As a healthy lifestyle blogger and an integrative dietitian, I keep my eyes and ears open to all the hot new topics and research on the web regarding health. Two of the conversations that have come up many times recently are related to “detox” and “tea”. One that came up last week as I was preparing for this post was this question:
“I would like your expert opinion since you are both grounded by science yet holistic in your approach: what is your take on this whole Dandelion root Tea ‘detox’ kick the industry is on? Why are people really believing they are going to ‘flush the fat’ out of their system? Can’t wait to hear your professional opinion!”
There is so much dogma on the internet, I am in no way promoting any type of “detox” unless it includes just eating whole, real foods such as my inTENsive Reset & Refresh.
Since January is officially Hot Tea Month, I am going to share these three things:
- Give you the breakdown on the types of tea and the health benefits of tea
- Answer the FAT FLUSHING question
- Tell you about a particular tea that I am loving at the moment because of its highly researched health benefits.
MATCHA GREEN TEA
This is my absolute favorite because of its amazing health benefits. It is filled with chlorophyll and antioxidants! It comes in a powder form and can be used in many different ways. I love to add it to my overnight oats and smoothies! The thing that makes this one superior is that the entire leaf is ground up into a powder. When ingested you are getting all of the nutrition from the leaves instead of just sipping the leaf “juice”.
These teas are very popular in Asian cultures. They have a more delicate flavor because they stop the oxidation process by heating the leaves as soon as they are picked. This tea is caffeinated as well unless stated otherwise. Some green teas can have an earthy, grassy flavor so I like to add raw, local honey to them to cut the bitterness. Only brew these types of tea until they are just starting to steam and steep for 2 minutes.
These are only partially oxidized so they don’t have a lot of color when brewed, but different versions can be darker than others. These have the most complex flavor profiles. These teas can be many different flavors ranging from sweet to earthy to floral or spicy. Brew to just steaming for 3-6 minutes depending on darkness of the tea.
Black tea is one of the most popular teas in North America and around the world. It is generally strong in flavor because of the process by which it is made. The leaves are rolled and bruised, causing rapid oxidation. Oxidation is the browning that happens when you leave a chopped avocado or apple exposed to the air. Black tea does contain caffeine so if you are limiting this I would suggest an herbal or decaffeinated tea. My favorite is an earl grey tea latte with lavender and honey, sometimes called a London Fog. Here is a great recipe. Brew it to near boiling water and steep it 2-4 minutes.
White teas are the least oxidized which is what makes them so light in color when brewed. They have very light, delicate flavors as well. These teas are very high in antioxidants and can tend to be the most expensive. Brew these with hot water for 4-5 minutes.
Herbal “teas” are in their own category, because they are herbs, spices, or flowers that are combined with a type of tea. These are great for those starting to drink tea because they might have fruity, sweet, or spicy flavors that most are familiar with. Brew to near boiling water and steep for 4-15 minutes. Don’t underestimate these teas! They can be very powerful. Here are some of my personal favorites:
WHY IS TEA GOOD FOR ME?
WHAT I’M CURRENTLY LOVING….
Brassica Tea is one of my favorite new teas combining the powers from green and black tea with that of broccoli. Yes, you heard me, BROCCOLI. Before you shut me down, I hope you will reconsider because of its fabulous health benefits that are truly licensed and patented by Johns Hopkins University.
Brassica Tea contains truebroc brand of glucoraphanin, a powerful antioxidant found in broccoli. Glucoraphanin is a pre-cursor to sulforaphane, which has been studied extensively by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. In fact, these researchers – Dr. Paul Talalay and Dr. Jed Fahey – were the first to identify the health benefits of sulforaphane. Sulforaphane and its precursor glucoraphanin (sulforaphane glucosinolate) act as part of the plant’s defense system – sulforaphane is responsible for the very potent sulfur smell and bitter taste of broccoli.
Once glucoraphanin is converted to sulforaphane, the sulforaphane helps to boost the body’s Phase II Enzyme System to help protect cells. This system helps to reduce oxidative stressors and enhance the removal of environmental toxins, increasing cellular antioxidant defense and contributing to healthy organ function.
Trust me, Brassica Tea tastes nothing like broccoli, even though it contains 15 mg of glucoraphanin, which is equivalent to the amount of glucoraphanin in one serving of broccoli.
DOES TEA REALLY FLUSH FAT?
One of my favorite books on the shelf is my Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Here is the truth about the nasty little weed called DANDELION.
Proper name: Taraxacum officinale (Asteraceae) AKA the Dandelion.
We all know this as the weed that attacks our beautiful lawn, but it has an astonishing range of health benefits.
Leaves: can be eaten in salads, and have long been used as a diuretic (hence all the “fat flush” non-sense). Unlike many conventional diuretics, they contain high amounts of potassium. The dandelion leaf can be a natural way to treat high blood pressure because it helps to decrease the fluid volume in the body.
Root: involved in detoxification process in the liver and gallbladder by helping to remove waste products and stimulates the kidneys to release toxins in the urine. It can be beneficial for many conditions including constipation, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions including arthritis and gout. The root may act as a mild laxative and has been used to improve digestion.
Fresh or dried dandelion herb is also used as a mild appetite stimulant, and to improve upset stomach. Preliminary research suggests that dandelion may help improve liver and gallbladder function. But this study was not well designed.
You can find dandelion herbs and roots fresh or dried in a variety of forms, including tinctures, liquid extract, teas, tablets, and capsules.
Dandelion leaf may act as a diuretic, which can make drugs leave your body faster. It also interacts with a number of medications that are broken down by the liver. If you are taking prescription medications, ask your doctor before taking dandelion leaf regularly.
So to answer the question, does it “flush fat?” Not quite. The only way you get get rid of fat is to burn it. Just like the question stated – through CO2. The “flushing” that everyone is buzzing about is the elimination of toxins from the body and its diuretic effects. Because it IS nice to get rid of the bloated tummies! If you think you are flushing fat you are not, but you ARE flushing nasty toxins from your body and helping to take out the trash in the body’s garbage can – the liver.
JOIN ME for the GIVEAWAY!
Why don’t you all join me in celebrating tea this month? I have partnered with Brassica because I just launched my new inTENsive Reset & Refresh –a 10 day program to whole, real foods. This program encourages tea throughout. We are giving away 5 boxes of Brassica Tea with truebroc™ glucoraphanin in different flavors and one copy of my 10 day program, inTENsive Reset & Refresh!
Comment below with your favorite tea to enter the giveaway! Winner will be chosen on Thursday Jan. 21st at noon EST!