The One Drink You Need To Lose Weight, Say Experts
There is no magical potion that can radically change the numbers on the scale (at least not in a safe or sustainable way). But there is one super-powerful beverage that's been scientifically proven to support weight loss—green tea.
One of the healthiest drinks on the planet, green tea has been linked to loads of benefits, including boosting your metabolism and supporting healthy weight loss. It is high levels of polyphenols—a plant compound that has been linked to many health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and supporting weight loss. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work)
Green tea also contains a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (otherwise known as EGCG). Antioxidants help protect cells and molecules from damage caused by free radicals—damage that can increase the risk of certain diseases.
"EGCG has been shown to enhance metabolic activities and may prevent weight gain or assist with weight maintenance," says Robin Barrie Kaiden, MS, RD, CDN. "It may enhance thermogenesis (the way in which the body uses energy to make heat) or decrease appetite."
One study even revealed green tea extract increased the number of calories burned by 4%.
Another way green tea can help you reach your body goals? By kicking your booty into gear as a source of caffeine. Drinking it may improve your physical performance and get you through workout slumps thanks to caffeine's ability to help convert fatty acids from the tissue into energy.
How much green tea should you drink?
"Most studies show 2 to 5 cups of green tea a day can be beneficial for heart disease and diabetes protection, as well as aiding in weight loss," says Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slim Down with Smoothies.
However, it's important to note, "everyone is different and metabolizes foods and drinks differently," says Burak, who recommends incorporating green tea into your day, without going overboard. "Find that happy medium and start with 2 cups a day." That way, it becomes a natural habit that's easier to stick to—and benefit from—long term.
Kaiden agrees. "With all its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, [green tea] can be very beneficial to an overall diet, but it is not the 'silver bullet' that will suddenly make you skinny," she says.
How to incorporate green tea into your day
A good ol' fashioned cup of green tea is as simple as it gets.
"Steeping with fresh herbs like mint (or even ginger, oregano, rosemary or dandelion root) gives you an extra dose of antioxidants," says Kaiden. "This is done in the Blue Zones—areas of the world where people live past age 100."
You can also whisk up a matcha latte! Matcha has been gaining buzz for quite a while now—for good reason! It's made from finely ground green tea leaves, which means you're drinking the actual leaves instead of just steeping them.
"This provides more nutrients than regular steeped green tea, including extra chlorophyll," says Kaiden. Add your favorite nut milk and a touch of honey and voilá—you've got a creamy, delicious, healthy latté.
Tossing in some matcha to your protein shake or smoothie is another great way to get your daily dose.
"I create smoothies like the Macho Green Matcha from my book with high-grade matcha powder as an additive," says Burak. "A scoop of this bitter powder blended with natural sweetness from fruit creates a tasty nutritious treat without having to drink it straight up."
Or simply stock up on one of these best green teas to buy!