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7 Spices That Boost Metabolism and Cut Fat

These spices are nutritional powerhouses.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Spices not only make even the most bland food delicious, they hold many health benefits, and some even boost metabolism. If you're looking for spices that not only give your cooking an edge but also help you lose weight, certain ingredients may make a difference. "Spices do more than boost flavor; they also provide health benefits without adding extra calories. Rather than rely on salt and sugar to flavor food, try a concoction of your favorite spices to make meals more nutritious," says Colorado State University's Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center. Here are key spices that not only taste good but may boost metabolism and encourage fat-burning.



Cinnamon has a compound called cinnamaldehyde that affects metabolism. "Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it," says Jun Wu, PhD, from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute. "So if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to."


Turmeric powder and fresh turmeric on wooden background.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. "Curcumin has many biological activities, not all of which are understood," Mary-Eve Brown, R.D.N., C.S.O., L.D.N., tells Johns Hopkins. "Like other colorful plant-based foods, turmeric is rich in phytonutrients that may protect the body by neutralizing free radicals (pollution, sunlight) and shielding the cells from damage."


Chili powder and fresh and dried peppers on table background

Cayenne contains capsaicin, which may act as a thermogenic chemical, using heat to boost metabolism. "Capsaicin is also found in chili peppers that help speed metabolism," Tracie Cavalier, RDN, LDN, CNSC, tells Ochsner Health. "The heat raises our body temperature temporarily, increasing our metabolism by 15% to 20%. The hotter the pepper, the higher the metabolic burn. Capsaicin is also known to suppress your appetite and helps cut the cravings for fatty, salty foods. It also helps your brain release endorphins."

RELATED: 15 Quick Ways to Lose Body Fat Percentage in a Week


Ginger root and ginger powder in the bowl

Ginger is known to aid digestion and boost the metabolism. "Just adding 2 grams of ginger powder in hot water and drinking it with a meal may help you burn up to 43 more calories," Tracie Cavalier, RDN, LDN, CNSC, tells Ochsner Health. "It promotes a feeling of fullness, decreases hunger levels, and calms the digestive tract. You can take supplements or add ginger powder to your meals to get the benefits. Check out a few drinks that improve digestion here."


Ground cumin in a bowl and whole cumin

Cumin has been shown to boost metabolism and aid weight loss. "One study even found that it was as effective as the weight-loss drug Orlistat. If that weren't reason enough to add it to your spice rack, it has also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides," Karen Ansel, M.S., RDN, tells


Fenugreek seeds on metal plate, spice, culinary ingredient. Fenugreek seeds in wooden spoon on textured background. Fenugreek seeds in a spoon and on a table.

Fenugreek is high in fiber, which helps with satiety. "High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer," says the Mayo Clinic. "And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food."

RELATED: 7 Morning Routines That Help Shed Weight Quickly


Fresh rosemary herb on the dark background. Top view rosemary

Rosemary may help with weight loss, experts say. "Rosemary is naturally rich in carnosic acid, a substance that keeps the pounds off by inhibiting the formation of fat cells," Karen Ansel, M.S., RDN, tells It also helps muscles soak up glucose, helping lower blood sugar levels and potentially moderating hunger."

💪🔥Body Booster: Spices offer many benefits beyond weight loss. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more