Unusual teas to help fight fat

Obesity is a major problem worldwide, a condition that has grown in epidemic proportions in the past 30 years.

And just recently, Dr. Mark Wiley shared that being overweight is the one thing that, above all others, elevates your risk of disease and early death.

But even though the subject of dieting to improve health is discussed a lot, you don’t always hear the word “tea” thrown into the mix.

Sure, you’ve heard about the amazing cancer-fighting potential of green tea and rooibos tea… but tea for preventing and treating obesity?

You bet! Green tea’s powerful catechins help your body metabolize fat, and rooibos can help calm stress hormones that trigger hunger pangs and fat storage.

In fact, studies have shown that habitual tea drinkers have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and waist-to-hip ratios and less body fat than non-tea drinkers. In addition, teas offer protection against many of the health risks associated with obesity — which can be helpful while you’re working to lose weight.

Some are even reported to help you sip away stroke and cholesterol.

Ready for tea time now? From common teas you know about, to more exotic options, you might want to consider making tea a daily drinking habit from now on…

Black tea

Good ol’ black tea is an obvious choice, but even so it still packs a punch of benefits.

For one, it alters the way fat is absorbed and assimilated in your body. In particular, it prevents the absorption of fats from the intestines, which influences three things — the amount of additional fat you store, the amount of liver fat you accumulate, and your cholesterol levels — all of which mean your metabolism functions better, and faster.

Secondly, black tea promotes improved blood glucose regulation by changing the way carbs are digested and absorbed. For instance, it prevents complex sugars from being broken down into simple sugars. Therefore, the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream can be reduced by as much as 25 percent.

It also inhibits enzymes associated with carbohydrate digestion, which appears to reduce food intake. Black tea also suppresses the liver’s production of glucose to further promote improved glucose regulation.

And like most teas, black tea provides potent antioxidant properties.

Mango leaf tea

Mango leaves and fruits are full of bioactive compounds such as mangiferin, phenolics, and antioxidants.

In particular, mangiferin has been shown to reduce cholesterol and body weight in both animals and humans. It does so by targeting the liver where it assists in metabolism and energy use. The results of these effects are reduced belly fat accumulation and increased levels of enzymes that boost metabolism.

Mango leaf tea also provides powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Hawk tea

This unusual tea, also known as eagle tea and laoying cha, originates from China where it’s been used to treat a number of ailments over the centuries. Derived from the L. coreana plant, the tea made from its leaves are rich in beneficial plant compounds, essential oils, and vitamins.

Obesity is often associated with a fatty liver and that’s one area hawk tea can really help. It protects against liver damage and liver inflammation, and has even been shown to directly reduce liver fat, in animal studies.

Hawk tea can also help reduce blood glucose levels, another factor that can help control fat storage. And on top of all that it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties.

It’s not the easiest tea to get hold of but can be found in some Chinese/Asian supermarkets.

Peruvian teas

Three Peruvian teas that have gained more attention in scientific studies are Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw), Phyllanthus niruri (chanca pidera), and Lepidium meyenii (maca).

Cellular inflammation is a well-known cause of obesity and it’s associated diseases — diabetes and heart disease. Peruvian teas offer several antioxidant compounds that have the power to target specific enzymes involved in the onset and progression of inflammation-induced issues of metabolism.

When you can drive down inflammation, your metabolism improves and therefore, your chances of losing weight increase, and your odds for weight gain decrease.

Pu’erh tea

Pu’erh tea is a variety of fermented tea produced in China, and is considered by some experts to be the tea that helps you drop pounds, cholesterol points and blood sugar levels.

It has long been used in Chinese medicine as a digestive and weight loss aid.

Insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, often accompanies obesity. When animals were fed a high fat diet, Pu’erh tea protected them against fatty liver and insulin resistance, helped reduce subcutaneous fat deposits, and reduced the production of proinflammatory molecules.

Teas are easy to make. Simply infuse tea bags or leaf tea in hot water for 2 to 5 minutes, then sit back and enjoy the anti-obesity health-boosting benefits!

Related: The beginner’s guide to Chinese tea

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Sources:
  1. New research shows tea may help promote weight loss, improve heart health and slow progression of prostate cancer
  2. Pan, et al. Mechanisms of Body Weight Reduction by Black Tea Polyphenols. — Molecules. 2016;21(12):1659.
  3. Medina Ramírez N, et al. Anti-obesity effects of tea from Mangifera indica L. leaves of the Ubá variety in high-fat diet-induced obese rats. — Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2017;91:938–945.
  4. Jai X, et al. A review on phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Litsea coreana. — Pharmaceutical Biology. 2017;55(1):1368–1374.
  5. Wang Z, et al. Investigation of the antioxidant and aldose reductase inhibitory activities of extracts from Peruvian tea plant infusions. — Food Chemistry 2017;213:222–230.
  6. Cai X, et al.  Pu’erh tea extract-mediated protection against hepatosteatosis and insulin resistance in mice with diet-induced obesity is associated with the induction of de novo lipogenesis in visceral adipose tissue. — J Gastroenterol. 2017.

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Jedha Dening

By Jedha Dening

Jedha Dening is a qualified nutritionist (MNutr), researcher, author, freelance writer, and founder of type 2 diabetic nutrition site Diabetes Meal Plans. Her masters thesis on nutrition and inflammation was published and then presented at a national scientific conference. She has millions of words published in the health industry across various print and online publications. Having been in the field for over 15 years, she’s incredibly passionate about delving into the latest research to share the myths and truths surrounding nutrition and health. She believes when armed with the right knowledge, we’re empowered to make informed choices that can truly make a difference.