Parties and large meals leave pleasant memories of joyful laughs but also ... a few extra pounds and an increase in cholesterol and triglycerides. How to counteract the effects of delicious dishes, really tasty but, alas, often too rich in fat and sugar? To do this, however, it is certainly not necessary to go on a strict diet by depriving yourself of everything. The important thing is to always follow a healthy and varied diet and ensure an active lifestyle. And the rest is done by some drinks, foods and spices that should not be missed, capable of stimulating the metabolism and reducing body weight gain, the accumulation of visceral fat and blood lipids. But let's try to understand better on the basis of the most recent scientific research.
Cold days make you want to stay at home and sip herbal teas. And if these infusions, in addition to warming up, also help you get back in shape, then they are even more pleasant. Several studies indicate that tea, green, oolong and black, helps reduce body weight and fight overweight and obesity. This action is due to the presence of antioxidants in tea, and in particular epigallocatechin gallate in green tea, another type of catechin, called EGCG3 Me, in oolong tea and the theaflavins in black tea. The mechanism by which these antioxidants are able to fight obesity is still not clear, but a recent theory puts forward the hypothesis according to which these antioxidant substances interact at the intestinal microbiota level, stimulating the release of short-chain fatty acids, with an anti-inflammatory action and capable of counteracting visceral fat and obesity, also increasing energy expenditure (Rothenberg et al, Molecules, 2018).
Perfumed spices against excess fat
Sweet and fascinating scents, aromas of spices that can be added to herbal teas, yoghurts or culinary preparations, able to give taste but also important anti-obesity properties. For example, half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day, for 3 months, has been shown to reduce body weight but also waist circumference and fat mass with an even more effective action in case of obesity (Mousavi et al, Clin Nutr, 2020). And what about star anise tea. This drink has been shown to counteract weight gain, even in the presence of a high-fat diet. Not only that, star anise tea has also helped reduce cholesterol and triglyceride values as well as counteract the damage of free radicals thanks to the powerful antioxidant action (Iftikhar et al, Antioxidants, 2022). The herbal tea is prepared in this way. In a saucepan, pour a cup of water and two pieces of star anise. You can also add half a cinnamon stick. Bring everything to a boil, then turn off the heat and let it rest for ten minutes, then filter and drink. Another spice that can be beneficial is cardamom. Cardamom, in addition to being carminative and tonic for the stomach, therefore useful in case of big binges that have left the stomach a little upset, also helps to counteract the effects of a diet high in sugar and fat, as the one followed in recent weeks. In fact, cardamom reduces glucose intolerance and the accumulation of visceral fat, the increase in cholesterol and triglycerides and inflammation of the liver (Rahman et al, Lipids Health Dis, 2017). You can crack 2-3 cardamom pods and add the seeds to the star anise and cinnamon in the herbal tea recipe just seen. Or, alternatively, you can add a pinch of cardamom powder to your preparations, such as rice, vegetables or soups. Avoid consumption in case of allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding and kidney stones.
The spicy that fights obesity
Chili pepper contains capsaicin, its active ingredient which also gives it its characteristic spiciness. Well, capsaicin has been shown to counteract the accumulation of visceral fat in case of overweight or obesity (Zheng et al, Biosci Rep, 2017). You can therefore add a pinch of chilli to your preparations, sauces and vegetables, always without exaggerating. Another ingredient with a spicy note is ginger. Adding ginger to one's diet, both in the form of herbal tea and grated on culinary preparations, has been shown to reduce body weight, triglycerides and bad cholesterol (Maharlouei et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2019).
To lose weight, don't eliminate all fats
After a few too many gluttony sins we are all in a hurry to get back in shape and the first idea that comes to mind is to completely remove all fats. But a good choice is instead to limit only some fats, such as those contained in butter, margarine, red meat and cured meats, and instead favor foods containing good fats, such as fish, especially sardines, mackerel, herring or high quality salmon. In fact, the omega 3 fatty acids in these foods protect the heart from cardiovascular risk, fight inflammation and support vascular function (Jung et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2008). Not only that, omega 3 fatty acid intake has been shown to increase body weight loss and abdominal fat reduction in obese people following a weight loss diet and lifestyle (Salman et al, Nutr Hosp, 2022). Even extra virgin olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is to be preferred. In fact, it has been shown that extra virgin olive oil, in addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, stimulates energy production and therefore fat loss (Soares et al, Br J Nutr, 2004).