A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential components of any weight loss regime. However, modern life is busy, and not everyone is able to stick to a strict diet ALL the time. It can be even more difficult to fit in a regular exercise program.
If you’ve ever been on a diet, you’ll know how hard it is to avoid certain foods and count calories. Then there’s the challenge of keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it!
Fortunately, the secret to sustained weight loss is not as complicated as you might think. In fact, many have been provided by Mother Nature herself.
Although it’s still important to eat well and exercise where possible, the good news is that there are other ways to keep your body burning fat around the clock. In fact, it may be as easy as supplementing your daily diet with certain herbs and plant extracts.
Herbs have a long history in traditional medicine. The use of plants and extracts predate allopathic medicine, and for good reason. Scientific evidence now shows that certain herbs are not only as effective as pharmaceutical drugs, but carry fewer side effects. Most herbs are safe, natural and proven beneficial.
Why A Healthy Gut Helps Weight Loss
Gut health plays a key role in weight loss. When embarking on a weight loss program, it’s essential that your gut and metabolism are functioning efficiently. Calories are burned much more quickly when your gut is processing food properly. This also means that your gut is intrinsically linked to your fat-burning mechanisms.
A healthy gut helps in:
- Preventing Cravings: Imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to physical and psychological cravings due to the influence of this bacteria on our self-control. Cravings for sweet starchy foods are a sign of poor gut health, typically Candida overgrowth.
- Fat-burning: Bacterial imbalances such as dysbiosis disrupt hormone production, causing the thyroid to become less efficient. This in turn causes the metabolism to become sluggish, slowing your ability to burn fat.
Herbs and Extracts for Weight Loss and Gut Health
Turmeric is a bright orange spice commonly used throughout Asia to flavor curries and other dishes. Turmeric’s secret is its curcumin content, which is well-known to traditional herbalists as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. More recently, turmeric has been revealed as an effective treatment for inflammatory conditions of the gut, and has many benefits for improving gut health. More importantly, turmeric is a proven weight loss aid!
A 2009 study found that Curcumin harbors impressive antifungal properties. Researchers investigated the efficacy of Curcumin against 23 strains of fungi and discovered that Curcumin was able to completely inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, as well as a number of other fungal strains.
Curcumin was also found to top Candida from adhering to cells in the gut. Candida albicans overgrowth is extremely disruptive to gut health, causing an imbalance of bad bacteria and a host of inflammatory symptoms in the gut. This particular study concluded that, in concentrated supplements, Curcumin is even more potent than pharmaceutical antifungal drugs such as fluconazole.
Curcumin’s potency as a weight loss aid has made it even more famous in recent years, with evidence of its impact on overweight people suffering from metabolic syndrome. In a 2015 study, a group of overweight adults were supplemented with curcumin for 30 days. Incredibly, their weight loss was increased from 1.88 percent to 4.91 percent, and their total body fat reduction rate dropped from 0.70 percent to 8.43 percent.
Even more notable is that the subjects suffered no ill-effects from the curcumin, which can be typical of commercial weight loss products.
Curcumin is also one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories, which means it is an invaluable remedy for digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It also helps to reduce the effects of hormonal imbalance, joint pain and other symptoms. Curcumin is best absorbed with black pepper, which is why it is often taken with Bioperine, a patented extract derived from black pepper.
Moringa is a tropical tree native to India. It produces drumstick-like pods that contain the Moringa fruit, which is known for its incredible health properties. A number of nutritional and medicinal benefits have also been attributed to its roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seed.
Studies have shown that moringa is able to speed weight loss due to the biological activity of its four Moringa Isothiocyanates (MICs). A study published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research claimed that these therapeutic MICs have been shown to cause significant reduction in weight gain when administered to overweight mice.
The mice, which were fed a high-fat diet, were supplemented with 5 percent moringa concentrate for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, the mice had not only gained less weight, but had lower levels of blood sugar, insulin cholesterol and inflammatory markers. The mice also showed improved lipolysis, which meant they were better able to break down dietary fats.
The study concluded that moringa was an effective supplement for reducing weight in obese individuals, and could be used to help manage risk factors for metabolic syndrome. This effect is due to the active ingredient moringa isothiocyanates (MICs), which are thought to be potent anti-obesity and anti-diabetic bioactives.
Moringa’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms mean that it also harbors benefits for gut health. Traditional medicine has called on Moringa to treat stomach ulcers, liver disease, fungal or yeast overgrowth (including Candida) and digestive disorders. Moringa has been shown to boost liver function, which in turn aids digestion. Increased liver function is essential for speeding detoxification and metabolism.
More importantly, the MCIs in moringa contain antibacterial agents which fight pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori is a particularly harmful infection which can lead to stomach ulcers, acid reflux and even cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
As an added bonus, the moringa plant is also high in fiber, which provides a source of prebiotic ‘food’ for the healthy bacteria in the gut. Fiber also improves stool formation, allowing for better elimination.
Curry Leaves (Murraya koenigii)
Although named for their culinary use, curry leaves are far more than an ingredient in Indian cooking! Popular in Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves are believed to harbor a variety of
therapeutic properties thanks to their carbazole alkaloids content. These compounds range from anti-diabetic and antioxidant to antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting.
Research has now shown that the leaves of the curry tree – known as Murraya koenigii – can reduce obesity and blood lipid levels. An Indian study conducted on rats highlighted the therapeutic effects of an important alkaloid found in the stem bark of the tree, called mahanimbine. When fed to rats on a high-fat diet, mahanimbine was shown to significantly reduce the rats’ body weight gain.
Not only that, their total cholesterol levels and triglycerides were significantly reduced. The researchers suggested that mahanimbine is an effective anti-obesity treatment, and could go a long way in preventing weight gain caused by the Western diet.
Traditionally, the leaves of Murraya koenigii have featured in the Indian diet as a means of improving appetite and digestion. Curry leaves are used as digestive stimulant and also as a carminative, thanks to their ability to relieve digestive issues caused by inflammation, spasms and cramping. The leaves, root and bark are also thought to reduce nausea and relieve constipation.
Another interesting study on rats showed that Murraya koenigii can protect against gastrointestinal upset suffered by those with diabetes. These upsets are generally caused by disruptions in glucose levels. The curry leaves were found to improve intestinal transit time and relieve irritation in the smooth muscles of the distant colon.
It also helped to control blood glucose levels and provide antioxidant protection against cholinergic neurons. This suggests that moringa is a valuable supplement for those suffering from diabetes with impaired gastrointestinal function.
Curry leaves are also an important medicine for the liver, which is one of the most important organs involved in gut health. Curry leaves contain an antioxidant known as kaempferol, which helps to protect the liver from damage caused by free radicals.
Bioperine (Black Pepper Extract)
Bioperine is patented extract derived from the fruit of the black pepper tree. BioPerine® is shown to enhance absorption of nutrients by at least 30%, maximizing the body’s ability to utilize herbal extracts.
The heat of black pepper is due to the biological activity of its active compounds, namely piperine. As a patented extract, BioPerine is contains a minimum of 95% piperine and has been used to enhance the bioavailability of therapeutic compounds and nutrients for over 20 years.
Clinical studies have shown that piperine significantly improves the bioavailability of Curcumin. When 2000mg of curcumin was administered with 20mg of BioPerine, bioavailability was enhanced by 2000%. This compares to the bioavailability of curcumin alone at doses when given at dosages within safe limits.
Bioperine is a valuable addition to any supplementary formula, providing a much higher chance of uptake and therefore more noticeable benefits.
Lecithin is a compound of tissue membranes that occurs naturally in the human body. Lecithin is produced by the liver and contains a variety of nutrients including B vitamins, choline, inositol and phosphoric acid, along with some linoleic acid. As sunflower seeds are a non-GMO product, sunflower lecithin is a preferred alternative to soybean lecithin. Another benefit of sunflower lecithin is that extraction process used in obtaining lecithin doesn’t require harsh chemical solvents such as acetone and hexane.
Sunflower lecithin is rich in important phospholipids including Phosphatidylcholine (PC), Phosphatidylinositol (PI) and Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). All of these lipids have vital benefits for the cell membranes and the lining of the gut, as well as the brain and nervous system.
Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is second most abundant phospholipid in humans, and a key building block of membrane bilayers.
The high content of polyunsaturated fat in sunflower lecithin makes it a potent source of Omega 6 fats. Polyunsaturated fats have been shown to alter the lipid profile in the blood, reducing levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and increasing ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL). The linoleic acid in sunflower lecithin helps to reduce cholesterol by removing excess fats from the bloodstream, namely triglycerides and free cholesterol.
The choline in sunflower lecithin also helps the body metabolize fats more effectively. Choline is a neurotransmitter phospholipid involved with a huge array of bodily functions.
Choline supplementation is an effective way to reduce leptin levels, body fat and overall body mass index, as shown in a 2014 study on athletes. When a group of athletes were supplemented with choline tablets in the week before competition, they experienced rapid and significant weight loss compared to athletes taking a placebo.
Their average body fat loss was 10.2%, and BMI change was 12.17%. As a result, choline is recommended as a safe and effective means of rapid weight loss prior to athletic competition.
Speed Weight Loss With Herbal Extracts
Important as they are, diet and exercise alone are not always enough to lose weight and keep it off. Supporting a weight loss program with natural herbal extracts is not only effective, but can provide a much needed ‘boost’ for those who have tried unsuccessfully to shift stubborn pounds.
The proven benefits of turmeric, moringa, curry leaves and sunflower lecithin in speeding weight loss make them a powerful component of any weight loss program. Each plant extract harbors unique properties that have been shown to reduce body fat and increase metabolism, contributing to faster weight loss.
Best of all, the anti-inflammatory activity of each extract helps to repair gastrointestinal damage that may be hindering weight loss in the first place.
This incredible blend of extracts promises to not only help you lose weight, but set you on the path to looking and feeling better from the inside out!