By David Gutierrez
Are you already eating a healthy diet, but you need an extra boost to shed or keep off some extra pounds? Why not try adding a healthy tea to your daily routine?
Teas, or herbal infusions, are a potent way to attain the medicinal benefits of natural healing plants. Teas are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to produce benefits including speeding up metabolism and digestion, lowering cholesterol, shrinking fat cells, providing steady energy, fighting tooth decay, preventing cardiovascular disease, boosting immune function and promoting general health.
Research has shown that the following five teas have proven weight-loss benefits.
Three flavours of true tea
Three of the top five weight-loss teas actually come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis, or true tea.
The most widely known of these in the West is green tea, which is made from dried, unwilted, unoxidised tea leaves. Green tea is incredibly rich in antioxidants, including some, such as EGCG, which have been shown to accelerate the body’s metabolism and cause the liver to burn up more stored fat. As an added bonus, high consumption of green tea has been linked to lower rates of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s no wonder that this beverage is a staple in many cultures.
A less well known variety of tea, oolong tea, is made from tea leaves that have been wilted, bruised and slightly oxidised before drying. Because oolong tea leaves are not as heavily oxidised as black tea leaves, they still contain high levels of antioxidants. Oolong tea is also particularly high in catechins, which have been shown to boost the body’s ability to metabolise fat.
But the tea variety with the highest antioxidants is actually white tea. Like green tea, white tea is made from unoxidised tea leaves.
Unlike green tea, however, these are only the youngest leaves of the plant, and may also include unopened tea buds. These young leaves and buds are lightly steamed (wilted) before drying.
In addition to its high antioxidant content, white tea also speeds metabolism and speeds the body’s process of breaking down stored fat. It also blocks the formation of new fat cells. White tea has also been shown to lower blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, increase bone strength, lower cancer risk, improve skin health and boost energy levels.
More than weight loss
It’s not just the tea plant that provides fat-fighting beverages, however. Another potent weight loss “tea” is rooibos tea, made from the plant of the same name. This beverage has been shown to be high in polyphenols and flavonoids that can reduce new fat cell formation by 22 percent or more. Rooibos tea also aids digestive and circulatory health.
Another powerful weight-loss tea is Ashwaganda, which has a long history of use as an immune-boosting and general healing beverage. Its weight-loss potential lies in its ability to reduce stress and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses weight loss and fat burning.
Ashwaganda is also prized for its ability to induce calm states of mind, perhaps even aiding with sleep. It is also used to boost cognitive function in the elderly. It is being researched for its cancer-fighting potential.
In addition, all five of these teas, due to their high antioxidant content, can be expected to reduce systemic inflammation, boost immune function and slow the effects of aging.
Whichever tea you select, be sure to purchase high-quality tea and brew it with filtered water. Avoid unnecessary and “empty-calorie” additives such as sugar and cream, which may remove the healthy benefits from the beverage.