Mexicans love nopal cactus and, after learning all its health benefits, you will too! 1
It's a natural antibiotic that prevents the growth of certain bacteria, it helps balance sugar levels in the blood. It also helps reduce water retention and can help fight cellulite. It is rich in vitamins A and C and trace amounts of folate and vitamin K, as well as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, chlorophyll and vegetable proteins.
Nopal has been a staple of the Mexican and Central American diet for thousands of years. 2
Women from Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Brazil sip on yerba mate tea and so should you. 3
Yerba mate are the leaves of the rainforest mate tree. This tea is full of antioxidants and contains 24 vitamins and minerals and 15 amino acids. It helps increase your energy and mental alertness, and studies have shown that it helps fight cancer and other inflammatory diseases. And yes, it also promotes healthy weight loss.
Women in the Dominican Republic drink jagua water to keep the extra pounds off. 5
The Jagua tree is native to the rainforests in Central and South America, where it has been used by the indigenous tribes for thousands of years. However, this fruit is widly consumed in the Caribbean. It is rich in calcium and phosphorous, and it also contains iron, fiber and vitamines B and B2.
This fruit has diuretic properties. 6
To lose weight, Dominican women drink jagua water instead of regular drinking water during the day. They take a couple of them, wash them, cut them into pieces and put them into a gallon of water and let it sit for one or two days. Then, they drink that water as if it were regular drinking water. This is refreshing and the fruit gives the water a great taste, which makes drinking water more attractive.
Bitter oranges are widely used in Latin America and the Caribbean. 7
The naranja agria, also known as Seville, bigarade or sour orange is widely used in the Caribbean cuisine to marinade meats and fish. But the peel and flower are also used in alternative medicine to treat headaches, indigestion, abdominal pain (epigastric), constipation, dysenteric diarrhea, high blood pressure and aid with weight loss.
Sour orange helps boost the metabolism and burn fat. 8
Women in the Caribbean drink bitter orange tea to lose weight, as this fruit helps fight water retention in the body, helps burn fat, and aids in burning calories. Make the tea by pouring a liter of water in a pot and adding four sour oranges (cut into four pieces each). Bring to a boil. Then, let it sit and enjoy this tea either hot or cold throughout the day.
Dancing is a fun way to burn lots of calories. 9
Yes, Latinas love to dance! And, as you may know, dancing is a great exercise. According to a study by the UK's University of Brighton, you can burn more than 300 calories with every half-hour of dancing, that's more than what you burn with an easy run or swim. So, now you have even more reasons to get on the dance floor!
Here are some of the benefits of drinking coconut water. 11
Coconut water is packed with potassium and electrolytes that transform food into energy and increases muscle growth. It is also full of fiber, vitamin C, protein and enzymes that promote the proper functioning of the digestive and metabolic systems. This natural drink is also very low in calories and sugar, and helps break down fats and it's an excellent diuretic. So make sure to include coconut water in your diet. However, since it is pretty improbable that you have a coconut tree in your backyard, there are many brands of organic and natural coconut water to chose from. Just make sure it has no added sugar.
Latin American women use aloe vera for everything! 12
From treating a burn to applying it on their hair and using it as a beauty cream, Latin American women use aloe vera for everything. But besides working wonders of your hair and skin, this plant also has amazing health benefits. It aids in treating constipation, helps with digestion, boosts the immune system, helps regulate blood sugar levels. So, make sure you pick up some aloe vera leaves from the local market or, better yet, grow it yourself at home!
Get rid of those extra pounds with aloe vera water. 13
Aloe vera is a natural laxative and can aid in better digestion. Some people drink one glass of aloe vera water in a day, before a big meal, while others drink two to three glasses per day. Whichever works best for you, just make sure you are very careful when scooping out the clear gel from the leaves, because the aloin content from the outer leaf can irritate the gut and may give you diarrhea. And, if you decide to buy it instead of making it yourself, just make sure you choose a brand with no added sugar. But I would definitely recommend making aloe vera water yourself.
Learn how to make aloe vera water at FreePeople.com.
Oregano has many health benefits that go far beyond seasoning meats and fish. 14
Oregano's anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties help to treat some gastrointestinal issues. The carvacrol and thymol found in oregano helps it to fight micro-organisms that can contribute to respiratory illnesses like a cold, flu, or even sore throats and other bodily infections and even urinary tract infections. The natural anti-inflammatory properties in oregano also do wonders for the pain caused by a bad period. And, some studies have shown that oregano oil can help treat certain skin conditions, such as cold sores, dandruff and nail fungus.
Oregano oil is an excellent weigh-loss 15
The active component in oregano called carvacrol helps dissolve fat. Oregano also aids digestion and helps reduce bloating. Oregano is part of the diet of most Latin American women, who use it for cooking and for health purposes. You can either make an oregano tea and drink it either as hot, or put it in the refrigerator and drink it as oregano water throughout the day. You can also mix oregano oil with olive oil in equal parts, and stir into a an 8 oz. glass of water, and drink. Another option is to take oregano capsules with at least 70 percent carvacrol. But remember to consult your doctor before taking this supplement.
Soursop is a delicious fruit that's full of antioxidants. 16
I grew up eating guanábana and drinking champola (soursop shake) in the Dominican Republic, where it is also used for weight loss. This is one of the most delicious fruits ever, and it is packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and some iron. This fruit may help fight eye disease, it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and it may even help fight cancer.
People in Mexico drink agua de Jamaica to accompany their mid-day meal. 18
Hibiscus iced tea is very popular in Mexico. A study conducted in mice found that the pigments in hibiscus were able to reduce weight gain in obese subjects. It also increased liquid intake in both healthy and obese subjects. This flower also reduces inflamation and helps block sugar and starch absorption, which in turn prevents excess weight gain. And what's more, it helps improve how fat is processed in the body, and the micronutrients in hibiscus help prevent fat formation.
Learn how to make agua de Jamaica at MexicanFoodJournal.com.
Quenepa is one of Latin America's most delicious fruits. 19
Since it's very low on fat and calories, and high in fiber, this exquisite fruit that is very popular in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, is perfect for people who are trying to reduce their caloric intake.
Colombian women swear by fat reduction massages. 20
Women from this South American country are known for their beauty and amazing bodies. Their secret? Among other things, they swear by fat reduction massages, which attack specific localized fat areas. This type of massage has also become very popular in other Latin countries, such as the Dominican Republic and Mexico, where celebrities such as Ninel Conde and Lorena Herrera are fans.
Cavitation treatment can help get rid of fat and cellulite. 21
This is another type of treatment that has become very popular in different Latin American countries. It uses ultrasound technology to destroy fat cells, including cellulite, in specific parts of the body.
Eggplant is an excellent ally for losing weight. 22
This vegetable has very low carbs and calories, but at the same time it has high water and fiber content and it is full of nutrients. The saponin in it helps prevent fat absorption. It also aids in the fight against cellulite, it is anti-inflammatory and it helps regulate cholesterol levels. Beside fiber, it is also a good source of calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and iron.
Latina women drink berenjena water for weight loss. 23
Yes, we do! Eggplant water is one of the most popular weight loss remedies in Latin America. Peel a large eggplant and cut it in into small pieces. Put it in a pot with half a litter of water and boil for 15 minutes. Add the juice of one or two limes and put it in the refrigerator. Drink one glass 15 minutes before your primary meal.
Learn to make eggplant water at StepToHealth.com.
Oatmeal water is one of our secret weight loss weapons. 25
Oatmeal water is very low in calories, and drinking a glass of it before meals might help you eat less by reducing cravings and overeating. It can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
Artichokes are an excellent diuretic. 26
Alcachofas have very low calories and fat. At the same time, they are a great source of potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and fiber. Artichoke is so good for weight loss that the extract is being used in mesotherapy, a technique that uses injections of plant extracts, vitamins, enzymes and hormones to remove excess fat.
Reap all the weight loss benefits of artichoke with this tea. 27
Nopalina is very popular among Latinas. 28
Accordning to its official website, Nopalina is the a natural mixture of soluble and insoluble fibers. It has 100 percent Canadian flaxseed, which, due to the colder temperatures, has a higher Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acid content than other flaxseeds. This fiber mix also includes oat bran, wheat bran and psyllium, a combination that may help regulate your appetite and promote weight loss.
Mix with water or milk and drink twice a day. 29
According to the company, Nopalina helps the movement of waste through the intestines. Mix one tablespoon of Nopalina with eight ounces of water, natural juice or fat free milk and drink it twice a day.
You can also add it to your smoothies. 30
Add a tablespoon of Nopalina to your favorite smoothie!
Check out some great smoothies and green juices recipes here.
Latinas drink parsley tea as a complement to a healthy diet. 32
Some women take parsley tea in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Learn how to make parsley tea at SFGate.com.
Ginger has been used as an alternative remedy for centuries. 33
This delicious, spicy root has been used to treat many conditions, from nausea and gas to menstrual cramps and arthritis. It can help fight infections, reduce inflamation and muscle pain, and can aid in lowering blood sugar levels. The gingerol contained in this root may help prevent cancer. On top of all of that, ginger helps boost your metabolism and, as a result, it increases calorie burn and helps the body eliminate fat.
Latinas drink ginger tea for everything and weight loss is not the exception. 34
I remember there was always ginger in our house growing up. This root is one of those natural remedies that my mom used for everything. And it works! Have some ginger tea with your breakfast and at night and say goodbye to those extra pounds.
Get the full recipe at Very Well Fit.
From cooking to cleaning the stove, Latinas use limes and lemons for everything. 35
Consuming lemon juice can have huge benefits for your health. The juice of one lemon can provide about 40 percent of the daily vitamin C recommendation. Also, the digestive benefits of lemon juice are enormous and can detox and clear out many organs, from your liver to your colon. It can improve your digestive processes, as well as prevent and treat many related maladies.
Drinking citrus infused water is a great way to incorporate lemons and limes into your diet. 36
I love adding some lemon juice and sliced lime and lemons to my water. This actually makes me drink more water during the day because it has some flavor. It is a great way of reaping the benefits of this superfood, and also of adding some flavor to water. You can add the juice from a couple of lemons to a gallon of water. Add some slices of either lime or lemon and let it sit for a couple of hours. Drink throughout the day.
Jumpstart your metabolism with warm water with lime on an empty stomach. 37
Starting your day with a glass of warm lemon water is a great way to gently jumpstart your metabolism, which means just drinking it will help you burn more calories. Water alone has been shown to boost metabolism, and when paired with fresh lemon juice, the tasty flavor encourages you to drink more and it fills your body with electrolytes that will increase your energy.
Try baked sweet potato for a snack. 39
This root vegetable is loaded with dietary fiber, which are a great aide in weight loss. So satiate your sweet tooth without the guilt of the extra calories with some baked sweet potato. You can have it by itself or add a tablespoon of organic peanut butter for some added taste and protein.