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These 5 Natural Appetite Suppressants Can Be Found in Your Kitchen

Social gatherings and celebrations may keep you from staying healthy and motivated, but these natural appetite suppressants could change your eating habits.

A woman with her hand held up saying no to a burger and fries.

Holidays, festive occasions, and dinner parties may find you indulging more than you’d like. This leaves you struggling to prevent weight gain during the holiday season. When detoxing and working out are inadequate, implementing better eating habits may be the solution. And if your cravings become too hard to ignore, appetite suppressants can help you manage your food intake.

You don’t need to head to a pharmacy to purchase diet pills just yet. What you need to curb your cravings may already be in your pantry. Here are some of the most common natural appetite suppressants that can help you regulate your food intake and keep your weight in check.

Vinegar

A bottle of apple cider vinegar with apples
Adding apple cider vinegar to a balanced diet can help you control your food consumption.

Fruit vinegar is especially popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for weight loss as it’s believed to clear phlegm and curb sugar cravings

A 2018 study was conducted by researchers in Iran on the effects of apple cider vinegar and weight loss. They randomly assigned 39 study subjects to follow a restricted calorie diet with apple cider vinegar or a restricted calorie diet without apple cider vinegar for 12 weeks. While both groups lost weight, the apple cider vinegar group lost more. 

Vinegar contains an active ingredient called acetic acid, which, when consumed prior to or alongside meals, keeps food in the stomach for longer. It delays the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. As your meal is being absorbed at a slower rate, vinegar helps you stay full longer.

Remember, though, that the acidic quality of vinegar may irritate the stomach and oesophagus. It can also cause lower bone density and potassium levels, so it’s best to be mindful of your intake.

Coffee

Two people clinking their coffee cups with coffee together
Suppress your appetite with a cup of coffee.

Many can’t begin their day without a cup of joe. Popular for those in need of a pick-me-up, coffee is considered another natural appetite suppressant. A study among rats, published in the journal Metabolism, demonstrated that the rats who were given coffee consumed less food than those who weren’t given this caffeinated drink. The rats who were given Turkish coffee after four weeks of being fed a high-fat diet even had the lowest food consumption. This suggests that coffee can help manage body weight, food consumption, and energy intake among obese patients.

In TCM, coffee is supposed to help regulate qi flow, open the Heart, clear toxins, clean the gallbladder, and warm and move blood when taken moderately.

Coffee can also help improve your cardiovascular health, specifically your endothelial function. The endothelium lines the inside of your heart and blood vessels. This lining helps regulate blood clotting, dilate blood vessels, and aids in your body’s immune response. A study in the journal Vascular Medicine showed that drinking coffee regularly is associated with improved endothelial function among the elderly.

Green Tea 

A flat-lay of a transparent, glass teapot filled with green tea alongside a small bowl of dried green tea leaves.
Green tea is a common drink amongst tea enthusiasts.

Green tea helps with your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories. This effect is due to its caffeine content and the copious amount of catechins in the drink.

It can also suppress appetite due to its effect on norepinephrine and dopamine hormones, known as catecholamines. These activate the sympathetic nervous system, and one effect is a reduction in appetite. Researchers believe that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), one of the most active compounds in green tea, prevents the breakdown of an enzyme that would normally break down catecholamine. 

TCM views green tea, which is bitter and sweet in taste, as cooling. It can help clear food in your digestive system after a heavy meal, eliminate Heat in the body and reduce cholesterol

Fenugreek

Fenugreek tea is poured into a cup next to a small bowl of fenugreek seeds on a white-painted wooden table.
Fenugreek seed is another natural appetite suppressant popular in TCM for medicinal purposes.

Fenugreek is found in South Eastern Europe and West Asia. It has been used as a medicinal and traditional herb in India, Iran, and China for centuries. Its leaves and seeds can be used whole, but they can also be crushed and ground into dry rubs and spice blends.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), fenugreek seeds are used to treat kidney problems, but recent studies have found that the herb is effective when consumed for weight loss. One study in the Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition concluded that fenugreek extract showed excellent anti-obesity and antidiabetic activities.

Oatmeal 

A flat-lay of oats on a wooden spoon and spread across a white wooden background.
Start your day with a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

Another natural appetite suppressant to add to your list is oatmeal. This grain may be high in carbohydrates, but it has many benefits. It reduces hunger, has high fibre content, promotes healthy bacteria in the gut, and lowers blood sugar levels, to name a few.

TCM views oats as a neutral to warm ingredient with a sweet taste. Oats can tonify qi (vital energy) and blood, circulate qi, and calm the spirit. All these benefits are good for weight loss because fat accumulation is due to excess phlegm and Dampness, as well as Deficiencies in Qi and Blood

“Oatmeal suppresses appetite, increases satiety, and reduces energy intake compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal,” states a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. So, if you’re hoping to start your mornings healthily, a bowl of oatmeal might be your best bet.

These appetite suppressants may help keep you from eating excessively. And with a balanced diet and regular exercise, they can help you achieve your health goals. With this in mind, there’s no harm in checking your pantry to see what natural, beneficial treats it may hold. 

This is an adaptation of the article “Appetite Suppressants from the Kitchen”, which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.

References

  1. National Library of Medicine, 2018,  In vitro effect of green tea and turmeric extracts on GLP-1 and CCK secretion: the effect of gastrointestinal digestion [online] [Accessed 8 December 2022]
  2. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2019. Advances on application of fenugreek seeds as functional foods: Pharmacology, clinical application, products, patents and market. [online] Available at <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2019.1635567> [Accessed on 17 November 2022]
  3. National Library of Medicine, 2015, Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) Tea Drinking Suppresses Subjective Short-term Appetite in Overweight Women [online] [Accessed on 8 December 2022]
  4. Journal of Functional Foods, 2018,  Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial [online] [Accessed on 8 December 2022]
  5. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2015. Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial. [online] Available at <https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2015.1032442> [Accessed on 18 November 2022]
  6. Vascular Medicine. 2013. Consumption of a boiled Greek type of coffee is associated with improved endothelial function: The Ikaria Study. [online] Available at <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1358863X13480258> [Accessed on 17 November 2022]
  7. Metabolism. 2022. Is coffee a potential appetite suppressant? [online] Available at < https://www.metabolismjournal.com/article/S0026-0495(21)00290-0/fulltext> [Accessed 07 December 2022]

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