|Source: Simon A. Eugster|
Coming back to European cooking, rosemary is another possible fat fighter. In an animal study, mice were given either a low-fat diet, a high-fat diet on its own or a high-fat diet supplemented with rosemary extract. Compared to the high-fat diet alone, supplementing with rosemary extract reduced weight gain, circulating liver enzymes, liver weight, blood glucose and insulin levels. This means rosemary extract may protect against fatty liver disease and diabetes. Rosemary extract also significantly reduced advanced glycation end-products and the expression of liver receptors for them. These are hard-to-remove substances that get tangled in tissues, disrupting their structure and function while creating a vicious cycle of damage and inflammation. They are thought to be behind much of the aging process. However, this is only an animal study, we need human clinical trials to confirm these benefits.
Now let's go somewhere in between these two regions, Iran. Dill is a now-common herb used in cooking and medicinally for its effects as an aromatic digestive herb (Phytotherapy Desk Reference). Now, a recent study on mice suggests that dill extract could also help with the often-elusive willpower needed to cut excessive kilojoule intake. A significant drop in body weight and food intake was seen over five weeks of dill seed extract administration, alongside a significant rise in serotonin. Serotonin promotes a sense of satiety; if you have enough serotonin, you know when to stop eating. As this was another animal study, we need human clinical trials to confirm these effects in people. Overall, herbs and spices may be an important missing link in your efforts to lose weight, although extracts available from natural health practitioners seem to be the only products of the necessary strength.