This week, we again look to the Nutrisystem reviews and the natural world to help us with weight loss. Looking at the body holistically, we can pinpoint three areas in which herbs and food can help us balance our bodies and lose weight–by increasing our metabolism, stimulating our digestion, and regulating our elimination.

The big three for metabolism: Ginseng, Cayenne, and Seaweed.

There are so many energy busters in our culture, from lack of sleep to a reliance on caffeine and sugar to stress and environmental toxins. Often, by the time we get around to exercising or thinking about making a healthy, veggie-filled meal we are wiped out. Ginseng is a great addition to your daily diet. It is an adaptogen, which means that it goes where it is needed in your body to increase energy, and reduce stress–whether that is physical, mental, or both. The result is increased stamina in daily life. Ginseng is safe for most people but it can interfere with certain drugs since it stimulates the central nervous system, so always clear its use with your doctor first.

Another, fairly mild metabolism stimulant is cayenne. It works by raising your internal temperature and helping the body burn calories. Creating a diet that uses cayenne every day–by adding a pinch to soups, dips, eggs, beans, and most dishes can add a boost that is noticeable. Taking cayenne in pill form can also be effective. Along with increasing metabolism, cayenne is great for stimulating elimination and cleansing the intestines.

The third factor to look at in terms of metabolism is the function of the thyroid. When it is sluggish it tends to slow metabolism and it is often a bit sluggish in many people due to stressed adrenals and environmental and food toxins. Adding seaweed to your diet, in the form of supplements or added in soups, made into sushi rolls, or eaten as salads can increase thyroid function. It also is soothing to the endocrine system, high in trace minerals, soothing to the digestive system, and good for hair, skin, and nails. It is high in fiber and filling as well.

Digestive Stimulants: Your ability to digest food well is paramount for regulating eating. The inability to digest well leads to malabsorption of vital nutrients-leaving your body craving vitamins and minerals, craving food even if you don’t need the calories.

Think of your body like an oven that needs to be stoked in order to burn–what stokes that fire? Bitter herbs such as gentian, dandelion, wormwood, white aspen bark, and mugwort all stimulate the digestion by increasing peristalsis and increasing the production of bile in the gallbladder. To regulate digestion, using alfalfa juice or aloe vera juice is wonderful. Both are very toning and contain digestive enzymes. Taking a supplement of pancreatic enzymes also helps alkalinize your digestive system.

Getting Rid of It All: Proper elimination is the third key to weight loss. Most of us don’t eat enough fiber and so our food sits in our intestines and colon for much longer than it should, leaching toxins back into our body. Increasing the fiber in our bodies also helps us feel more full.

Raw or lightly cooked veggies, whole grains, and legumes to your diet is an immediate way to increase fiber. Avoiding juice and drinking water helps. Using bran in baked goods and whole wheat flour and added psyllium husks can really act like sandpaper to your intestines, sweeping out the old and cleaning the pipes. Remember to stay away from artificial laxatives or even very powerful natural ones like senna because they can become habit-forming. The key is to get your body moving on its own and supporting it in this process.