Can You Take Herbs for Weight Gain?
If you’ve found this article, you are likely asking the question: can you take herbs for weight gain?
The short answer is: No. The longer answer is: It depends.
Simply eating a specific type of herb will not automatically lead to weight gain. However, herbs can be used to help supplement your weight gain journey. And some herbs may even help with appetite (which in turn can help with weight gain!).
While the internet is full of articles on how to lose weight or stop weight gain, there are many people out there actually looking to gain weight. And contrary to popular belief, gaining weight can be hard.
This article contains helpful information on how to successfully gain weight. And how to use herbs for weight gain.
Why Weight Gain?
Let’s briefly cover why someone would want to gain weight. Especially if you happened to wander across this article and are completely perplexed about this topic.
Many people struggle with unintended weight loss. With that weight loss often comes loss of muscle. And losing muscle means loss of function and independence. We need muscle to do almost everything!
Unintended weight loss can be caused by many different things. From illness (short-term like a virus or long-term like cancer) to poor appetite (due to meds, mental health, or anything!) and more.
The first goal of someone experiencing unintended weight loss is to stop the loss. The next step is to gain back the weight that was lost.
Sometimes the attempt to gain weight is right after the weight loss. Other times it can be years after. It’s never too late to gain weight back.
Additionally, some people want to gain weight due to being clinically underweight, wanting to build muscle mass, and more. Weight gain is an important topic.
How to Gain Weight
Gaining weight, like losing weight, can often be over simplified. In a nutshell we need more calories to gain weight. But the reality is that gaining weight can be complex.
We need to start by getting to the root cause of weight loss. Is it being caused by a specific illness, a medication, mental health, loneliness, poor appetite, an inability to taste (and enjoy!) food, or something else?
Interventions for gaining weight must be customized to the individual. There is no one-sized-fits-all approach to gaining weight. Working with a dietitian is a great way to get customized interventions for weight gain.
We have many free articles on the website where you can learn more about how to gain weight. Our High Calorie archive is a great place to start. And these articles will be particularly helpful:
- Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss
- Why am I Not Gaining Weight?
- Stopping Weight Loss in Elderly
- The Best Foods to Gain Weight
If you are looking for more help on gaining weight, be sure to check out our course: Gaining Weight Made Easy. In addition to video lessons, it provides e-books, worksheets, and more to help you successfully gain weight.
Can Herbs Help You Gain Weight?
We just reviewed that calories are needed to gain weight. So let’s take a look at what herbs are and why they (by themselves) do not cause weight gain.
What Are Herbs?
Herbs are the leafy green part of plants with distinct flavors. They make food taste better. And many have health benefits.
I am not an expert in the medicinal benefits of herbs, but my dietitian friend Jenna is a clinical herbalist and has all kind of recommendations to learn more about herbalism.
Examples of more common herbs are:
Herbs and spices are often lumped together. While herbs are the leaf of a plant, spices are typically the root, seed, or other part of a plant. Examples of spices include cumin, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, etc.
For the most part, we consume herbs by using them for cooking (fresh or dried), in teas, or taking them in pill form (supplements). Additionally, herbs are also used to make essential oils, as decorations, and more.
Herbs Do Not Contain Calories
Herbs do not contain calories. And remember, calories are needed for weight gain.
This is why simply eating an herb will not automatically lead to weight gain.
However, herbs can be used to help supplement weight gain which we will discuss below.
Herbs for Weight Gain- The Research
According to the most current research (peer reviewed, scientific literature) there is no particular herb that you can eat that will make you gain weight. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill (or herb!) when it comes to weight gain.
However, I do want to note that you must do what is right for you. Sometimes placebos (meaning science says something probably doesn’t work, but you really believe it will) do work.
For the most part, adding herbs to your diet (in moderation) and cooking will not cause harm. For most people…
Talk to Your Doctor About Taking Herbs
I would like to take a moment to encourage you to talk to your medical team about any concerns with consuming herbs. Some herbs can interact with medications you are taking and/or cause issues with overall health. Especially when taken in excess.
Takeaway: work with a dietitian and/or talk to your doc when making any changes to diet.
With that being said, for the sake of this article we will be talking about common herbs you will find at the grocery store (ex. Parsley, oregano, mint, etc.) and not exotic herbs that can be found in specialty shops.
Using Herbs for Weight Gain
Let’s dive into how you can use herbs for weight gain.
Primarily, using herbs for weight gain is to enhance flavor, help with poor appetite, and/or pair them with a high calorie food (like olive oil!).
Increasing Flavor for Appetite
A good number of people who need to gain weight also have poor appetite. And unfortunately, eating can be seen as more of a chore (rather than something done for enjoyment).
Herbs can help with weight gain simply by making food more tasty and more enjoyable. A bland vanilla nutrition shake can feel miserable to choke down (especially if you’ve had these way too often and are totally over them!).
However, a delicious gourmet meal with amazing flavor and eye appeal… that can feel more enjoyable. And it can improve your appetite.
Herb Bombs- Freezing Herbs in Oil
A fun hack to improve flavor and increase calories is to make “herb bombs”. Herb bombs is just a fun way of saying freezing herbs in oil.
Making herb bombs is easy. You just need an ice-cube tray and your favorite oil and herbs.
How do herb bombs help with weight gain? Calories! Oil, or fat, is high in calories. So, in a nutshell, herb bombs to add more calories to a meal and help with weight gain.
How to Make Herb Bombs
First, pick the oil of your choice. Oils can include: olive oil, avocado oil, or even melted butter.
Pour the oil into a clean ice-cube tray. Be sure to leave room for the herbs you are going to add!
Select one type of herb or a combination. You can use dried herbs or fresh herbs. If you use fresh herbs, be sure to clean, trim, and dice your herbs (so they will fit!).
Then add the herbs to the ice-cube tray and stir as needed. And pop your ice-cube tray into the freezer. Easy peasy.
When it comes time to cook a meal, pop out one of your herb bombs from the ice-cube tray and stir it into your cooking.
You can add these to a pan while cooking meat or vegetables, you can also add it to sauces or casseroles.
Types of Herb Bombs
Here are some good ideas for making herb bombs:
- Basil + Olive Oil
- Oregano + Olive Oil
- Dill + Olive Oil
- Rosemary + Olive Oil
- Cilantro + Olive Oil
- Mint + Cilantro + Olive Oil
- Oregano + Basil + Olive Oil
- Thyme + Rosemary + Olive Oil
- Oregano + Thyme + Olive Oil
Use your imagination- the sky is the limit with these herb bombs. And keep in mind you can throw some extra spices or even some minced garlic!
Recipes with Herbs for Weight Gain
You can add herbs to any high calorie meal to make it delicious and help with weight gain. Here are some of our favorite recipes with herbs for weight gain.
Recipes with Herbs for Weight Gain:
- Italian Sausage and Summer Vegetable Soup with Orzo
- Herbs used: oregano, basil
- High Calorie Vegetable Frittata
- Herbs used: scallions, basil
- High Protein Lentil Soup
- Herbs used: cilantro
- Beef and Farro High Protein Soup
- Herbs used: rosemary
Summary: Can You Take Herbs for Weight Gain?
While there is no magic herb that will cause weight gain, herbs can still be helpful for gaining weight. They can add more flavor to food. And when paired with high calorie oils can boost calorie content.
Gaining weight can be challenging, but it is possible. Best of luck on your weight gain journey!
References and Additional Reading
Here are some helpful evidenced-based websites to learn more about herbs.