A major scientific review finds that one food is a powerful natural weight loss aid.
Chinese researchers took an in-depth look on studies of ginger and its effect on body weight and overall health. They found that eating even just a small amount speeds your metabolism, helping you burn fat. At the same time, it fights hunger by making you feel fuller.
One study cited in the analysis closely examined the effects of ginger on a small group of men.
Each day, they ate a breakfast of five mini-corn muffins. On half the days they accompanied their breakfast with a cup of orange juice. The other days they drank a cup of ginger tea. It consisted of hot water mixed with 2 grams (¾ tsp) of powdered ginger.
After breakfast, the men completed questionnaires every hour for three hours about how hungry they felt. They were also tested hourly for six hours to determine their metabolic rate and energy expenditure.
On the days they drank ginger tea, the participants reported less hunger. They ate an average of 47 fewer calories than on non-ginger days.
That doesn’t sound like much. But it adds up.
It takes roughly 3,500 calories to produce one pound of body fat. So if the men in the study had ginger tea every morning for breakfast, it would translate to a weight loss of about 5 pounds a year without adding any exercise or making any other diet changes.
Two other studies in the analysis looked at the effect of ginger on rats. One found that overweight animals that ate ginger daily lost weight steadily for 30 days. Another study showed that ginger was as effective for weight loss as the prescription obesity drug Xenical.
That study also found that ginger increased levels of good HDL cholesterol.
The review was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Why Ginger Works for Weight Loss
Ginger increases the thermic effect of food. This means it raises your body temperature and boosts your metabolism. In turn, you burn more calories and body fat.
Ginger contains gingerol. It’s a natural appetite suppressant. Gingerol increases the body’s levels of leptin, the “satiety hormone.” It makes you feel full.
Researchers found that ginger also reduces weight by suppressing cortisol production. Cortisol is a hormone produced during times of stress. It contributes to hunger and causes the body to store fat.
3 Ways to Get Ginger into Your Diet
Ginger—fresh or powdered—is easy to add to your diet. It has no known side effects. Besides contributing to weight loss, some people report that it helps with an upset stomach.
Here are three simple ways to use ginger to lose weight:
- Before meals, chew on a slice of fresh ginger. Not only will it help control your appetite, it will also stimulate your digestion.
- Add grated ginger to just about any dish. Ginger adds flavor to everything from stews to salads to smoothies. To maximize its benefits, don’t cook it for any longer than six minutes.
- Drink ginger tea. You can simply add ginger powder to hot water like they did in the study mentioned above. Or you can buy ginger tea bags.
Keep powdered ginger in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It will last for several months. Fresh ginger root will last in the refrigerator for about three weeks. If you freeze it, it will keep its potency for about six months.
Ginger is a delicious way to help your body maintain a healthy weight.
Editor’s Note: Have you put on weight during the pandemic? You’re not alone. 76% of American adults have added unwanted pounds during the coronavirus crisis.
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