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Ever wondered what it is about belly fat that makes it so hard to lose? You start exercising more and you eat healthier meals, and yet it seems that the paunch doesn’t want to go anywhere! What most people don’t realize is that mental and emotional health has a lot to do with belly fat, and unfortunately the more you stress about it the harder it can be to lose.
The Impact of Stress on Belly Fat
When you are stressed out on a chronic basis, your adrenal glands secrete more cortisol (the long-term stress hormone). The purpose of cortisol is to provide your body with enough energy (by supplying glucose) in order to fight the stress you are facing. Not only are you pumping out more glucose when you’re stressed, but your body is actually resisting weight loss because it thinks that times are tough and you might starve, so it hangs onto every inch of fat in preparation.
Therefore, being stressed on a constant basis leads to:
- More excess energy, or glucose, being stored as fat [weight gain]
- Exhausted adrenal glands that cannot keep up with energy demands [exhaustion]
- Even greater cravings for sugar , or glucose, if enough cortisol cannot be produced [cravings]
Lastly, your belly fat contains the most cortisol (or stress) receptors than any other place in the body – is it any wonder that’s where your fat likes to hang out?
Herbal Teas for Weight Loss
The obvious first step to take is finding more time to relax or practice stress management techniques, but the less obvious one is actually getting to your goals faster with the help of medicinal or herbal teas. Nature’s pharmacy has provided us powerful herbs that not only have the ability to help the body cope with stress and replenish the adrenal glands, but also to help balance blood sugar levels and boost metabolism.
Below are herbs that can help accomplish all of the above, however you can also select the herbal teas or blends that are most suited to the symptom you face.
Symptom: Chronic Stress
- Also known as holy basil, tulsi is one of the most sacred plants in India; believed to have the ability to lift the mighty triad of body, mind, and spirit.
- Tulsi functions as an adaptogen, enhancing the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. Adaptogenic herbs can help your body regulate and function optimally during times of stress. (1,2)
- Chamomile has been known to have relaxing effects and can be used to help induce sleep, ease frayed nerves, and promote a general sense of calmness and well-being. It has been shown to be useful for patients with generalized anxiety disorder when compared to a placebo. (3)
- Green tea contains the nutrient L-theanine which can help improve mood and focus. L-theanine is a potent amino acid that acts as a relaxing agent without sedative effects or any of the negative side-effects of Valium or Xanax. However, it works in a similar fashion by interacting with brain receptors to increase dopamine, GABA and glycine levels in the brain. This produces a sense of calm and reduces the perception of stress. (4,5)
Suggestions: While you can get each individual herb as a tea, the best strategy is opting for a blend that combines the therapeutic power of these herbs! Two extremely effective blends are HAPPY and SMART by Wild Leaf Active Tea. In particular, HAPPY’s joyful blend of organic whole leaf tulsi and chamomile will have you relaxed in no time.
Symptom: Sugar Cravings
- Cinnamon is well known for its use amongst diabetics in order to help keep blood sugar under control. Cinnamon in tea or sprinkled over your morning oatmeal will help regulate your blood sugar levels and keep cravings at bay. (6)
- Fennel seed is great at helping to improve digestion as well as also help regulate blood sugar levels and cravings similar to cinnamon. (7)
- This is an adaptogenic herb that helps your body copy with stress and provides some needed relief to the adrenal glands. Fortunately, it also helps regulate blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and has anti-obesity properties. (8,9)
- This strange sounding tea (pronounced ‘poo-air’) has been prized for centuries in Chinese herbalism for its health benefits. What makes it unique is the natural fermentation process that happens to its leaves before the tea is gently dried. This fermentation process helps produce micro-organisms which combine with other compounds that have been shown to be particularly beneficial for fat burning. (10)
Suggestions: Wild Leaf Active Tea’s SLIM blend contains a powerful combo of pu’erh, fennel seed, and ginseng to help you blast belly fat, curb pesky cravings, and speed up your metabolism!
- This is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up without the crash. Drinkers experience a state of alert wakefulness similar to that from coffee, but without coffee’s jittery side effects.
- Like green tea, yerba mate contains three related compounds caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. These three alkaloids work together to provide unique, mild stimulant effects.
- Fortunately, yerba mate is also well-documented in helping with weight loss due to its weight loss properties (11)
- It’s not breaking news that green tea has been widely recognized as being able to improve mood and focus. This is due to its powerful combination of mood-stabilizing L-theanine and caffeine. The two compounds bind together providing a slow, even release of caffeine without the jitters.
- Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee and also is unique on how the caffeine provides a more steady stream of energy without the crash.
Suggestions: An amazing blend of organic whole leaf yerba mate, green tea, and peppermint is found in CHARGED tea to give you a whole new level of clarity and energy to start your day
How To Select The Best Tea Blend
Not all teas are created equal, especially when it comes to quality. Here are some tips on picking medicinal blends:
- Look for organic ingredients to help eliminate pesticide exposure
- Select brands that use loose-leaf or loose-packed whole leaf tea; they are made with higher quality ingredients that have their medicinal properties preserved. Loosely-packed tea also gives the tea “room to brew,” so even more of its healing qualities can be extracted.
- Look for the experts behind the blends. If it’s a naturopathic doctor, herbalist, or tea specialist then you know they’ve done their research and have chosen the ingredients for a specific purpose! For example, Wild Leaf Active Tea has a dedicated team of herbalists and tea connoisseurs who formulate their products.
- Avoid tea bags that are transparent or have windows, as this allows oxidation to occur and reduces shelf life. Tea should also be stored in light-free and air-sealed containers to maintain freshness and potency.
Where To Find Blends and Herbs:
A great place to start looking for unique blends and ingredients is your local health food store or retailer. Herbal specialty shops will often sell individual ingredients that you can pick up to make your own custom blends. You can also look online for reputable brands on Amazon or online health boutiques such as iherb.com.
If you are looking for some of the amazing suggested blends mentioned above you can grab them from www.drinkwildleaf.com and have them delivered directly to you. Remember, making the smallest change can make the biggest difference!
We got you 20% off any order of two teas or more! Just enter the code THSLEAF at checkout 🙂 The discount only lasts until January 31, 2018, so click here to get brewing the best while you still can. Enjoy!
(1) Mondal, S., Varma, S., Bamola, V. D., Naik, S. N., Mirdha, B. R., Padhi, M. M., . . . Mahapatra, S. C. (2011). Double-blinded randomized controlled trial for immunomodulatory effects of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract on healthy volunteers. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 136(3), 452-456. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.012
(2) Bhattacharya A, Muruganandam AV, Kumar V, Bhattacharya SK. Effect of poly herbal formulation, EuMil, on neurochemical perturbations induced by chronic stress. Indian J Exp Biol. 2002 Oct
(3) JD, Li Y, Soeller I, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2009;29:378-82.
(4) Pradeep; Lu, Kristy; Gray, M.; Oliver, C. (2006). “The Neuropharmacology of L-Theanine(N-Ethyl-L-Glutamine)”. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy. 6 (2): 21–30. doi:10.1300/J157v06n02_02. PMID 17182482.
(5) Lu, Kristy, Marcus A. Gray, Chris Oliver, David T. Liley, Ben J. Harrison, Cali F. Bartholomeusz, K. Luan Phan, and Pradeep J. Nathan. “The Acute Effects Of L-theanine in Comparison with Alprazolam on Anticipatory Anxiety in Humans.” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 19.7 (2004): 457-65. Web.
(6) Khan, A., Safdar, M., Khan, M. M., Khattak, K. N., & Anderson, R. A. (2003). Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 26(12), 3215-3218. doi:10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215
(7) Essential oil in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2011;4(2):139–146.
(8) Vuksan, V., Sung, M., Sievenpiper, J. L., Stavro, P. M., Jenkins, A. L., Buono, M. D., Naeem, A. (2008). Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves glucose and insulin regulation in well-controlled, type 2 diabetes: Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of efficacy and safety. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 18(1), 46-56. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2006.04.003
(10) Way, T., Lin, H., Kuo, D., Tsai, S., Shieh, J., Wu, J., . . . Lin, J. (2009). Pu-erh Tea Attenuates Hyperlipogenesis and Induces Hepatoma Cells Growth Arrest through Activating AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) in Human HepG2 Cells. J. Agric. Food Chem. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 57(12), 5257-5264. doi:10.1021/jf900730e
(11) Kim, Sun-Young, Mi-Ra Oh, Min-Gul Kim, Han-Jeoung Chae, and Soo-Wan Chae. “Anti-obesity effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine15.1 (2015): n. pag. Web.