14 Herbs and Spices that Could Fight Intense Sugar Cravings!
Many foods contain sugar, which has a bittersweet reputation.
When we consistently satisfy sugar cravings by eating sugary foods, our weight loss efforts get stalled and our health suffers.
Processed foods are high in added sugar and lack vital nutrients.
What leads to sugar cravings?
Sugar cravings are common, but what stimulates them? Several regions of your brain play a crucial role in craving sensation.
Sugar activates the opioid receptors in your brain, triggering your neurological rewards system. As a result, you repeatedly desire your favorite sweets.
Several factors play a role in sugar cravings. Some include:
- Chronic Dieting. When dieting, most people cut calories, thereby creating a severe deficit. This deficit leads to unstable blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is erratic, it leads to intense sugar cravings.
- Stress and Depression. These feelings can aggravate the yearning for sugary food. Stress also affects cortisol, a hormone that increases the body’s blood sugar and insulin levels.
Cutting the sugar craving may seem impossible, but it’s not!
Fight Intense Sugar Cravings with These Herbs and Spices
Below we discuss how some herbs and spices could be beneficial in reducing or eradicating sugar cravings.
This natural and warming sweet spice has been used for centuries for many reasons, though mostly medicinal. Cinnamon contains various polyphenol compounds that are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. These compounds may reduce oxidative damage to cells and tissues in the body, thereby reducing exposure to chronic diseases. Oxidative damage contributes to Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and many other conditions.
How does cinnamon reduce sugar cravings? Cinnamon possesses polyphenols that could regulate glucose (i.e., blood sugar), which is crucial to curbing sugar cravings.
Cinnamon also contains blood-thinning properties that may increase blood flow and circulation. As a result, improved blood flow to the muscles and organs may boost metabolism.
Despite all these potential benefits, caution is needed as too much cinnamon, especially cassia cinnamon could be problematic for the liver. Cassia cinnamon contains a higher amount of a compound called coumarin, which is problematic for the liver. Additionally, if a person has diabetes or pre-diabetes, they must discuss using cinnamon with their doctor.
Cultivated in India, the Mediterranean region, and North Africa, fenugreek seeds may treat ailments ranging from anemia and stomach disorders to diabetes and heart health.
Standardized Fenugreek extract may regulate blood sugar and insulin levels in people with diabetes. Because it contains glucose-regulating features, there is an indirect relationship between fenugreek supplementation and decreased sugar cravings.
An ingredient in curry powder, turmeric is the spice of the moment. One of the golden, traditional uses of this spice in Ayurvedic medicine is its potential to help people with diabetes control blood sugar.
The substances in turmeric, called curcuminoids could influence blood sugar levels by blocking alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that converts starches and table sugar to glucose (blood sugar).
By blocking this enzyme, sugar absorption is delayed or reduced, keeping blood sugar stable, and potentially preventing or reducing sugar cravings. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are used in type-2 diabetes treatment to stop the enzyme from digesting starches and table sugar.
Modern research discovered that curcumin or turmeric helps lower blood sugar in diabetic animals and humans.
One of the more popular and widely used herbal medicines worldwide, ginseng has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
This adaptogen root is considered a powerful immune booster. It may reduce the risk of certain cancers, relieve stress, and improve mental well-being and performance. Ginseng’s class of compounds, known as Ginsenosides, could reduce oxidative inflammation and stress.
Ginseng may be an effective blood sugar stabilizer because it could lower fasting blood sugar and postprandial (i.e., after meal) glucose levels.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger may regulate blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity. It may also reduce inflammatory processes, chronic pain, nausea, and cholesterol levels. It can be added to a smoothie or brewed into a tea with a little bit of raw honey, turmeric, and fresh lemon.
Frequently used in pumpkin pie, custards, eggnog, curries, punches, and baked goods, nutmeg has anti-inflammatory substances that benefit our health. One such benefit is its potential to work as an antioxidant.
For sugar cravings, nutmeg has mild Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) compounds. MAO inhibitors block enzymes that break down serotonin and other neurotransmitters, thus increasing their availability. Low serotonin triggers carbohydrate and sugar cravings.
This spice contains piperine, a compound that aids in the treatment of ailments from gastrointestinal problems to arthritis.
When added to certain herbs, it increases the body’s ability to absorb them better (e.g., turmeric).
In addition, black pepper contains chromium, a mineral that regulates blood sugar, thereby potentially reducing sugar cravings.
This spice produces sweet, spicy, and savory tastes, similar to mint. Cardamom tea during the day may keep the cravings away by suppressing the α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzymes. These are enzymes that break down starches and convert them into blood sugar.
This mechanism regulates glucose metabolism, which provides an anti-diabetic effect on the body. Thus, regularly consuming cardamom may reduce sugar cravings.
Cloves are a versatile warming and sweet spice with vitamins C and K, minerals like calcium and manganese, and antiseptic and antioxidant properties.
Studies show they could lower pre-and post-meal blood sugar levels.
Cloves may also regulate blood sugar by improving insulin secretion and enhancing insulin-producing cell activity.
Mint is warm, and refreshing, and comes in different varieties. It contains substances that could reduce cravings for sweets. It works best by mixing it with your chosen blend of herbal tea, whether spearmint, peppermint, or others. You can also steep it, pick it, dry it, or even use fresh mint.
When searching for something both sweet and stomach-settling after dinner, try peppermint tea. It comes from dried peppermint leaves and has a relaxing impact on the stomach, potentially calming it after a meal. It also helps fight sugar cravings.
Tulsi, also called “holy basil,” has been used for its medicinal features by Indian and Sri Lankan people for centuries. It is considered a multi-purpose remedy for fighting colds and the flu, improving the immune system, and purifying blood.
Popular medicinal properties include blood-sugar regulation and stress reduction.
Studies suggest tulsi for hypoglycemia (i.e., low blood sugar) and diabetes treatment due to its potential to moderate and reduce blood sugar.
The leaves from this South African herbal tea come from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis. Rooibos tea is caffeine-free and is an alternative to black or green tea. The antioxidant in rooibos, Aspalathin, may regulate blood sugar by improving impaired glucose tolerance and increasing insulin sensitivity.
One 2009 study with mice showed aspalathin’s potential ability to assist with type-2 diabetes by “stimulating glucose uptake in muscle tissues and insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells.” These functions are particularly important in regulating sugar cravings.
Bitter Melon Tea
Bitter melon tea was a go-to remedy for lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure in ancient China. The belief originates from the millennia-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) scripts that generations have relied upon and tested for many years.
According to researchers, bitter melon also possesses phenolic compounds that are antiviral and antimutagen (i.e., any substance that suppresses a mutagen).
Chinese medicine practitioners use Bitter melon for blood sugar regulation because it could fight sugar cravings. Additionally, a few limited studies show it contains compounds that may mimic insulin’s ability to lower blood sugar.
As discussed, many different teas could help fight intense sugar cravings. Drinking them enables you to take advantage of their many health benefits, including potentially reducing or eliminating annoying sugar cravings.
It’s not recommended to consume many teas around the same time, but rather one or two.
If any of these teas pique your interest, you must evaluate them for potential drug interactions. Consult your doctor, who may advise against consuming them if you are pregnant or nursing or have low or high blood sugar.
Reducing sugar cravings is just one small piece of the weight loss puzzle.
Eat less sugar – you are sweet enough already!
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