There is no doubt that regular exercise and good nutrition can go a long way in helping with weight loss and in keeping healthy. However, did you know that to lose weight you need to be in the right psychological state in addition to be being physiological prepared?
It is indeed a body and mind tête-à-tête. Hormones, genetics and emotions all play a major role enabling one to attain their fitness goals. It goes without saying that if any of these factors are out of balance, losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be double the epic battle it already is. Sometimes, you need an extra boost in addition to your regular healthy eating and exercise regimen.
Using Essential Oils for Weight Loss
Essential oils are arguably the oldest healing and therapeutic compounds, dating as far back as 6,000 years. Generation after generation from the early Egyptian to Indians, Chinese to the Greek, Africans to Romans attest to the healing power of the aromatic and hydrophobic liquids that are essential oils. These historically therapeutic oils are typically derived from fruit, flowers, herbs and roots.
Today, there is an abundance of empirical studies showing the psychological and physiological benefits of essential oils. These studies have found that uses such as aromatherapy can aid in relieving stress, pain and mental distress by simulating the parts of the brain responsible for these emotional and psychological experiences.
The olfactory glands, which interact with the brain, are capable for perceiving over one trillion smells. When the nose inhales the aroma from essential oils, the olfactory glands interact with the hippocampus and amygdala, the parts of the brain responsible for emotions. It also sends neuropathic messages to the parts of the brain concerned with physiological processes such as regulation of stress and blood pressure, heart rate, motivation, learning and focus.
One of the reasons why losing weight and keeping it off can be so difficult is the psychological and physical barriers that the body and mind have to battle with. Using essential oils alongside your regular exercise and nutritional plan can aid in alleviating the effects of slow metabolism, poor digestion, low energy, unhealthy cravings, low motivation and diet fatigue. Eliminating these symptoms or barriers could be just what you need to reach your weight loss goals.Here are the best essential oils for weight loss:
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemmon essential oil has a fresh, uplifting scent. Using this essential oil has been shown to alleviate mood swings, boost energy, slow down weight loss and relieve pain.Lemon contains limonene, a compound with fat–dissolving properties. Studies show that when used with grapefruit essential oil, lemon oil boosts the process of lipolysis (Niijima & Nagai, 2007).
Lemon oil also works to improve mood and to boost energy by increasing the levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that stimulates the flight or fight instinct. This hormone also boosts oxygen supply in the brain, thereby improving cognitive function, blood flow and heart rate, all processes that are necessary in the optimal functioning of the body’s muscles.
Let’s face it: If you are feeling any discomfort such as pains or aches, you would rather rest than hit the gym. Aloisi et al (2002) found lemon oil to have pain-alleviating properties; apply the oil on affected muscles or joints to ease any pain that is keeping you from exercising.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil has a tantalizingly sweet aroma. Other than its antiseptic properties, grapefruit oil has been shown to be effective at minimizing unhealthy cravings, increasing metabolism, boosting body endurance and energy, and reducing the accumulation of fat around the abdomen.
Using grapefruit essential oil for weight loss works through the nootkatone compound, which naturally occurs in grapefruit. This compound triggers the production of the AMPK enzyme, which is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism rate and energy levels by stimulating the liver, brain and skeletal muscle. Murase et al (2010) found that the interaction between AMPK and nookatone resulted in reduction in body fat, reduction in rate of weight gain and an uptick in body endurance.
Other studies involving lab rats showed that when the subjects ingested grapefruit at least thrice a week for 15-minute there was a recorded weight loss and reduction in appetite (Shen et al., 2005).
Research has shown that the main component in grapefruit, limonene, causes lipolysis, the process in which the body breaks down and dissolves protein and body fat.
Peppermint Essential Oil
The intense and minty properties of peppermint are what make it such a popular essential oil. Menthol is a major component of peppermint and serves to cool and calm the body. Using peppermint oil boosts mood, increases mental alertness and energy, helps in digestion and suppresses appetite.
Peppermint is especially popular for its capacity to treat digestion issues. Other than that, this essential oil works well to relax the muscles. When used with caraway essential oil, peppermint oil can minimizing bloating, allowing the proper flow of bile and ease the stomach’s muscles (Goerg & Spilker, 2003).
In other studies, Moss et al (2008) found that subjects who breathed in peppermint demonstrated greater alertness, were calmer and had better cognitive function.
In their study, Reed et al (2008) found that participants who breathed in peppermint aroma after a period of two hours felt hungry less frequently and consumed much lower calories compared to those who did not inhale the essential oil.
Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot essential oil has an assortment of scents including spicy, tangy and sweet. This essential oil has been shown to improve mood and boost energy.
Several studies show that depression and anxiety can trigger unhealthy eating. This vicious cycle can prolong for the worse making weight loss all the more difficult.
Other studies have however found that inhaling bergamot oil for just 15 minutes can boost energy and improve emotional wellbeing. Researchers tested participants’ saliva for cortisol, a stress related hormone, and found that cortisol levels were much lower in participants who inhaled bergamot oil (Watanabe et al., 2015).
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the Cinnamomum tree and is much loved due to its sweet and welcoming fragrance. Cinnamon oil works to minimize inflammation, regulate levels of blood sugar and improve sensitivity to insulin.
Insulin aids in breaking down fats and carbohydrates and enables the absorption of blood glucose by storing it as fat or converting it to energy.
When insulin resistance occurs, i.e. the body cells fail to respond to insulin, the body stores fat instead of breaking it down to energy. This results in weight gain and worse still, makes weight loss an uphill battle. Insulin resistance could also lead to high levels of blood insulin and blood sugar, which could predispose one to Type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon essential oil can increase insulin sensitivity as well as blood glucose absorption. As many as 25% of people in the US suffer from metabolic syndrome , a combination of disorders including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Individuals who are genetically predisposed to obesity have been found to have inflammatory cells. However, cinnamon essential oil can alleviate the production of these cells, which could in turn slow down weight gain and therefore allow actual weight loss.
Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel essential oil is extracted from fennel seeds to produce a miracle oil with a sweet earthy scent. Using fennel oil can help to minimize appetite, improve digestion, mitigate weight gain and boost restful sleep. This essential oil has been found to boost the production of melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in regulating circadian rhythms or the wake and sleep patterns.
Studies have also found that melatonin can aid in mitigating weight gain by enabling the creation of beige fat as opposed to white fat. Beige fat burns off to become energy while white fat is stored in the body for later use as energy (Hur et al, 2006).
As early as the Middle Ages, funnel seeds were used as appetite suppressants. A scientific study on the effects of fennel oil for rats found that after inhaling fennel oil two times for 10 minutes for a period of eight weeks, the rats consumed fewer calories and digested food significantly faster.
Other Essential Oils for Weight Loss
Admittedly, empirical studies on the effectiveness of essential oils are still in their infancy sages. However, there is growing interest in aromatherapy and other therapeutic benefits of essential oils. The next few years will certainly see more substantial studies and findings pertaining to these healing oils. Meanwhile, people are using many other essential oils and reporting positive results.
Some of these miracle oils include celery seeds, cypress, tangerine, ginger root, spearmint, sandalwood, cloves, orange, rosemary, patchouli , mandarin, lemon grass, hyssop, tangerine, eucalyptus, laurel, ototea, jasmine and rose geranium.
To enjoy the benefits of essential oils:
Inhale the oil from a bottle for about five minutes
Fill a room with fragrance using an aromatherapy diffuser
Use an essential oils necklace for on the go aromatherapy
Infuse bath water with a few drops of essential oils and soak in the water for at least thirty minutes
Mix the essential oil with a carrier oil and massage it all over the body concentrating on the arm, thighs, abdomen and other areas that are likely to store excessive fat
Tips on Using Essential Oils For Weight Loss
It is important to be cautious when using essential oils due to their highly concentrated nature.
One of the best ways to tap into the benefits of essential oil is to inhale the oils –aromatherapy is safe and effective. However, when using essential oils typically, it is recommended that you dilute it with a milder career oil to prevent allergic reactions.
It is also a good idea to perform a patch test on a small area of the skin to see how you react to the oil for at least 24 hours before applying it all over the body.
Some essential oils are phototoxic, especially those extracted from citrus fruit. If you use these oils, it is recommended that you avoid contact with direct sunlight for at least 18 hours.
Essential Oil Set for Weight Loss
If you'd like to put my tips from above in to action, this Done-For-You Set of high quality Essential Oils is the perfect fit! It includes the essences of Peppermint, Juniper Berry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot and Ginger. They are known for there high efficiency for burning fat, boosting metabolism and losing weight.
- Set Contains 6 Essential Oils
- strict Quality Control
- 100% Therapeutic Grade
- No additional Ingredients
For more content on the use of essential oils, take a look at our post on best essential oils for wrinkles or our roundup of oils for sinus headaches.