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8 Best Herbal Teas for Weight Loss

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For most Americans, tea is tea. Forget black teas, white teas, greens, and reds; tea is that finely ground gunpowder that comes in bags from Lipton, or that over-sweetened sludge sloshed into plastic bottles and sold in between the Coke and the Mountain Dew.

However, in places like Japan, the UK, and large swaths of Southeast Asia, tea leaves are as diverse and nuanced as wine grapes. Not only does the flavor profile change dramatically between one tea variety and the next, but so do the health benefits. Not only can certain brews fight off various diseases, select teas have also been shown to rev the metabolism, quell hunger, slash waist-widening stress and shrink fat cells. When Taiwanese researchers studied more than 1,100 people over a 10-year period, they determined that those who drank tea had naearly 20 percent less body fat than those who drank none

To ensure you brew the best cups for your weight loss goals, we’ve rounded up the most potent waist-whittling teas from around the world.

1. Green Tea:

Get this: Green tea literally blasts away flab! Researchers attribute the fat-burning properties of green tea to catechins, specifically EGCG — the name of a group of antioxidative compounds that blast adipose tissue by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speeding up the liver’s fat burning capacity. It gets better: Research suggests that combining regular green-tea drinking with exercise may maximize the weight loss benefits. In one study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea with a 25-minute workout lost 2 more pounds than the non-tea-drinking exercisers. To reap even more flat-belly benefits from your fitness routine, be sure you’re incorporating these

2. Ashwagandha Tea:

Ashwagandha tea gives you a better outlook on life and reduces stress hormones that can wreak havoc on your waistline. A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that “Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.” When it comes to weight loss, stress is not your friend. A recent study at Penn State found that people who react badly to stressful situations have increased levels of inflammation in their bodies—and inflammation is directly tied to obesity, as well as diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. When anxiety rides high, you’re also at the mercy of stress hormones such as cortisol—known as “the belly fat hormone” for its ability to pull lipids from the bloodsream and store them in our fat cells.

3. White Tea:

Not only does white tea prevent new fat cells from forming, but it also enhances the body’s ability to break down and utilize existing fat for energy, according to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. As if that wasn’t enough, “Chemicals in the tea appear to protect your skin from sun-induced stress, which can cause the cells to break down and age prematurely,” says Elma Baron, MD, the study author. To put white tea to use, try rubbing on a lotion containing white tea extract before you apply your sunblock!

4. Bilberry Tea:

Consuming bilberries, a northern European cousin to the blueberry, may help reduce bloat-inducing inflammation, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. To come to these findings, researchers divided participants into two groups; one group was given a diet that included an equivalent of 1.5 cups of blueberries, while the other group followed a control diet that didn’t include the fruit. At the end of the experiment, the bilberry-eating group had significantly less inflammation than their counterparts who didn’t munch on the berry. Since the fruit is native to Northern Europe, it isn’t widely available in the US. To reap the benefits, enjoy a few cups of bilberry tea.

5. Black Tea:

Italian researchers found that drinking a cup of black tea per day improves cardiovascular function—and the more cups you drink, the more you benefit! Better cardiovascular function means you can breeze through that 5K you signed up for. And a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that drinking 20 ounces of black tea daily causes the body to secrete five times more interferon, a key element of your body’s infection-protection arsenal. Just make sure to ditch the dairy. A study in the European Heart Journal found that while black tea can improve blood flow and blood vessel dilation, adding milk to the tea counteracts these effects.

6. Red Tea:

Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. According to South African researchers, polyphenols and flavonoids found in the plant inhibits adipogenesis–the formation of new fat cells–by as much as 22 percent. The chemicals also help aid fat metabolism. Plus, Rooibos is naturally sweet, so you won’t need to add sugar. It’s also not technically a tea—it’s an herbal infusion. Want to give your metabolism a kick? Check out these

7. Lemon Tea:

Whether salty foods or alcohol are to blame for your blimp-like belly, lemon tea can help fight the bloat thanks to its d-limonene content. The compound, which is found in citrus rind oil, has been used for its diuretic effects since ancient times. But until recently, there were no scientific findings to back the claims. An animal study published in the Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan confirmed D-Limonene can indeed banish boat due to water retention.

8. Mint Tea:

Mint tea wards off the munchies. Fill a big teacup with soothing peppermint tea and sniff yourself skinny! While certain scents can trigger hunger (a trick Cinnabon figured out long ago), others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month. Although tea is relatively low in caffeine—about 25% of what a cup of coffee delivers—decaffeinated varieties are great to have on hand for a soothing bedtime treat that will keep you out of the cabinets! And speaking of sleep, want to lose weight while you snooze? These