravings hit,’ says Dr. Eric Zielinski, author of The Essential Oils Diet (£18.99). ‘Certain oils can also help you burn fat more effectively. The top four to support weight loss are grapefruit, lime, peppermint and cinnamon. Other beneficial oils are orange, lemon, tangerine, clementine, mandarin and neroli.’
The way these wonder oils work is by promoting your body’s ability to burn fat. They also help you on a psychological level. ‘Inhaling essential oils has a direct effect on both body and brain,’ says Dr Zielinski.
‘If you use food to help you deal with stress, essential oils can help you improve your mindset. For example, orange oil can help alleviate low mood, making you less likely to reach for junk food to cheer yourself up.’
Another helpful oil is peppermint, which is a natural energiser. Inhaling the aroma helps increase lung capacity so you take in more oxygen and feel more energised. Once you start feeling less stressed and more relaxed, you’ll be more inclined to take better care of yourself.
Grapefruit oil to help burn calories
‘A Japanese study published in 2014 reported that inhaling grapefruit essential oil reduced appetite and helped break down fat by encouraging thermogenesis, which is the burning of calories to produce body heat,’ says Dr Zielinski.
‘In one study, it was shown that inhaling grapefruit oil for 15 minutes, three times a week, helped control food cravings and hunger, so participants ate less and lost weight.
‘And a Korean study found that when postmenopausal women massaged their abdomens daily for six weeks with a combination of grapefruit and cypress essential oils (diluted with carrier oil) it led to decreased belly fat, waist size and cellulite.’
Lime essential oil to help suppress appetite
Deliciously scented lime essential oil has been shown to suppress appetite and promote weight loss. Dr. Zielinski recommends adding one drop to coconut yoghurt (250ml pot) or a 200g portion of guacamole.
NOTE: In the UK, doctors and aromatherapists don’t advise ingesting essential oils, as they are not liscenced to do so, and neither are doctors here.
Peppermint to aid digestion and reduce food cravings
Peppermint is well known for its ability to aid digestion as it has a soothing, anti-spasmodic effect on the gut. Some studies have also shown it may alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
‘In terms of weight management, inhaling peppermint oil can reduce or eliminate food cravings and help you feel full,’ says Dr. Zielinski. ‘It’s particularly effective when you get PMS cravings for chocolate and sweets.
‘Peppermint oil also has a natural energising effect that may encourage you to exercise.’
Cinnamon oil to balance blood sugar
This essential oil can be extracted from the bark or leaves of the plant. ‘Cinnamon leaf oil contains more of the chemical compound eugenol, which has a natural anti-inflammatory effect so is often used to relieve pain,’ says Dr. Zielinski. ‘Cinnamon bark oil contains more cinnamaldehyde and camphor, which are both potent antioxidants.’
Several studies have shown that cinnamon bark oil helps to reduce fasting blood sugar levels (including amongst adults with type 2 diabetes). ‘Cinnamon oil also contains cinnamic acid, which has the potential to stimulate healthy insulin production. Both high and low blood sugar levels are associated with increased weight gain.’
Relax to stay slim
Eating when you feel stressed can be one of the causes of being overweight. If this sounds like you, try lavender essential oil. It may help you lose weight by reducing anxiety and a tendency to use food to help you cope.
- Dab 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue. Or, add 20 drops to an aromatherapy inhaler. Take a few deep breaths of the soothing lavender aroma whenever you feel stressed
- Alternatively, try Kalms One-A-Day Capsules. These contain lavender essential oil and may help to alleviate the symptoms of mild anxiety, stress and nervousness.
Use peppermint oil to motivate yourself to work out
Regular exercise (ideally 30-45 minutes a day) is essential for good health and to maintain a healthy weight. Peppermint oil can help boost your energy and motivation to make sure you work out.
1) Keep a small rollerball or bottle of peppermint essential oil with you for an instant pick-me-up. Try Tisserand Peppermint Organic Pure Essential Oil.
You can also use peppermint and lavender oils to alleviate sore muscles after exercise.
- Mix 6 drops of peppermint, lavender, copaiba and wintergreen essential oils in a small container with 30ml jojoba oil. Rub into aching muscles after you exercise for instant relief.
Try these essential oils to boost your weight loss
For appetite-suppressing grapefruit: doTerra Grapefruit Essential Oil.
For a shot of zingy lime: Tisserand Lime Organic Pure Essential Oil
For blood sugar balancing cinnamon bark: doTerra Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
For metabolism-boosting black pepper: Tisserand Black Pepper Organic Pure Essential Oil.
Also, try doTerra Smart & Sassy Metabolic Blend, which contains cinnamon, grapefruit, lemon, ginger and peppermint essential oils to reduce cravings and promote healthy metabolism.