Essential Oils for Weight Loss: Slimming Down With Aromatherapy

Are you eating too much?

woman holding essential oil dropper, vials

Do mindless snacking and late night food cravings play roles in your diet?

If so, you might not be drinking enough water.

Oftentimes, we confuse hunger with thirst, making these little snack breaks the culprit to increasing our daily caloric index. The Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation noted that “37% of people mistake hunger for thirst because thirst signals can be weak.”

A better understanding of how these signals function is conducive to our diet, and the same can be said for essential oils. Adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your water, for example, can help fight cravings, but the health benefits of these oils does not stop there.

From aromatherapy to topical treatments, essential oils can aid in reducing body fat, improving your digestive system, enhancing your overall mood and helping you meet your weight loss goals.

Essential oils are widely used in the food industry to add flavor to products, as well as in the health and wellness sectors.

As people become better educated on their health concerns, the demand for natural health and food products increases. In 2018 Statistica reported that Americans spent $4.74 billion dollars on essential oils — and that figure is expected to surpass $7 billion come 2024.

What Is Aromatherapy?

calendar, vase, plants, reed diffuser

Aromatherapy is a branch of holistic medicine that practices the art and science of essential oils to promote clarity of body and mind. Advocates of aromatherapy apply essential oils topically such as through massage, or through inhalation. When inhaled, the potent scent molecules of essential oils travel up to the limbic system, the region of the brain linked to our emotions and moods.

Some essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus, not only invigorate but also help fight hunger. When added to your drinking water, other essential oils — such as lemon — can melt away fat. Familiarizing yourself with their chemical compositions and various uses can aid in your weight loss goals.

Though considered a pseudoscience, aromatherapy continues to be of interest in the realm of science and medicine, with new studies surfacing each year. In August of 2019, Better Nutrition published an article on the benefits of aromatherapy on teens, praising its efficacy in depression, mental focus, mood, nausea and sleep.

What You’ll Need

woman pouring essential oil into diffuser

One way to practice aromatherapy is through a diffuser. This device disperses essential oils into the air, transforming the ambiance of any room. Diffusers come in an array of models, from ceramic to reed to electronic. The needs of your room will factor into which model you choose.

Due to their high concentration levels, essential oils can irritate the skin when applied topically, and thus should be diluted with a carrier oil. Coconut and jojoba oil, for example, are good options because they also moisturize your skin.

Best Essential Oils for Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, not all essential oils are created equal. Here are the ones that are scientifically proven to help you shed some pounds.

Peppermint Essential Oil

two peppermint leaves

Serving various functions, peppermint oil is one you will want to keep on hand. It effectively suppresses appetite, reduces bloating and combats Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Recently Canada approved the first peppermint oil natural health product for IBS.

Diffusing the air with peppermint oil or adding a few drops to your water will help stave off those hankerings for snacking. Inhaling a few whiffs straight from the bottle affords a boost of energy to get you through the rest of your day or keep you from growing fatigued before or during a workout.

Store a bottle at work for those afternoon lulls. Also, by enhancing mood and energy levels, peppermint oil can replace that second cup of coffee or afternoon frappuccino, keeping your daily caloric index in check.

To Use:

Add a few drops of peppermint oil to a carrier oil, then rub a few drops on to the wrists or behind the neck to remain focused and alert. Just as you would pop a peppermint in your mouth or drink a cup of mint tea when hunger strikes, so can you add essential oil to your drinking water.

Grapefruit Essential Oil

grapefruit slices

Grapefruit oil has a fresh, sunny and uplifting scent. It is an excellent diuretic and lymphatic stimulant, which is one reason why you will find its name listed in the ingredients of many cellulite creams. Additionally, grapefruit oil prevents bloating, improves digestion, enhances fat burning, and reduces appetite — all which contribute to weight loss.

By reducing levels of oxidative stress, grapefruit oil helps to balance the disparity between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. When your body has an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants, it becomes more prone to pathogens, giving way to infections. These infections include but are not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Grapefruit oil also boosts energy and mood, giving your body the pick-me-up it needs during moments of sluggishness. Too tired for the gym after work? Add 2-3 drops of grapefruit oil to water or take a whiff of it straight from the bottle for a burst of energy.

There are over 25 compounds present in the composition of grapefruit oil, with d-limonene constituting the highest percentage at 70%. This compound is used to promote weight loss, circumvent and treat cancer, as well as remedy bronchitis and asthma.

To Use:

Add 4-6 drops in a diffuser to detoxify the room and lift your spirits for whatever the day may throw your way. You can also mix part carrier oil, part grapefruit oil and massage into the body. This application helps to purify the lymphatic system, the network responsible for ridding your body of toxins and intruders.

Lemon Essential Oil

lemon slices

Citrus plants and their extracted oils are widely studied for their potential utility in health and food industries. The refreshing scent also helps to curb cravings.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), “lemon essential oil may be a new potential source as natural antimicrobial and antioxidant agents applied in food systems.” Limonene, which is extracted from citrus peels, is a compound found in lemon oil as well as other citrus oils. It is praised for its ability to melt away fat and cholesterol. You may have noticed limonene dietary supplements on the shelves of your local health and wellness retail store.

In a 2017 study, researchers evaluated the effects of limonene on fish. The fish were divided into controlled groups. Those that were fed a limonene diet resulted in lower levels of triglyceride and cholesterol compared to the group that was not given the limonene supplement.

To Use:

Start reaping the benefits of lemon oil by adding 2-4 drops to water and drink before meals. Inhale it from the bottle for an invigorating charge or add four drops to a diffuser to get you energized and ready for a workout.

Cinnamon Essential Oil

rolled cinnamon

Cinnamon oil regulates the blood system, improves gut health and helps to balance blood sugar levels and reduce cravings to keep you from overeating, all thanks to its unique chemical composition. The presence of linalool, for instance, plays a role in weight loss.

Researchers, in a 2018 study, evaluated the effects of linalool on mice and found the linalool-treated mice “gained less weight and had a significant decrease in blood triglyceride levels.”

To Use:

Add 2-3 drops to water to regulate metabolism and improve your immune system, or add four drops to a diffuser.

Lavender Essential Oil

lavender in a vase

The calming properties of lavender oil improve sleep quality, ensuring you wake up in the morning feeling less fatigued and ready to take on that post-work yoga session.

To assess the effects of lavender oil on sleep, researchers observed the sleeping patterns of healthy college students. Their results — which appeared in a 2018 issue of Sleep and Biological Rhythms, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal dedicated to medical treatments relating to sleep — suggested “improved sleep maintenance, dreaming, and sleep length in subjects who had poor sleep quality.”

To Use:

Add four drops to a diffuser in your bedroom, inhale from the bottle, or apply topically during your nightly routine.

Fennel Essential Oil

three pieces of raw fennel

Fennel oil is a diuretic and helps remove toxins from the body. This effect can contribute to weight loss.
The oil’s chemical makeup contains anethole, an organic compound that improves digestive health and promotes weight loss by suppressing appetite. Its other advantages include its ability to help minimize fat deposits in the bloodstream by using stored energy sources, as Dr. Axe indicates.

Like lavender essential oil, this one also helps you sleep sounder for a longer period of time, which optimizes energy levels and gets your body ready to exercise come morning. You may finally decide to run across that mile you’ve been telling yourself you’d do the following morning, thanks to fennel essential oil.

To Use:

Mix 3-4 drops in a carrier oil and apply to skin to fight snack cravings; add 1-2 drops to dressings or hummus as well as hot tea for digestive benefits, or diffuse 4 drops to induce a restful sleep.

Bergamot Essential Oil

bergamot fruits and leaves

Like other citrus oils, bergamot is rich in limonene, giving off a cheerful, feel-good scent. Its presence of linalyl acetate coupled with polysaccharides enhances mood to keep you from stress eating and reduces hunger cravings, respectively. The latter is often found in dietary supplements and pills. Levels of geraniol, rich in antioxidants, helps to normalize blood pressure.

But perhaps its greatest characteristic is its rich amounts of polyphenols (also found in green tea). This organic compound plays a primary role in metabolic function and thwarts the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.

According to a study published in BioCentral Medicine, a team of researchers surveyed the effects of bergamot essential oil on 1,709 human subjects and 11 animals. After a 180-day trial, they found bergamot oil had an effect “on body weight and in modulating total cholesterol, triglycerides and results in animals showed ‘promising data on glucose control.’”

To Use:

Add to a diffuser or warm bath to relieve stress and relax your nerves, in turn eliminating the need to stress eat during the day or at night. You can also mix a few drops to a carrier oil and massage into the skin for a calming effect. Lastly, Bergamot essential oil can also be added to tea.

Ginger Essential Oil

ginger roots

Ginger essential oil, extracted from nubby ginger roots, serves a plethora of advantages to your health. It can be used as an anti-inflammatory or pain reliever agent. Used topically (and diluted), people who suffer from stiff joints or arthritis can find comfort from this oil, enabling them to take longer walks or spend more time exercising.

Additionally, ginger essential oil helps to improve digestion and remove toxins from your body, aiding in balanced weight.

This year, the Hindustan Times, a newspaper founded by Muhtama Ghandi, published an article praising the benefits of ginger essential oil. As far as the digestive system is concerned, ginger essential oil helps to “eliminate toxins from the stomach, bad bacteria from the gut, boosts digestion and eases the discomfort of stomach and bowels. It is useful for patients with flatulence issues, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation.”

Calling it the “oil of empowerment,” dermatologist Dr. Saurabh Shah praises ginger oil’s potential and its many medicinal uses.

To Use:

To aid in digestion, add 2-3 drops to drinking water or add five drops to a diffuser. You can also mix several drops in a carrier oil and apply to your skin to vitalize your immune system.

Still Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Diet

Though some may posit that the antioxidants found in essential oils have the power to promote weight loss on their own, diet and exercise are the true contenders. When you eat fewer calories than your body burns, you lose weight. When you eat more than your body burns, you gain weight.

Some side effects of essential oils may include but are not limited to allergic reactions, skin irritation, increased rates in heart and blood pressure and respiratory issues. Pregnant women should avoid certain oils such as cinnamon, clove, rosemary and clary sage because they generate contractions. To be safe, it’s best to contact your health care professional.

Adding essential oils, like our 100% pure, organic selection, to your regimen can help you stay on track of your weight loss goals while also promoting healthy sleeping habits and strong immune systems.

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