THE BLOG

The Secret Ingredients to Fat Loss

05/06/2013 17:33 BST | Updated 05/08/2013 10:12 BST
Corbis

These culinary tips will not only help make 'clean' food more interesting and tasty, but will also have a positive impact on your mission to lose fat.

Cinnamon

This spice will improve your insulin sensitivity, making your muscle cells more effective at uptaking sugar instead of fat cells (the opposite effect of diabetes). Cinnamon also contains phytochemicals eugenol and geraniol. These also help maintain digestive function and have potent anti-inflammatory qualities - meaning you will be able to extract all nutrient value from food and be less susceptible to stiffness and able to train more frequently. These, alongside the active ingredient MHCP, increase glucose metabolism by up to 20 times and are also powerful antioxidants.

Try this in morning with porridge if you are insulin sensitive; or adding as part of a cajun marinade with half a teaspoon each of: smoked paprika, garlic powder, celery salt, dried coriander, olive oil and dried thyme. Perfect with oven baked chicken breasts or thighs.

Garlic

This clove has a number of benefits. One of the active ingredients in garlic is the anti-oxidant flavonoid quercetin - which not only helps the liver to detoxify, but also supports the immune system. Remember that a healthy liver is a key component to successful fat loss and optimal body composition (see my last article on this). It also has a strong anti-oestrogenic effect, which is important for both men and women, particularly those who drink alcohol.

Try finely chopping one large clove of garlic, then covering with a sprinkle of sea salt. Leave for 30 seconds and then press down with knife to produce a lovely smooth garlic paste. Next, finely slice a mixed medley of chestnut and Portobello mushrooms. Gently sauté in butter for five minutes, adding half a teaspoon each of dried rosemary and thyme. Add the garlic paste for the final minute of cooking and reduce the heat. Serve with two poached eggs on rye bread.

Ginger

This root contains gingerols, shogaols and zinger1 which have a strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Ginger also has a gentle blood thinning effect (like a natural version of aspirin), which helps improve your circulation. It can however increase bowl acid secretion, so avoid if you have gall bladder issues.

If you're making a true homemade curry, a great base to begin with is equal parts crushed ginger and curry. Then add a combination of cloves, cardamom, fenugreek, coriander, turmeric and cumin for a delicious aromatic curry.

Oregano

Oregano is a super herb for a happy and healthy immune system. It contains thymol and carvacrol which offer strong anti fungal and antibacterial benefits. It is also the herb with the highest antioxidant activity, and contains rosmarinic acid has anti-carcinogenic effects.

Oregano is a fantastic addition to any tomato sauce or tomato salad. It is also lovely with chicken, lemon and garlic as a marinate for lamb.

Tumeric

This Indian spice (particularly it's active ingredient curcumin) was identified in a 2010 study as having antiviral, anti-cancer, anti-oxygent, anti-arthritic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also have a powerful effect on fat burning. How does this occur? It inhibits fatty acid synthase, and decreases fatty acid levels by inhibiting the production of key enzymes; which ultimately impacts your storage of fats. One of the key issues with cucumin is that it does not have a high bioavailability in its natural form. The solution? Combine with olive oil or black pepper to increase uptake into the blood stream.

Try this delicious satay marinade: two teaspoons of ground coriander, one of celery salt, one clove of mashed garlic (see previous recipe), salt and pepper, and one heaped teaspoon of turmeric. Add four large crunches of ground black pepper and one table spoon of olive oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Obvious, but this really is a super condiment. Monounsaturated fat helps to lower LDL cholesterol and raiser HDL cholesterol (bad and good respectively). These oils are the foundation of the famed Mediterranean diet. Oleic acid is a component which is particularly healthy of a heart, whilst phenols are potent anti-oxidants. Dr Michael Goldachre has also stated (confirmed by Oxford University research), that Olive Oil has protective qualities against the development of colon and bowel cancers. Just make sure when buying this essential tool in your fatloss kit, that you buy the first pressed version - it really is worth the money as cheaper versions will have far less of the aforementioned benefits.

The quality of this oil (see my article on fats) means that it should never be used for cooking. Use three parts extra virgin olive oil to one part vinegar (white wine or cider), one part lemon juice, one clove of mashed garlic, and half a part of mustard (wholegrain Dijon or english) for a delicious summer salad dressing.

Whilst some of these points may not seem directly correlated with fat loss, it is far easier to lose bodyfat if your digestive system, joints and immune system are all working as efficiently as possible.