It is uncanny how often our sense of smell betrays us. On the morning walk to work, there are probably at least three donut shops and a Thai restaurant on your route, all enticing and inciting you! It's not even lunch yet!
Aromatherapy is not the central ingredient for successful weight loss, but employed in tandem with regular exercise and consumption of whole foods, it can be a very helpful element during the journey. Smell and appetite are closely related in that aromas can stimulate intense food cravings on the spot. But here's the best part: Certain aromas can also reduce cravings and enhance energy levels.
Essential oils have been hailed for thousands of years for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are used in aromatherapy to promote a sense of well-being, power and unity within the body. Essential oils are derived directly from various parts of plants (the roots, seeds, flowers, leaves), and are powerfully complex in their structures. Their fragrances stimulate nerves in the nose, and those nerves send impulses to the parts of the brain that control emotion and memory (the amygdala and hippocampus, respectively).
Note: Essential oils are very concentrated, and are not safe for consumption. Oils are only meant to be used topically, and some may irritate the skin because of their chemistry. If you plan to apply an essential oil topically, remember to dilute it in something else (a teaspoon of water with 3 drops of oil). Otherwise, simply inhaling the fragrance from the bottle will exert enough influence on the central nervous system.
Grapefruit oil, for example, produces astounding effects on the lymphatic system, which aids in detoxification. If you weren't already aware, consuming grapefruits stimulates the production of enzymes in the saliva that help your body break down fat. Smelling a grapefruit also stimulates the production of those enzymes, gastric juices and bile, all of which help break down fat! The oil is extracted directly from the peel and contains limonene, a natural anti-cancerous compound.
Other oils that aid digestion in the same way that grapefruit oil does are lemon, bergamot and cinnamon. Cinnamon oil slows the rate at which glucose is released into the blood, which will reduce future cravings for sugars. Essential oil of lemon improves digestion and gets rid of toxins stored in fat cells. Bergamot oil is packed with polyphenols (the same ones found in green tea) which boosts your metabolism to burn fats and sugars.
For increased energy and increased fat burning, inhaling certain essential oils can be useful. Peppermint, orange, lemongrass and spearmint essential oils will all refresh your senses and boost your energy levels by increasing blood flow to the brain. Some holistic practitioners recommend inhaling minty oils right before a meal to avoid overeating.
To see the weight loss results you're looking for, let your nose help you out. Inhaling certain scents will curb your appetite, boost your metabolism, control blood sugar spikes and enhance the digestive process. Indulging in aromatherapy will not only enrich your sense of well-being and calm, but it will further connect how your brain relates to the real world. Although scientific research into the benefits of essential oils is still ongoing, adding some aromatic oils to your daily routine could address the psychological components to weight loss.
>> Read more: 6 Scents That Relieve Stress