Dreaming of the easy fix seems to be human nature. Unfortunately, the magic ingredient that will burn fat while we sit on the couch and eat potato chips has not been discovered yet. But lemon, ginger and cumin all have some medicinal qualities and might be a boon to your diet. If you eat them -- and exercise regularly, and eat a varied, nutritious diet containing a reasonable amount of calories -- you just might lose weight.
Lemons and Weight Loss
Lemons may actually help burn fat, according to the Daily Mail's website. Lemons increase the absorption of calcium and the more calcium in a fat cell, the more fat the cells burn. Lemons are one of the three ingredients, along with cayenne and maple syrup, of the perennially popular Master Cleanse diet. More recently, health writer Theresa Cheung authored “The Lemon Juice Diet,” which claims that lemon juice and lemon peel boost your detox and digestive systems. The fibrous pectin in the peel may keep your stomach from absorbing sugar as quickly, and the fruit's acid may stimulate stomach juices. According to Cheung, squirting lemon juice on at least one meal per day will help fight fat.
The rhizome, or underground stem, of the ginger plant is used as both a medicine and a spice. It has been used as a digestive aid at least since ancient Greek times. This may be because ginger has thermogenic properties, a heating effect that may boost your metabolism, according to the 2012 issue of "Metabolism." Ginger is also used to treat headaches, motion sickness, colic, nausea, loss of appetite, morning sickness and diarrhea.
Cumin is a strongly flavored spice, native to the Mediterranean but used in dishes from Asia to Mexico. The seeds are actually little fruits. Amber is the most common color for cumin, but it also comes in white and black. One tablespoon contains 22 calories, 12 of them from fat. It also contains small amounts of potassium and protein and adds a lot of flavor in a few calories.
Losing Weight with Lemon, Ginger and Cumin
While there’s not enough scientific evidence to firmly establish claims that these flavorings will lead directly to weight loss, you can still use them for your reducing diet. All three of these spices are strongly flavored. If you cut your use of oil to a minimum, adding spices like ginger and cumin will replace some of the flavor you lose when you reduce fat. Better yet, dice fresh ginger and steam the chunks along with cauliflower, carrots or other vegetables. Splash on lemon juice instead of butter, sprinkle with cumin, and you’ll have a low-calorie, flavorful and nutritious dish.
- Kitchen Dictionary: Cumin
- Daily Mail: Lose Weight for Christmas with the Lemon Juice Diet
- National Institutes of Health: Ginger
- Metabolism: Ginger Consumption Enhances the Thermic Effect of Food and Promotes Feelings of Satiety Without Affecting Metabolic and Hormonal Parameters in Overweight Men: A Pilot Study
- Agribusiness Week: Ginger Medicine from the Farm
Teresa Bergen writes about fitness, health, yoga, travel and the arts. She is the author of "Vegetarian Asia Travel Guide" and has written hundreds of articles for publications online and off. Bergen also teaches yoga, spinning and group fitness classes, and is an ACE-certified personal trainer.