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(Post written by guest blogger Chloe Brotheridge)
Tea is the new coffee. There, I said it. Now, I don’t want to offend any hardcore coffee fans here, but for me at least, and for many other people, coffee just isn’t a suitable option. Sure, there may be health benefits to drinking coffee, such as reducing the risk of diabetes and Parkinson’s, but there are also negative health effects, such as hypertension, jitters, even worsened PMT (coffee contains much more caffeine than tea). For me, the intense withdrawal headaches I experienced if I skipped my daily coffee were evidence enough that coffee was having a drug like effect on me, and it was time to give it up. I haven’t looked back.
Maybe you’d like to add a bit more variety and additional health benefits into your hot beverage drinking routine, you want to lose weight, or swap those lattes for something calorie free (see here for the shocking amounts in some coffees). If so, I wanted to let you know about different types of tea that are traditionally drunk in around the world and are gaining popularity over here for their taste and health benefits.
First up is Yerbe Mate – drunk in huge quantities in South America, it often draws comparisons with green tea. It has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol, protect the liver and to benefit the cardiovascular system. Lifestyle hacker extraordinaire Tim Ferris ranks Yerbe mate as his number one favourite beverage (and he’s had some good ones!) and credits it’s three kinds of stimulants (caffeine like coffee, theophylline like green tea, and theobromine like cocoa ) as helping him create his first bestselling book, ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’. It’s gaining popularity with people who are following the latest intermittent fasting diets, as it effectively suppresses your appetite, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and aiding weight loss.
Next is good old Green Tea; rich in polyphenols (antioxidants) that are shown to reduce fat deposits in rats fed a high fat diet, prevent skin ageing, cancer and heart disease. Studies in humans show a small effect on weight loss. No, it’s not a magic bullet or the holy grail of fat burning; but it’s the little things that we do that add up, to make a big difference to our waistlines.
A further interesting study on women, showed that green tea, when combined with resistance exercises, reduced body fat, waist circumference, triacylglyceride levels and increased lean body mass and muscle strength. I like to drink Jasmine green tea, as it has a softer, floral flavour. Most people recommend two to three cups a day, but the optimal dose is yet to be fully researched. I drink mine before a workout for a clean boost of energy.
Don’t be put off by the smell of Pu’erh tea (pronounced ‘poo’air’. Yes, really). It’s been described as ‘barnyard like’; but the taste of the tea is actually rather good. This highly fermented Chinese tea has been shown (in rats albeit) to reduce fat storage and body weight. It’s also thought to be the tea of choice for none other than Victoria Beckham, who uses it to maintain her tiny frame. It has a lot of the same anti-cancer and anti-heart disease benefits as green tea, and can often be bought in combination with Yerbe Mate as a kind of super-weight-loss tea blend.
Finally, comes Matcha tea – of Japanese tea ceremony fame. This is a powdered green tea rules supreme in the antioxidant stakes and is said to contain ten times more antioxidants than regular green tea. Drinking matcha is said to increase fat burning four-fold and especially so during exercise. Advocates of matcha will tell you that it gives you a clean boost of energy, which, unlike coffee, results in no jitters of energy crash afterwards. Although you will have to experience this for yourself to be the judge.
Chloe Brotheridge is a hypnotherapist and nutritionist based in London. She can help you with anything from personal development to confidence, weight loss and sports performance using the power of your subconscious mind.
Find out more at www.easywaytochange.co.uk