Quick quiz: What’s piperine?
• A nickname for Kate Middleton’s sister
• A compound found in the sweat of Gladys Knight’s backup singers
• A lip balm for professional flutists
• A belly-blasting superfood that comes from the humblest spice of all
New research has shown that piperine—which is released when the waiter from the fancy restaurant uses that giant pepper grinder—has some stunning magical powers. In studies, it has been shown to fight depression, inflammation and arthritis—and help you burn belly fat.
In fact, amazing new research shows that many herbs, spices, and flavorings do more than add some extra kick. Yellow mustard seeds have high levels of anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates; cinnamon has been linked to improved insulin response; compounds in turmeric and horseradish have been shown to impact the behavior of your fat-storage genes.
Better still, recent research has shown that many of these herbs and flavorings actually target belly fat while helping to reduce bloating. Spice rack? That’s a fat-fighting utility belt! Here are the top six spices for weight loss, compliments of the new New York Times bestselling book Zero Belly Diet.
ZERO BELLY SPICE #6
I cannot confirm whether Confucius had a six-pack, but legend has it the Chinese philosopher ate ginger with every meal. And now there’s science to suggest ginger can improve a number of gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition to curing bellyache, a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggests, ginger may have a unique ability to accelerate gastric emptying. To quote the First Lady: “Let’s move!” Freshly grated ginger is delicious in marinades and salad dressings, or pick up a box of ginger tea for a soothing digestif.
ZERO BELLY SPICE #5
Black pepper has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to treat multiple health conditions, including inflammation and tummy troubles. And recent animal studies have found that piperine may also have the profound ability to interfere with the formation of new fat cells—a reaction known as adipogenesis, resulting in a decrease in waist size, body fat, and cholesterol levels. Season your grilled meats and salads with a few grinds, or add some to meals made with these essential 9 best flat-belly superfoods.
ZERO BELLY SPICE #4
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily consumption of capsaicin, the chemical that makes cayenne hot, improved abdominal fat loss. And a second study by Canadian researchers found that men who ate spicy appetizers consumed 200 fewer calories at later meals than those who did not. You can find capsaicin in hot sauce, but just a couple of shakes of some popular varieties can provide nearly 20 percent of your daily sodium limit. For a less aggressive, salt-free kick, try seasoning grilled fish, meats, and eggs with just a pinch of cayenne.
ZERO BELLY SPICE #3
Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that are proven to alter body composition and improve insulin sensitivity. An animal study published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics showed that the addition of dietary cinnamon reduced the accumulation of belly fat. And a series of studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon to a starchy meal may help stabilize blood sugar and ward off insulin spikes. Sprinkle cinnamon in your morning oats and smoothies for a smaller waist, fewer cravings, and appetite control. Speaking of all-natural weight loss remedies, try one of these science-backed 5 best teas for weight loss.
ZERO BELLY SPICE #2
You can think of coriander as a tastier, less expensive version of Pepto-Bismol. Derived from cilantro seeds, coriander contains a unique blend of oils (specifically, linalool and geranyl acetate) that work like over-the-counter meds to relax digestive muscles and alleviate an overactive gut. A study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science found that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) benefited from taking coriander for eight weeks, as opposed to placebo. Ethnic foods that make good use of coriander can aggravate the tummy, but you can still sneak the spice into marinades, salad dressings, and soups for Zero Belly effects. And find out which condiment to avoid in this special report: the 11 “health” foods doctors never eat.
ZERO BELLY SPICE #1
Add mustard to your meal, and feel the burn—literally! Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that by eating 1 teaspoon of prepared mustard (about 5 calories) can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after eating. Not only that, a study published in the Asian Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that visceral adipose tissue of rats fed a diet of pure lard was lowered when the diet was supplemented with mustard oil. The Zero Belly benefits can be attributed to allyl isothiocyanates, phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor. Just be sure you’re heating things up with a pure and low-calorie variety (mustard seeds and vinegar). That means avoiding anything that’s neon yellow or honey-based. And strip away belly fat—and lose up to 16 pounds in just 14 days—while eating the foods you love, with these essential 14 Zero Belly Diet Secrets.
More from David Zinczenko!