It can be difficult to lose weight, especially if you have a health condition that makes it hard to maintain an active lifestyle. If you need help losing weight naturally, you should follow a balanced diet and avoid heavily processed foods.
You can also try to lose weight with the help of a versatile and beneficial plant: aloe vera.
Aloe vera is often used in various health products because it has medicinal properties. It’s commonly used topically to heal burns and promote skin health, but it can also be used to treat different conditions.
Aloe vera is edible and is used as the main ingredient in juices, herbal supplements and diet drinks that can help promote weight loss.
Aloe vera and potential benefits for weight loss
Aloe vera helps promote weight loss in two ways: by boosting your metabolism and supporting blood sugar control.
Aloe vera can boost metabolism
According to some studies, aloe vera could help boost your metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day.
Findings from a 90-day study revealed that giving dried aloe vera gel to rats on a high-fat diet reduced body fat accumulation by increasing the number of calories they burned.
Data from other animal studies suggest that aloe vera could affect the metabolism of fat and sugar in the body while also preventing the accumulation of belly fat. While animal studies on aloe vera are promising, continued research can help determine the potential benefits of aloe vera for promoting weight loss in humans.
Aloe vera can improve blood sugar control
Aloe vera may help improve blood sugar control. This means it may also help increase weight loss.
According to a study, consuming capsules containing 300 to 500 mg of aloe vera twice daily significantly reduced blood sugar levels in 72 volunteers diagnosed with prediabetes.
In a separate study involving 136 people, researchers reported that taking an aloe vera gel complex for eight weeks successfully reduced body weight and body fat. Aloe vera also helped improve the participants’ sensitivity to insulin, a hormone involved in blood sugar control.
These findings are crucial because improving blood sugar control can prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. In turn, this prevents symptoms like increased hunger and cravings that may cause unhealthy snacking and weight gain.
Considerations before using aloe vera
While most people can safely use and consume aloe vera, it has been found to cause digestive issues like diarrhea and stomach cramps in some people.
Aloe vera can be used as a laxative to promote regular bowel movement. However, excessive use of aloe vera can also increase your risk of negative side effects, such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Note that while aloe vera’s laxative effects may reduce water retention, the resulting loss of water weight is temporary and is not a healthy or sustainable weight loss strategy.
Additionally, aloe vera may reduce the absorption of certain medications. Consult your physician before using aloe vera if you have underlying health conditions or are taking prescription medications.
Some commercial aloe vera products may contain a compound called aloin, which has cancer-causing effects. The compound is found in non-decolorized, whole leaf aloe extract. While most aloin is removed during processing, it is unknown if commercial aloe vera products are completely devoid of it.
Never eat commercial aloe vera skin gels and products because they may contain ingredients and additives that aren’t safe for human consumption.
All products containing aloe vera latex, a substance found in the leaves of the plant, have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of safety concerns.
How to use aloe vera for weight loss
Aloe vera leaves have three main parts: The skin, latex and gel.
You can consume aloe vera gel. Either grow an aloe vera plant at home or buy organic aloe leaves from the grocery or a farmer’s market.
Follow the steps below to make aloe gel at home.
You will need:
- An aloe vera leaf
- A knife or vegetable peeler
- A small spoon
- A blender
- An airtight container for storage
- When using a fresh aloe leaf, cut off one of the outer leaves from the base of the plant.
- Thoroughly wash the leaf and remove any visible dirt. Stand the leaf upright in a cup or bowl for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the yellow-tinted resin to drain out of the leaf. This resin contains latex, which can irritate your skin. Do not skip this step.
- After the resin has drained completely, wash off any remains on the leaf.
- Peel off the thick skin using a small knife or vegetable peeler.
- Once the leaf has been peeled, you will see the gel. Use a small spoon to scoop it into your blender. Be careful not to include any pieces of the aloe vera skin.
- Blend the gel for several seconds until it’s frothy and liquefied. The gel is now ready for use. Aloe vera gel will last for about one week.
Add aloe gel to green smoothies, fruit shakes, salsas and soups to give your meals a superfood boost and promote weight loss.
Aloe vera skin is also generally safe to eat. The skin has a mild flavor and a crunchy texture, making it a great addition to summer salads or stir-fries.
Another option is to dip aloe skin in salsa or hummus for a light snack.
To prepare the skin, cut off the spiky edges on the top and alongside the aloe leaf. Slice off the skin on the flat side. Wash the skin thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris and latex.
If the aloe leaf is tough to chew, soak it in water for 10 to 30 minutes before eating to soften. Only use leaves from the aloe vera plant and not from other aloe species, which may be poisonous and unfit for human consumption.
Aloe vera juice for weight loss
Follow the recipe below to make a refreshing aloe vera juice.
- 2 aloe vera leaves
- 150 mL water
- A teaspoon of honey (Optional.)
- A teaspoon of your preferred juice (Optional.)
- Ice cubes (Optional.)
- Get the gel from two aloe leaves. Once prepped and blended, add the water or fruit juice to the gel.
- If the juice is too thick, add more water. Add honey if using and blend before serving.
Follow a balanced diet and try drinking aloe vera juice to boost your metabolism, support blood sugar control and promote natural weight loss.
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