Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in aromatherapy to not only produce calm and lower irritation in patients, but also to promote healthy energy and increase health. The way they work is through stimulating different parts of the brain to elicit different bodily responses. Although scientific research is slow to begin studying this phenomenon, many studies are beginning to show a great deal of promise to this ancient practice. For fat-loss, here are 5 essential oils you should be exposing yourself to on a daily basis.
Cinnamon has been shown to heighten insulin sensitivity in the brain. The reason this is good is because when a lot of sugars are consumed, as they are with the typical Western diet, the body responds with something called “insulin resistance,” which means the body begins to store fat rather than burn it. This can, and often does, lead to Type 2 diabetes due to high blood sugar and elevated blood insulin levels. Along with raising the insulin sensitivity back to ordinary levels, cinnamon increases the body’s rate of blood glucose uptake, meaning blood sugars stay at acceptable levels. It also inhibits the body’s production of inflammatory cells, which could be a key factor in preventing weight gain.
Peppermint is a muscle relaxer (due to its being 70% menthol, the active ingredient in most muscle salves) and has been used for centuries as an aid for indigestion, which it does through easing the stomach muscles, reducing bloating and aiding the movement of food through the body. Peppermint is also an appetite suppressor, and those who inhale the essential oil periodically throughout the day experience lower levels of hunger and consume fewer calories, making weight loss much easier.
Lemon contains limonene, a chemical that is known to cause lipolysis, a process whereby body fat and protein are broken down and dissolved. Of course, this will lead to fat loss throughout the body. This oil also acts as a mood booster, alleviating negative feelings that could lead to oversnacking, and raises norepinephrine, which boosts blood oxygen levels to make the brain, heart, lungs and muscles to work faster and stronger and makes workouts that much easier.
This also contains limonene, which makes it an ideal candidate for fat loss. In addition, grapefruit oil contains a natural chemical compound called nootkatone. This stimulates AMPK—an enzyme—which controls energy levels and the metabolic rate, resulting in increased endurance, decreased body fat and reduced weight gain.
Fennel oil aromatherapy has been shown in rats to reduce appetite, resulting in fewer calories consumed and a faster rate of food digestion. This makes sense, as fennel has been used for hundreds of years to suppress appetite on days of fasting. It is also a natural source of melatonin, which not only helps the body to maintain its natural sleep cycle, but also has been found to reduce weight gain through the body producing more “beige fat” which quickly burns off as energy and less “white fat” which is stored for long-term energy.
When something has been around for thousands of years and has been utilized by thousands of cultures from different parts of the world, it can be generally assumed that they are on to something. Whether your weight gain is due to emotional eating, a slow metabolism or you suffer from a sweet tooth, using the right essential oils could help get you on the right track for your weight loss goals.