The RealiTEA of the Teatox
Can tea flatten tummies and clean out livers?
Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, aside from water alone. It has been this way for thousands of years, and become a cultural staple for many societies, some with an almost ritualistic treatment of this leafy brew. In America, tea has been less acclaimed in the past due to a sordid history and a particularly rowdy tea party a few years ago in Boston.
But since then, our relationship with the drink has healed, and tea is now enjoying a renaissance in American culture. This is due in no small part to the fitness and health crazes sweeping the nation and the spread of information about the amazing wellness benefits that this natural beverage can have. However, tea aficionados will tell you that there are vast differences from cup to cup, particularly when combining different types and flavors of tea.
What is Detox Tea?
The term "detox tea" is a recent one used to describe a variety of pre-packaged teas that are supposedly beneficial for detoxing the body. Normally, our livers do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to removing toxins from our bodies, but it doesn't hurt to give it a boost now and again. Currently, there is a fad going around the interwebs with a variety of celebrity backers on Instagram and various other social platforms, touting the "Teatox" as a way to detoxify our bodies with pre-packaged tea products. Most of these claim to have super speedy weight loss benefits as well.
But what is "Detox tea" made of? Detox tea is, simply, tea. Or it should be. Any packaged "Detox" tea should have only natural tea ingredients, with no artificial additives like fake sweeteners or laxatives. Many so-called detox teas will include these to try and make their tea more enticing, claiming it to have additional weight-loss benefits and boosted health effects. This is ridiculous. Tea doesn't need anything additional to be helpful for weight loss or health. An unsweetened cup of tea can have any range of benefits, including weight loss, completely on its own. So when searching for a detox tea, be sure to look for recognizable ingredients that belong in a cup. All natural, untainted, and simple.
What kinds of tea are healthy for detoxing?
Of the cornucopia of teas available online and in-stores, it can get more than a little overwhelming to choose even one, let alone a combination for a brew. There's black tea, white tea, chai, oolong tea, green tea, matcha, herbal, rooibos, and pu-erh, just to name a few. How do you know which is which, let alone the most beneficial for detoxing? Well, you can either sign up for a Tea Master certification course (it's a real thing) to do a lot of reading, sampling, and learning about every single different kind of tea there is, or you can find out just below.
Keep in mind that all of the teas discussed in this article is unsweetened and undoctored with milk or honey. You can start with the most holistic cup in the world and very easily ruin it by loading it up with sugar and fat. At that point, you might as well have a Starbucks frap with whip and sprinkles and call it a day.
There are as many teas out there as there are ways to prepare them.
White, Green, Oolong, and Black Teas
Tea comes in several varieties, but all "true tea" hails from a plant called Camellia sinensis. What makes these teas different are how they are prepared long before they get to you. The corresponding 'colors' of differing teas of this sort indicate how much or little they were oxidized during preparation. There are differences in processing which make small changes, but by large, white, green, oolong, and black tea are mostly the same thing, just prepared different ways.
The best thing about these teas for detoxing purposes is the amino acid L-theanine, which only appears in white and green varieties. It gives that calm yet alert feeling to our bodies, and boosts brain activity. A close second are antioxidants, and as an added benefit, many types of green tea also kickstart the metabolism, which in turn burns fat at a faster rate.
This is one you likely haven't heard of, mostly because it isn't readily available in general grocery stores and restaurants. It will require a trip to the tea shop, but who doesn't love that jaunt? Pu-erh is like a fine wine of the tea world, in that it is not only processed, but fermented. It can take years for a Pu-erh to ferment to a Tea Master's specifications, thus the higher price tag than your common variety green or black tea. But when it comes to polyphenols, nothing else in the tea world packs a bigger punch.
This is because Pu-erh are fermented and cultivated with healthy microbes and microflora, giving them incomparable gut health benefits. It is the same sort of live bacteria found in yoghurts, which help the digestive system move things through our bodies expediently.
Red rooibos is the type of rooibos to give this tea it's name, and if you know about rooibos at all, it's likely the image you conjure in your head when thinking about it. Red rooibos are the oxidized version of this tea, which is an entirely different plant than the previous teas. Rooibos comes from the leaves of a flowering bush, and is distantly related to legumes such as peas and peanuts. It has an entirely different load of antioxidants from its green, white, and black counterparts. There are fewer antioxidants in rooibos, but the variety makes up for the lack of quantity.
Rooibos is high in essential vitamins and minerals, making a cup a healthy choice for simple daily living alone. It is also said to have skin clearing benefits when drank, as well as when applied topically.
Yerba Mate Tea
This tea is from the leaves of an herb related to the holly family. It is caffeinated, but less so than a cup of coffee, and is said to provide the same waking up effects without the dreaded coffee jitters. This tea too has another slew of antioxidants, also different than it's tea cousins, and more comparable to a glass of orange juice than any other tea. It even has calcium and amino acids to boot. It is heady and strong, and likely to overpower most other flavors in a tea blend. This isn't ideal for tea connoisseurs, but for those searching for the best health benefits and less concerned with brewing the ideal cup for taste alone, Yerba Mate can cover a wide range of otherwise dissonant tastes in a blended tea.
Matcha in particular is having a surge of popularity in America. Known for its bright kelly green color and earthy taste, matcha contains enough caffeine to be a coffee replacement. It has the highest stimulant concentration of any 'traditional' tea, that is the white, green, oolong, and black teas all made from the same Camellia sinensis leaf. Unlike with other teas, matcha is a whole-leaf consumption, meaning that when the final product is made, we consume the matcha leaf rather than strain and discard it. This is a huge reason why matcha's benefits are so much greater than the sum of its parts.
Any "tea" that isn't made from the Camellia sinensis leaf can fall into this category. That includes popular "teas" like chamomile, mint, any variety of fruit teas, and others such as rooibos or yerba mate. The definition of "tea" is, in the strictest sense, infusions made from the Camellia sinensis leaf. All other infusions are just that: infusions. It is a technicality at best, and does nothing to diminish the potential benefits of a wide plethora of herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits which can be infused for beverage drinking.
These are usually caffeine-free alternatives, and can use nearly any flower, fruit, herb, or spice. Hibiscus is a popular choice for its ruby red color and sweet tart flavor. It also delivers a high dose of Vitamin C. Rosehip is excellent for satisfying a sugar craving without indulging in a caloric sweet treat. Milk Thistle is a soother for the liver, a natural way of cleaning our body's own filter. Dandelion Root is great for digestion, but it is also a diuretic, so be certain to up your water game alongside it.
That's a lot of Tea
Yes. Yes it is. And it goes even further. But there's no need to become a horticulturist in order to reap the benefits of tea. There are a ton of pre-blended selections out there made by scientists who have studied the effects of particular teas and infusions to make the best combinations for blends. When it comes to detoxing with tea, it is certainly best for a tea beginning to start with a premade blend rather than jumping in head first into making their own.
Look for pu-erh if you can find it, since the fermentation and benefits of those microbes will be the biggest weight-loss boost tea can offer. Green tea should be in there too, alongside an oolong or black tea, which will likely be the main flavor and antioxidant carrier. Spearmint is particularly good for digestion and inflammation, so it would be an excellent addition as well. Lemongrass helps with appetite, so if detox and weight loss is your goal, then it would be a great ingredient as well.
Rather than scouring the internet for all of these ingredients, buying them separately, and then blending them together, why not do the smart thing and buy a premade blend that already has all of these, plus a few more weight and detoxing bonuses? Her Fit Shape Detox tea is a great example of a quality detox tea. The ingredients list is short and all-natural which is an extraordinary sign. It is thoughtfully composed for weight-loss and detoxing, as well as energy boosting and tasty!
Detox Tea Takeaways
So now you know the detox tea benefits for weight loss and overall health, but is important to understand that tea alone cannot make all the changes you may want in your body. A detox tea is best combined with healthy options and choices elsewhere in life as well. When combined with a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, there is no end to the health benefits tea can give you. Learn more.