Green tea is great for you, this we know. But there are also teas to help boost your burn at the gym, stop you from grabbing that candy bar at 3 p.m. and even chill you out when you’re feeling stressed. Rather than reaching for your morning coffee click through for our top 10 teas to help you drink your way slimmer, happier and healthier. No detoxing necessary.
Increase Your Burn
You probably know oolong tea as the drink served alongside your kung pao chicken and fortune cookies, but aside from washing down your calorie-laden meal, oolong can also help you lose weight. While green tea gets most of the limelight when it comes to healthy teas, oolong actually contains larger quantities of the polyphenols that aid in weight loss. One study, conducted by the U.S. Agriculture Research Services Diet and Human Laboratory, showed individuals who drank oolong tea burned 67 more calories per day than groups who drank caffeinated water, half strength oolong tea or non-caffeinated water. Four cups a day of metabolism boosting tea = one more guilt free dessert (albeit a small one).
Cure the Jitters
If you’re like me, anxiety-inducing situations crop up every two days. Another bill to pay — mega stress levels. Another wedding to attend — crippling butterflies. Large family event — bundle of nerves (slash pure dread). You get the drift. To take the edge off, try passionflower, a calming herb first used by Native Americans to curb anxiety. It has also been used to treat insomnia and hysteria according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. To feel like you’ve just spent an hour meditating, add a few drops of passionflower extract (you can get it at your local vitamin shop) to a warm beverage before bedtime. Bonus: It will also help you sleep. You can also steep the dried herb in boiling water and sip throughout the day to maintain an even keel.
Stop Your Belly Woes
We’ve all had at least one embarrassing trip to the drugstore. You know the one, where you dressed shadily and tried not to spot anyone you know, all the while having that feeling that the check-out lady would embarrass you with a loudspeaker price check. Rather than making a trip to the store for Gas-X or laxatives, ease digestion distress (think: constipation, gas or bloating) with peppermint tea. According to the National Library of Medicine, peppermint tea relaxes your GI tract and relieves spasms in smooth muscle tissues, allowing you to digest more smoothly. Packaged tea may do the trick, but for best results use loose-leaf peppermint steeped in a teapot or French press.
Knock Out Your Headache
It’s always when you have the least time for it that a crippling headache kicks in. Call it nature’s way of telling you to slow down already. Since you can’t always (Read: ever) tell your boss to shove his unrealistic deadlines, ginger tea may help. According to Dr. Oz (my doctor of choice when I’m obsessively Googling my symptoms), ginger tea is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. The spicy root helps to block prostaglandin synthesis (which causes the swelling you get when you have a headache). Rather than gnawing on a chunk of gingerroot, slice some up and boil in hot water for a homemade herbal tea, or take the easy route and pick up some ready-to-brew tea bags. Ginger tea can also help with nausea — headache-inducing or otherwise.
Curb 3 p.m. Cravings
It’s 3 p.m. and aside from watching the clock tick by, all you can think about is what snacks you can snag to make the day go by faster. I readily admit to sneaking a bag of chips or a sweet treat rather than an apple when I hit my midday lull. Instead of raiding the refrigerator, take a break from your computer to brew a cup of green tea. Plant chemicals called EGCG can magically make you feel full, so you’ll feel like you just ate a pan of brownies (minus the guilt). Bonus: Green tea is also shown to give you energy, so you won’t get the crash you get from carb- or sugar-laden afternoon snacks — and it helps keep your body from storing fat. So long, love handles!
Catch More ZZZs
Remember all that anxiety I mentioned? Well, let’s just say those bouts of stress do not make for restful nights. Enter valerian root, the sandman of tea. Valerian root has been used for a variety of health issues including muscle pain, anxiety and menopausal hot flashes, but it’s most common use is as a natural sleep aid. Valerian acts as a mild sedative, helping you sleep better and uninterrupted.
Freshen Your Breath
For those days you forget your breath mints (or forgot to brush your teeth), a cup of polyphenol-rich black tea can save you from embarrassing bad breath. The antioxidants can stop plaque and other buildup from adhering to your teeth. Plus, if you’re game to swish and spit your tea (not as relaxing as simply enjoying a cup), a study by Pace University found that rinsing with black tea can inhibit bacteria growth and destroy the acids that cause tooth decay. Just remember that tea, like coffee, can stain your pearly whites, so don’t even think of using it as a toothpaste replacement.
Satiate Your Sweet Tooth
If sugar cravings are your biggest vice, skip the crash (and the calories) and opt for a cup of licorice root tea, which is naturally sweet and has only two calories per cup. Licorice root is actually 50 times sweeter than sugar, so although it doesn’t seem like it could take the place of a big bowl of ice cream, your sweet tooth will quit its fussing. However, like anything else, drink licorice tea in moderation. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns over 20 grams of licorice root a day can lead to increased blood pressure and other ailments.
Boost Your Brain Power
Sleep seems to be in short supply these days, and with less sleep comes more trips to Starbucks. Before you know it, an innocent cup-a-day coffee routine can turn into a full-blown habit, complete with $5 lattes and withdrawal headaches when you can’t get your fix. For a more natural pick-me-up, switch to ginkgo tea. Ginkgo tea not only wakes you up, but also gives you a boost of brainpower by aiding the brain in metabolizing glucose for energy to improve mental function. Translation: It makes sure your brain is getting all the nutrients it needs to solve even the toughest crossword clue.
Stop Your Sniffles
Allergies have been the bane of my existence since I was a teenager. Anyone with allergies knows this isn’t a melodramatic statement. Hay fever, itchy nose and throat and red, puffy eyes — it’s the worst. And since every year I seem to become immune to a new type of allergy medicine, this year I’ll be trying nettle tea. Stinging nettle is a natural antihistamine. While research is still out on what exactly it is about nettle that helps with allergies, it has been shown to improve sneezing and itching. The NYU Langone Medical Center states the studied dosage is 300 milligrams twice a day of freeze-dried nettle leaf, but you can also add honey and other herbs for taste. Click here for a recipe from the Gardenista.
Published By Hayley Mason
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