Hey everyone! It’s Shira here, your LaurenConrad.com nutrition contributor. Now that it’s officially fall, it’s time to say goodbye to watermelon salad and chilled gazpacho, and hello to roasted root veggies and pumpkin curry. Fall is all about bold, warming spices; a key player of which is known as as pumpkin pie spice. But some autumnal spices do more than just add flavor and activate nostalgia: A handful of them actually help keep extra pounds off.
Below are five of my favorite metabolism boosting spices, along with my all-time favorite pumpkin pie muffin recipe (low-sugar and gluten-free!). So take a peek below and get ready to spice things up…
This antioxidant powerhouse is loaded with capsaicin, the same compound that puts the heat in hot chilies and peppers. Studies have found that capsaicin may temporarily kick the metabolism into high gear, resulting in increased calorie burn.
This aromatic spice adds an acidic and slightly sweet flavor to dishes. Research has found that cinnamon actually helps move glucose into cells, thereby curbing insulin (the fat-storage hormone) surges after a meal.
A close relative to ginger, turmeric is a staple in East Indian cuisine. The yellow pigment comes from curcumin, a phytochemical that directly counteracts inflammation in the body. Curbing inflammation improves the body’s receptiveness to leptin, a key metabolism-signaling hormone. I’m a huge fan of whipping up a turmeric-tahini dressing with apple cider vinegar, ginger, and coconut aminos.
Citrus-like and piney, sweet and bitter…nutmeg brings complexity to sweet and savory foods. This rich spice is high in eugenol, a phytochemical also found in cloves and allspice. New research suggests eugenol may inhibit enzymes involved in glucose metabolism, thereby encouraging fat breakdown.
Allspice is oftentimes the warm peppery kick in barbeque sauce, Jamaican jerk chicken and pumpkin pie. This spice is enriched with manganese, a powerful antioxidant important for mediating inflammation in the body.
Pretty interesting, right? Now that you know which spices will do a body good, here’s one of my favorite recipes that tastes amazing and will keep your metabolism going all day long…
Shira’s Nutritionist-Approved Pumpkin Pie Muffins
- 15 oz. can unsweetened pumpkin puree (I’m a fan of Farmer’s Market)
- 2/3 cup whole oat flour (I’m partial to Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice)
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
- Preheat oven to 425º and line 12-cup muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, coconut milk and 2 eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, and then the flour mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 1/3 full.
- Bake at 425º for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350º for an additional 30 minutes.
- Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, and chill in fridge for 30 minutes. And enjoy!
What recipes do you love making in the fall?