Looking for the magic bullet? That one thing that will help you shed unwanted pounds? If so, you are not alone. Over a third of adults in developed countries are overweight or obese, and the numbers are rising.
To really let go of extra weight you need to burn more calories than you consume every day. A balanced diet of mostly plant-based foods is the cornerstone of any successful weight loss effort. But we all need a little help sometimes, and we can get a lot of support from another plant-based food: herbs!
That’s right, some teas and herbal infusions (teasans) can stimulate the metabolism, burn fat, and support weight loss goals in other ways. While not a replacement for a healthy diet and consistent exercise, these teas can help you reach your weight loss goals when combined with a supportive lifestyle.
1. Green Tea
Green tea is made from young, unroasted leaves of the camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea contains a particular type of phytonutrient, the catechin EGCG. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant and metabolism stimulant. It can increase daily calorie burn and support weight loss. In clinical studies, drinking one cup of green tea each day helped people lose weight, in conjunction with exercise and a healthy nutrition plan. Green tea is mildly caffeinated. While it is not as strong as black tea or coffee, it can be habit-forming. Most people seem to be able to maintain healthy sleeping habits as long as they only have one cup of green tea per day, before 5pm. Drink an extra glass of pure water per day for each caffeinated drink you consume.
Caffeine can interfere with iron absorption, so do not have green tea within an hour of eating the foods you use to supply your iron, such as green vegetables.
2. Star Anise
Star Anise comes from a Chinese evergreen tree. It makes a warming, spicy tea that tastes like an exotic dish or holiday dessert. It is antimicrobial, which means it helps protect you from infections and supports digestion. It also reduces bloating and decreases water weight.
Star anise is contraindicated for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and should not be given to infants.
3. Bilberry Tea
Bilberries make a sweet and tart tea that is excellent to drink before meals. It helps balance blood sugar. When our blood sugar is balanced, we are less likely to experience the wild mood swings and insulin spiking that cause sugar cravings. And the pleasant taste of bilberry tea can satisfy the desire for something sweet without any waist-busting sugar. Bilberry is also a natural appetite suppressant, so when drank before meals bilberry tea can help prevent overeating.
4. Peppermint Tea
No herb garden is complete without peppermint. This perennial favorite supports healthy digestion and metabolism. It also increases the body’s immunity to infections.
Peppermint can help make sure everything goes down well when enjoyed before meals. After meals, it helps relieve any indigestion that might spring up from poor food combining. It’s mild, the pleasant flavor makes it an excellent sugar-free desert tea for those who often want something sweet after a meal. Peppermint is gentle enough to be enjoyed by almost everyone. It can interfere with the function of homeopathic medicines, however, so mint and mint flavored foods and teas should be avoided if you are taking homeopathic.
5. Puerh Tea
This traditional brew is famed for its ability to shrink fat cells and support metabolism. Puerh is camellia sinensis that has bee aged and fermented. The fermentation process adds valuable probiotics that give the tea digestion-supporting properties. It also increases the tea’s natural antioxidant properties.
Even though puerh is caffeinated, many people do not find it as jitter-inducing as dried black tea or coffee. Something about the living nature of the fermented tea makes it more easily assimilated by the body. Nevertheless, the same precautions should be taken as you would for green tea.
6. Yerba Maté
A traditional South American tea, yerba maté increases fat burning and metabolic function. It is also a natural appetite suppressant. Yerba mate contains mateine, a stimulant similar to caffeine but without many of the side effects. Mateine is both energizing and relaxing. This means it can help prevent “stress eating” while giving you the energy to get through your day without sugar. Yerba maté has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also supports healthy digestion, increases circulation, and lowers blood pressure. It is high in antioxidants, which means it protects the body from free radical damage. Losing weight in a sustainable way requires a supportive lifestyle. Appropriate amounts of healthy, nutritious food, plenty of exercises, and a positive attitude are usually required to lose weight and keep it off. But by suppressing appetite, boosting metabolism, and supporting digestion, these teas can be powerful allies in your journey to reach a healthy weight.
I am Holly, a 26-year-old health, and fitness instructor from San Jose, CA, who writes articles in her free time. When she isn't helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes. Follow Holly.. @hollymsanchez