A spoonful a day keeps the fat at bay
Getting rid of stubborn belly fat can be very frustrating, even after working out regularly and making radical changes to my diet I still couldn’t get rid of it. It just wouldn’t go away!
But just consuming a spoonful of certain foods like ginger, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper, among others, can help boost your metabolism by literally heating it up and allowing it to burn more calories. When you include them regularly in your diet, either separately or together you can slowly, but steadily lose fat and effectively keep it away.
Boost Your Metabolism With Ginger
When I started to make significant lifestyle changes including more aerobic exercise three times a week and a few power-walks four times a week, I saw immediate changes and I was ecstatic. With a few exclusions from my diet (little to no processed sugar) and some nutritional changes (more whole grain carbs and less fried food), I was happily rewarded with some weight-loss that fortunately included a couple of inches around my waist.
Little did I know that I would plateau within a few months and my body would stop eliminating that unwanted belly fat, and instead go for the less mortifying inner-thigh and upper-arm fat. I got so frustrated! Luckily, a friend at the gym where I was taking Zumba classes clued me in on a little secret – if you want to lose belly fat faster, you need to heat up your metabolism.
“A spoonful a day keeps the fat at bay”, she said and it stuck with me. She is an avid juicer and holistic food coach who inspired me to do my own research about what the metabolism really is and the foods that help or hinder it.
I learned that the metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that take food and turn it into fuel by breaking it down into proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids.
Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, tends to be more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat (found in thighs and arms) and while it usually starts to be eliminated with diet and exercise, it’s normal for your body to adapt to your new lifestyle and resort to subcutaneous fat for energy.
At first, I didn’t understand what “metabolically active” meant, but simply put it’s how a tissue (fat, muscle, etc.) interacts with the metabolism. Visceral fat interferes with insulin uptake by being collected or clogged in the liver. Therefore, you want to make sure that the foods you consume positively affect your metabolism by helping it do its work better, faster and more efficiently.
Why Ginger helps keep belly fat at bay:
- It is a vasodilator: widening the diameter of veins and arteries, improving circulation.
- It acts like a thermogenic agent: increasing body temperature in small amounts that help burn calories.
- It Is anti-inflammatory: helping with digestion, reducing constipation and associated bloat.
Help your metabolism either by consuming raw ginger, brewed as tea/infusion or in organic supplements. To make your own tea or infusion, simply boil some pieces until you get a dark yellow concoction and either drink it on its own or add lime to it. If you go the supplement route, take a 250g supplement three times a day for a three month period – you need to consume high doses for it to work better. I prefer to go the natural way and have it as a tea infusion before breakfast, mixing it with half a teaspoon of honey and half a lime.
Curb Your Hunger With Apple Cider Vinegar
As you’ve probably gathered by now, foods that constrict or expand blood vessels, aid with digestion or increase heat in the body, affect your metabolism in a positive way and apple cider vinegar is one of them! While there is no definitive research on how apple cider vinegar acts as an appetite suppressant, it is effective at reducing the speed at which sugar enters your blood.
This is fantastic news for people at risk of diabetes or who have had a long-time habit of eating sugary treats; apple cider vinegar can help combat the effects of excessive sugar and restore your body’s natural state.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Helps You Shed Pounds:
- High in Potassium: balancing out sodium making you feel more satiated longer, reduces water retention and bloating.
- Alkaline: sugar, white bread, alcohol and cold meats are highly acidic foods for the body. Apple cider vinegar is alkaline which helps bring down your acidic levels and balance the body’s PH.
- Acetic Acid: not to be confused with high acidity (limes and lemons are acid but alkaline for your PH), acetic acid keeps food in your stomach longer which delays the hormone that makes you feel hungry.
- Pectin: a fiber that comes from fruit and also slows down digestion.
It’s important to note that there is no magic bullet to burning belly fat or staying satisfied longer, apple cider vinegar will help you if you take one to two teaspoons mixed in a glass of water either before each meal three times a day or before going to bed – but it won’t if you just have it right before a doughnut.
Although, some people believe the taste is strong enough to convince you not to eat for at least an hour. Personally, I prefer to have it before bed.
Burn more calories with Ginger, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which attaches itself to the heat receptors in membranes, mucus and skin – that’s how spicy food clears your nose! Through thermogenesis, cayenne pepper heats your body up, helps burn calories, increases the flow of enzymes and improves digestion.
Say Hello to Cayenne Pepper, and Goodbye Excess Fat:
- More Satisfaction: adding cayenne pepper as a condiment to nearly finished meals helps people stay fuller longer, so no overeating between meals.
- Up to 30 Minutes of Raised Metabolic Rate: the heat is real, in fact, if you’re not scared of spices and can handle fresh chili peppers you can heat up your body for almost half an hour after you eat it.
- Better Gut: it’s also anti-inflammatory and helps with the elimination of waste.
- Reduces High Blood Pressure: by also having positive vascular effects with regular consumption.
The good thing about these foods is that they work similarly and even better together, try mixing them up to get their benefits with a more flavourful twist.
Ginger is probably the most palatable of all these fat-burning natural foods, so I like to take a few pieces of ginger and boil them until I get a nice rich infusion out of it, I let it cool and then add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I drink it before bed every day!
Alternatively, you can have this infusion before a power walk as it will help heat your body up from the inside and boost the metabolism as your heart rate goes up.
Find what works for your body
You will see faster results if you combine these foods with a controlled diet and regular exercise, but it’s important that you find what works for you, your body and your routine.
Some ideas to test out while you find your metabolism booster:
- Add ginger water to regular tea and mix it with cardamom and cinnamon for their better taste and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Add slim ginger slices to salads and meals, it is strongest in its raw form but also helpful when cooked.
- Use apple cider vinegar as salad dressing for dark leafy green side dishes (avoid adding lots of salt or oil), heat it up with a dash of cayenne pepper.
- Try adding cayenne pepper to a ginger, cinnamon and cardamom infusion. Let it all boil together then run it through a cloth to consume only the liquid.
- Create separate try-out stages: you won’t see drastic changes in your waistline in a week, instead try each of the foods for at least three to four weeks separately or together and observe your body’s reactions.
- Be mindful of potential food allergies when consuming cayenne pepper.
The good thing about human bodies is that they have the ability to bounce back from pretty much anything, even if you are struggling with lots of excess fat, natural foods and remedies can only be beneficial – worst case scenario you’re making your body less acid, and that’s actually pretty great. Best case scenario you drop some visceral fat and accelerate your metabolism.
Remember, it doesn’t matter where you are starting as long as you do. Start adding new habits slowly but steadily and keep going for at least three consecutive months before you settle on yes or no. You could be pleasantly surprised at the results!