Women come in all shapes and sizes and we celebrate that diversity! But even the most body-positive among us has off days. If we had to pinpoint the one body part that can be really frustrating, it’s the belly. “Abdominal fat is metabolically active tissue that unleashes harmful inflammatory molecules associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Dr. Lisa Davis, chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen. Internal inflammation is directly linked to insulin resistance and weight gain. But starting the day with an anti-inflammatory supplement or hot drink can offload the inflammation that leads to abdominal fat.
A clinical study of more than 100 women with excess belly fat who drank green tea for 12 weeks had significant reductions in waist circumference and their BMI without any adverse effects. Yes, drinking green tea may be able to help nudge your metabolism, which in turn can help you shed pounds. The secret is a compound in the tea called catechins. “Green tea is naturally high in catechins which inhibit body fat from accumulating,” says nutritionist Violet Santana of My Wellness Solutions. “The tea also contains caffeine that works with the catechins to further increase the fat burn.”
“Including a cup of green tea in the morning with your breakfast and not on an empty stomach can possibly help with weight loss,” says Dr. Jennifer Stagg, naturopathic physician. Aside from catechins, experts believe the tea has a positive effect on hormones related to fat metabolism including ghrelin and adiponectin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for increasing appetite. Adiponectin is involved in regulating glucose levels and breaking down fatty acids in the body.
So why do you need to have hot green tea in the a.m.? “It appears green tea should be consumed during the light phase – the morning - of our 24 hour circadian rhythm because that timeframe greatly impacts fat metabolism,” says Dr. Stagg. Another study suggests that green tea, or a green tea supplement, might help increase the loss of belly fat when combined with consistent exercise and mindful eating. “Green tea contains the compound EGCG, which shines as an anti-inflammatory superstar thanks to its proven effects on a wide ranging spectrum of conditions and diseases,” says Rachel Swanson, a RDN at Lifespan Medicine. “Sipping on a beverage like green tea has the ability to raise your metabolic rate, too, allowing you to burn more calories – and who wouldn’t want that?” There are so many varieties that you’re sure to find a flavor to enjoy. Have a cup each morning – we like Puremark Naturals Herbal Thin Tea Green Tea ($6) - and think about replacing high calorie sodas, sugar-laden sports drinks and fruit juices with green tea.
If you choose to drink a cup of green tea, be careful how you prepare it. “Do not use boiling water to steep the tea,” says Dr. Venus Ramos, MD. “Boiling water can destroy the positive effects of the catechins.” She suggests bringing the water to a boil and then letting it cool for about 10 minutes. “Once cool, pour the water over the tea and brew for about 3 minutes before serving,” she says. You can also supercharge it with lemon or other citrus juice - the acid helps the catechins survive longer in your digestive tract.
[Photos: Shutterstock, eVitamins.com]
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