Whether you’re a tea drinker or more of a coffee lover, you can’t deny there’s something soothing about a steaming cup of Earl Grey. Relaxation isn’t all there is to this drink. Indulging in a cup can also provide potential health benefits (think cancer and heart disease prevention) and may even support your weight loss efforts. You should know that even the best weight loss teas won’t help you lose weight or burn belly fat overnight (sorry to disappoint you!), but they can be a great addition to a healthy diet. and a fitness routine.
“No tea is going to act like a magic bullet,” says Liz Sasso-Karelitsky, RDN, of Love Food RD, but one way to get the most out of your tea is to have a cup right after you eat. “Making a cup of tea and taking the time to sit down and drink it would help signal to your mind and body that the meal is over.” The preparation ritual also helps you take a moment and tune into your wholeness signals, she adds.
Tea is also a great way to stay hydrated, says Sarah Rueven, RDN, CDN, founder of Rooted Wellness. When you’re dehydrated, you might crave sweets and other sugary foods even if you’re just thirsty. Drinking enough fluids can also help your cells communicate better, which encourages your body to work extra hard to slightly increase your metabolism. Plus, herbal teas meant to help you sleep can also help with weight loss, as getting enough rest can be a major factor in the process, she explains.
If you prefer iced tea to hot tea, note that the benefits are the same regardless of the temperature of your brew. But if you prefer to order your refreshment chilled, Sasso-Karelitsky suggests paying attention to what’s in your cup. Chains like Starbucks are notorious for packing lots of sweeteners and juices into their iced teas, she says. So always ask for unsweetened.
One note: Pregnant women should avoid herbal teas containing licorice root, which can be harmful in high doses. Instead, stick with other options like peppermint, chamomile, and ginger, Rueven says. Also, be sure to consume caffeinated teas in moderation, adds Sasso-Karelitsky.
Want to try the teas? Here are the 10 best teas for weight loss and the science behind them.
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A Clinical Nutrition A study found that green tea extract can lead to weight loss and even a reduction in waist circumference in women after 12 weeks. This could be because green tea extract significantly reduces levels of ghrelin in the body, which is an intestinal hormone. (Added bonus: green tea also lowered cholesterol in participants!)
FYI, tea is a supplement that’s not regulated by the FDA, Rueven says. This means you can’t always be sure how much green tea or green tea extract you’re actually getting in a product. The amount of these ingredients can vary, she notes.
A good rule of thumb when buying: “The more organic, natural, and less processed varieties will most likely contain a higher amount of green tea extract,” according to Rueven.
Black tea can help you lose weight, says Sasso, but that’s mainly due to its caffeine content. “Caffeine can help give us a bit more energy,” she says. More energy equals more exercise, which can help you burn a few extra calories.
Although white tea hasn’t been studied as much as its black and green counterparts, there is some evidence to suggest it may help with weight loss. White tea extract has been shown to reduce fat accumulation in mice by speeding up metabolism, according to a 2019 study. But more research still needs to be done to fully support this claim and demonstrate whether it applies to humans.
There are many kinds of herbal teas, from peppermint to chamomile. While one cup may not reduce belly fat, Rueven says ginger tea contains the compound gingerol, which is great for bloating and gas. “And, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm your digestive tract,” she adds. Pro Tip: Honey and lemon pair well with ginger for an extra soothing flavor.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea sold in powdered form. It contains more antioxidants than other types of tea because the tea plants are grown in the shade, according to a study published in the scientific journal food. It is considered the highest quality green tea on the market.
Drinking matcha a day and then 30 minutes before you exercise may increase fat oxidation, or the rate at which your body burns fat, research in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism shows. (But it should be noted that the study was small and more tests still need to be done.)
Note that matcha contains a high amount of caffeine, so avoid drinking it in the evening.
Rooibos tea is a type of herbal tea that grows in South Africa. There is red rooibos and green rooibos, which are processed differently – the red is fermented, while the green is not.
A review in the newspaper Planta Medica concluded that the aspalathin in rooibos tea can potentially increase sugar and fat metabolism. You can absorb this compound by drinking rooibos tea or by consuming green rooibos extract, which contains a high concentration of aspalathin. Again, more research (especially on humans) is still needed to confirm the effects.
This caffeinated tea can help you burn more energy because it stimulates fat burning and increases your metabolic rate. It may help reduce body fat content, according to a review by Food science and human well-being.
Mate tea, including the popular Yerba mate tea, may have some serious weight loss benefits. A Functional Foods Journal A study found that mate can help you burn more calories and lose weight. It can also lower cholesterol, in case you need another reason to brew a cup.
Violet tea is a kind of green tea that was first developed in Kenya. A small study in the International Journal of Biomedical Sciences found that the caffeine in the leaves and extract of purple tea can prevent the body from absorbing fat. Ten male participants noticed weight loss and a decrease in body fat after drinking 100-200ml of tea twice a day for a month.
Fermented Pu-Erh tea originated in China’s Yunnan province and is a popular weight loss aid in Asia. It contains two compounds, therabrownine and gallic acid. They can help fight free radicals and eliminate toxins. In addition, they have anti-obesity effects, according to a study published in International food research.
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