Natural Weight Loss Remedies
This page takes a look at some natural weight loss remedies, such as natural supplements for weight loss, herbs, and essential oils. Causes
and signs of obesity will also be discussed.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 60 percent of American adults are overweight and 25 percent are obese. In addition, about 25 percent of American
children are overweight or obese.
Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern. Being obese poses a lot of health risks on the body. Obese people are prone to common health problems such as
constipation, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. They also tend to develop degenerative diseases such as heart problems, certain cancers, diabetes, arthritis,
high blood pressure, strokes, kidney problems, gallstones, liver disease, and so on.
Doctors often use the body mass index (BMI) which is a formula based on your height and weight to determine if you are obese.
Here is how to calculate your BMI:
Interpreting the Results:
- Multiply your height (in inches) by .025
- Square the result obtained in #1 above
- Multiple your weight (in pounds) by .45
- Divide the number obtained in #3 by the number in #2
Besides having a BMI higher than 30, a person is considered obese if he has a high waist-to-hip ratio (indicating that fat is centered around the waist). Generally,
for men a ratio of .90 or less is considered safe. For women, .80 or less is considered safe.
|18.5 - 24.9
|25.0 - 29.9
|30.0 and higher
Signs of Obesity
Signs and symptoms associated with obesity include:
- Weight gain and fat deposition
- Increased sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleep apnea
- Back pain
- Always feeling hot
- Rashes or infection in folds of the skin
Causes of Obesity
The main causes of obesity are:
- Unhealthy Diet and Eating Habits: Eating high-fat, high-calorie foods and drinks causes weight gain. As well, skipping breakfast and
eating a big meal at night can contribute to weight gain.
- Lack of Exercise: Sedentary people do not burn as many calories as active people.
- Genetics: Your genes may influence how much fat your body stores and where it is stored. Genetics also makes it more difficult for some
people to lose weight than others. However, genes alone do not cause obesity.
- Age: People gain weight as they get older, because they tend to be less active and lose muscle mass.
- Certain Medications: Some medications, such as corticosteroids, blood pressure medication, diabetes medications, and tricyclic antidepressants,
can lead to weight gain.
- Medical Problems: Sometimes, obesity is due to a medical problem, such as Cushing's disease, or hypothyroidism. Conditions such as
osteoarthritis cause people to be less active, which can lead to weight gain.
- Psychological Issues: Some people overeat when they are upset or stressed.
Natural Weight Loss Remedies
The best natural weight loss remedies should be a combination of dietary management, exercise, and the use of some herbs and natural supplements to help burn fat and
Many studies have also found that both acupuncture and acupressure can improve weight loss. Acupuncture is believed to promote weight loss by stimulating points on the
body that boost serotonin levels. (Higher serotonin levels are thought to suppress appetite.)
Of course, if obesity is caused by an underlying health issue, such as hypothyroidism, the health problem has to be properly treated.
Natural Weight Loss Remedies - Herbs
- Green tea: It has been shown that the chemical substances, polyphenols, in green tea extract increases thermogenesis, the ability of the body
to burn fat. Green tea is also an antioxidant that helps detoxify the body. You can take 1500 mg of green tea extract, or drink several cups of green tea every day.
- Plantain or Psyllium: Plantain is a leafy plant, and psyllium is the seed of the plant. It has been found that the weight-loss effect of
plantain and psyllium is related to the mucilage in the seeds and to the polyphenols in the leaves. Products such as Metamucil contain psyllium. Just mix a teaspoonful
with juice or water and have it before each meal.
- Cayenne: Preliminary evidence indicates that capsaicin (the substance that makes chili peppers spicy) may help to increase metabolic rate
and burn fat, particularly when eating a high-fat diet. Therefore, hot, spicy foods may help be effective in keeping your weight down.
- Bladderwrack: If your weight problem is caused by sub-optimal thyroid activity, this herb can help. Recommended dosage is 100 mg twice a day.
Natural Weight Loss Remedies - Nutritional Supplements
Below are some nutritional supplements that are commonly used as natural weight loss remedies. Note that these supplements alone, without dietary changes and sufficient
exercise, probably cannot have significant effect on weight loss. Talk to your doctor before using these supplements.
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): 5-HTP is believed to reduce carbohydrate cravings by boosting serotonin levels in the central nervous system,
which may reduce appetite and lessen food cravings. Recommended dosage is 100 to 300 mg three times a day.
Note: DO NOT use 5-HTP if you are taking antidepressants or herbs and supplements with antidepressant effects (such as St.-John's wort and SAMe).
- Pyruvate: Pyruvate is a substance that occurs naturally in the body, where it is converted to lactic acid. Some studies have shown that
pyruvate aids weight loss when combined with a low fat diet and exercise, possibly by increasing the body's metabolic rate. Recommended dosage is around 25 gm a day.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): CLA is a fatty acid. Some studies have shown that CLA may help to control weight by reducing body fat composition
and enhancing lean body mass. Consult your doctor about this supplement for weight loss.
- 7-KETO DHEA: 7-KETO DHEA, also known as 3-acetyl-7-oxo- dehydroepiandrosterone, is a natural metabolite of DHEA. It stimulates liver enzymes,
promotes basal metabolism, and helps to maintain a leaner BMI (Body Mass Index). Recommended dosage is 100 mg two times a day.
- Chromium: Chromium is a popular supplement among bodybuilders and those trying to lose weight and build more lean muscle mass. It is believed that
chromium helps with blood-sugar balance and sweet cravings. Recommended dosage is 300 mcg twice daily.
Natural Weight Loss Remedies - Aromatherapy
Essential oils can be used as natural weight loss remedies in various ways.
Some essential oils, such as bergamot, can blunt hunger pangs. You can just hold a vial of bergamot oil under your nose and inhale.
Some essential oils can help with digestion. If you have had too much to eat (e.g. during Christmas time), here is a good formula to help you digest the foods.
Mix the above oils together and add one to two drops of the oil mixture to a cup. Add a teaspoon of honey and hot water. Stir well and sip the drink slowly.
Finally, if you tend to overeat when you feel stressed or down, try to lift your mood by essential oils instead of sugar! Mood-lifting essential oils include
lavender, rose, orange, and geranium.
- 10 drops of Mandarin oil
- 5 drops of Lemon
- 3 drops of Coriander
- 2 drops of Ginger
- 2 drops of Peppermint
Natural Weight Loss Remedies - Homeopathy
Studies on using homeopathic remedies as natural weight loss remedies are scarce, and it seems that there is no single or combination homeopathic remedy that helps with
weight loss. However, if you consult with a holistic practitioner, he may be able to design individualized homeopathic therapy that can help you to lose weight by
addressing issues that are causing your weight gain, such as metabolism, digestion, elimination, and stress.
Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
J.A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperback, 2002).
V.A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991).
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