Flat-Belly Alternatives to Coffee
Unless you drink your coffee black, you're probably mixing up a recipe for future belly fat. Add-ins like cream and sugar can cause bloating and, over time, pack on the pounds — yes, even sugar-free sweeteners. We're not going to tell you kicking the coffee is easy — or to try going cold turkey — but the benefits of backing off your morning cup may just convince you to give it a go. These healthy alternatives may not give you that jolt of caffeine you're used to, but they banish uncomfortable bloating and encourage proper digestion, maintaining your flat stomach in the future. They're also packed with potent nutrients that help promote weight loss and boost overall health.
So put those K-cups away and sip on these flat-belly beverages when you rise.
Though you're most likely to see it in waist-widening desserts and Frappuccinos, matcha is a drink with powerful weight loss potential — in its purest form. Exceptionally high-grade green tea is crushed into a fine powder, which you then whisk with hot water to create a frothy drink. Its intense waist-whittling power comes from its concentration of EGCG, which clocks in a staggering 137 times higher than that of regular green tea. "Matcha is a very pure form of green tea that contains something called EGCG, a polyphenol in matcha and green tea in general that may be anti-cancer, heart-healthy, anti-aging and may also help to slightly boost metabolism," says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.
Don't go pulling up the weeds in your backyard just yet, but do pull some dandelion tea off the supermarket shelf. Its highly potent detoxifying properties make this tea, which is made from dried roots and leaves of the lawn pest, one worth seeking out. "Dandelion tea may help cleanse the liver, promote healthy digestion and encourage detoxification in the whole body — and some believe it also promotes weight loss," says Smith. If you're feeling puffy and bloated, drinking dandelion tea may help alleviate discomfort because it also acts as a natural diuretic, flushing any excess water out of the body.
If you drink coffee brewed as dark as night, tea just isn't going to cut it. To get the robust, roasted flavor you rely on, turn to dandelion coffee. The roots of the plant are roasted to achieve that coffee-like flavor — without the caffeine. The drink itself is sold as a powder like instant coffee and often contains other natural ingredients such as roasted barley, rye, chicory root and sugar beet. While it's not your best choice for late nights at the office, the drink's a popular way to cut back on coffee to reduce your caffeine intake. And, though you may not want to admit it, backing off the juice may be good for you java junkies. Caffeine can cause dehydration, which can lead to even greater feelings of exhaustion, sluggishness and restlessness. You might find that less coffee is the key to having more energy. You'll also get the same health benefits as the tea.
Coffee may have a laundry list of healthy benefits, but there's one thing it certainly doesn't do: raise your metabolism. That's where lemon water comes in. Squeezing lemon into your water, whether you take it warm or cold, not only works overtime to hydrate your body and deliver essential nutrients but also causes your metabolism to spike, researchers say. "Lemon contains properties that boost immunity, aid digestion and counter nausea, so it's a good choice when you have an upset stomach. It also promotes healthy digestion and can get your digestive system running first thing in the morning," says Smith. But its belly-flattening potential isn't all long term: "It may also contain some anti-bloat properties," she adds. While the de-puffing properties may be enough to get you to sip this on occasion, it's the pectin that's going to get you to stick with this drink. This nutrient is a soluble fiber that has been found to support weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness. So long, mid-morning cravings!
Steeped Ginger Tea
This belly-friendly brew has a long history as a folk remedy, but it's well worth bringing back into the modern age. "Ginger contains anti-bloat, digestive and immune boosting properties," says Smith, which means it can help banish belly woes, aid in weight loss and flatten your tummy. Even better: Making it is even cheaper than teas that come in bags. All you have to do is peel and slice fresh ginger into small chunks and steep in hot water just as you would a tea bag. For a less astringent drink, add lemon juice and a small amount of honey. Drinking ginger tea will not only help alleviate bloating and digestive discomfort but also help speed up your calorie burn if taken regularly. The ritual of sipping on this brew can keep you from snacking, but research has also shown that it increases feelings of fullness to prevent overeating.