Morning can be a real drag but we’re going to let you in on our secret. There’s a special tea we have each day that not only gives us the energy to press on but it can also lend a hand in banishing belly bloat. “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. So starting the day with this anti-inflammatory tea 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.” Green tea comes from the same source as black tea – the common type people drink with milk and sugar – but green tea is not as processed as black tea. Less processing is why green tea contains more catechins.
Experts also 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. Matcha is a super potent, specially harvested, and most pure of pure version of green tea that comes in a powder form. It also has the ability to raise your metabolic rate, too, allowing you to burn more calories.
Preparation is key! “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.
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. Jennifer Stagg, naturopathic physician. 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. There are so many varieties of green tea that you’re sure to find a flavor to enjoy. Have a cup each morning and think about replacing high calorie sodas, sugar-laden sports drinks and fruit juices with green tea. [Photos: Shutterstock]