I’ve been struggling with belly fat and searching for an effective tea to help me lose weight for a long time. Thankfully, I finally found my favourite tea, hibiscus, which helped me drop a dress size in a month.
Hibiscus tea may be an effective herbal remedy for weight loss. It has shown potential in preventing weight gain, promoting belly fat burning, and reducing fat absorption. Hibiscus could possibly lower cholesterol and triglycerides, too.
Let’s look at the evidence for hibiscus, a refreshing herbal tea, as a supportive remedy for weight loss. How does it work, and what can it do?
Why hibiscus is great for weight loss
Hibiscus tea may be an effective weight-loss aid for several reasons while being much safer than many fads. Drinking hibiscus tea directly assists in weight loss by preventing body fat gain and promoting fat burning.
Hibiscus can help prevent weight gain
First of all, hibiscus can prevent weight gain by impairing the accumulation of body fat.
We gain body fat through fat cells’ impressive ability to grow in size, as they store large amounts of fatty acids relative to the size of a normal cell. Fewer, smaller fat cells mean a slimmer you.
One way hibiscus helps to prevent weight gain is by partially blocking the development of new fat cells. As for already-matured fat cells, hibiscus extract has been shown to inhibit their accumulation of fatty acids.
Under normal circumstances, insulin and stress hormones help to push stem cells towards becoming fat cells.
When researchers added in hibiscus extract, it helped keep these hormones at bay. Therefore, hibiscus reduced the number of new fat cells formed and impaired their ability to start “collecting” fatty acids.
If you are looking for some other herbal teas that may assist in weight loss through hormonal pathways, learn more in this article.
Promote fat burning with hibiscus tea
As our metabolisms slow down when we get older, our body stores more belly fat. Luckily, hibiscus extract can support our ability to burn fat.
Hibiscus works by turning up the AMPK gene, which plays many roles in cellular energy production, the physical stress response, and cellular maintenance and regeneration.
Part of why our metabolism slows down is because of reduced cellular energy generation, with one reason being lower function of the AMPK enzyme. More energy is then stored as body fat instead of being actively used.
In a lab study on liver cells, hibiscus extract increased AMPK function, reducing the levels of fat in liver cells. It both increased the breakdown of fat and prevented the accumulation of fat.
Your AMPK gene turns up energy generation and use, as well as the clearance of old parts of your cells. These old, damaged parts don’t contribute as much and can even be harmful to healthy components.
This all means that turning up AMPK also has anti-aging properties and general benefits for metabolic health. Shifting your metabolism to a more youthful state not only assists in losing excess body fat but also improves your energy levels and removes old, damaged components of your cells and tissues.
Hibiscus extract benefits your metabolic health by preventing fat cells from growing in size and number and turning up cellular energy production and “garbage” clearance.
Indirect weight loss benefits of hibiscus tea
Hibiscus tea has other benefits that can contribute to weight loss, or help prevent heart disease, a common consequence of being overweight.
Hibiscus tea may reduce the absorption of dietary fat and displace sugar intake, assisting in weight loss. The tea could lower blood levels of cholesterol and fat too.
Fat absorption can be reduced by hibiscus
Another reason why hibiscus tea could help you lose weight is by reducing fat absorption.
Hibiscus tea may impair the activity of the digestive enzymes we need to break down fat, so it can be absorbed into the body.
In lab studies, it showed that the components of hibiscus extract could decrease fat absorption in mice. The group fed with hibiscus extract at 15% were found to reduce fat absorption significantly and also lower weight gain.
Thanks to hibiscuses ability to reduce fat absorption, you may prefer to drink the tea with meals. However, although hibiscus tea could be an effective addition to a healthy diet, it is not a substitute. As some fats are also very healthy, keep it away from foods such as oily fish, hemp seeds and avocado.
You can drink hibiscus tea even on an empty stomach because it does not contain any irritating phytochemicals. Its active substances are mostly antioxidants such as vitamin C and anthocyanins, common in fruits with superfood status.
Hibiscus may reduce cholesterol
Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (fats). Fortunately, hibiscus has been proved to help reduce cholesterol levels, preventing heart disease.
High blood levels of cholesterol can develop artery plaques, which restrict blood flow and may break off, causing more damage when they get stuck in smaller blood vessel branches.
As oxidative stress not only triggers the production of more cholesterol but also promotes artery plaque formation. With its powerful antioxidant properties, hibiscus could protect cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol.
A clinical study of 90 obese teenagers tested hibiscus “powder” at a dose of two grams per day for one month to see how it could lower cholesterol and triglycerides. They found that hibiscus could reduce LDL, the “bad” cholesterol that contributes to artery plaque formation, by around 8%. Triglycerides dropped from 146 to 134mg/dL, which is also significant.
This study shows that you can safely drink hibiscus tea every day for weeks on end too. As for how much tea we should drink, the therapeutic dose of two grams used in the cholesterol-lowering study is achievable with one or two strong cups each day.
Hibiscus tea’s wide range of potential weight loss benefits include the reduction of fat absorption, can be a substitute for sugary drinks, and has cholesterol-lowering properties. Choose whether or not you drink it with meals carefully, however, as you don’t want to impair absorption of healthy fats.
How to make hibiscus tea to reduce belly fat and lose weight
What is the best way to use hibiscus tea when you want to lose weight? As a safe, gentle herbal remedy, there aren’t many rules you need to follow.
To make hibiscus tea, choose organic flowers in order to avoid toxic pesticides. It is also essential to find a reliable source; be sure to buy your tea from a trusted health food store such as Black Leaves.
Hibiscus tea is an antioxidant-rich, tart herbal tea that shines best as an organic tea combined with compatible flavours. You can enjoy it daily to reduce belly fat, lose weight overall, and replace soft drinks, fruit juice, or even space out wine.
As for how to steep hibiscus properly, the time depends on the strength you want. Anywhere between two to five minutes is standard, or you can even leave the teabags or tea strainer in for a strong cup.
A substitute for sugary drinks
Whether you drink sugar-sweetened soft drinks or “alternatives” with artificial sweeteners, it’s best to quit. Hibiscus can act as a replacement for sugary drinks.
The amount of sugar in soft drinks can even go up to 40 or even 50 grams in each can, which we may find ourselves drinking more than once a day. It will be safer and healthier to swap your favourite sugary drinks for hibiscus tea.
You can drink the tea hot or cold, as an iced tea. For optimal results, don’t add sugar to your hibiscus tea. Instead, you can combine it with other herbal teas for different flavours if you find drinking the one herbal tea every day quite boring.
Combinations that work well with the tart flavour and vibrant red of hibiscus tea include dried fruit pieces, such as berries or citrus. Fresh lemon juice fits best with iced hibiscus tea.
Ginger or cinnamon add in a depth of spicy warmth, as well as their own anti-inflammatory health benefits. Green tea can also be added, mixing a mildly bitter flavour and a strong antioxidant capacity with the tartness of hibiscus.
Hibiscus herbal tea should be organic, combined with ingredients that provide flavour without adding sugar, and be enjoyed with meals for optimal weight loss benefits. You can drink it every day, at any time, whether it is hot or cold.
Other benefits of hibiscus tea on women’s health
Hibiscus tea brings women other benefits too, which can complement its properties as a weight loss aid. While acting as an antioxidant, it can also help reduce water retention and blood pressure.
Hibiscus can help relieve water retention
Sluggish kidney function and circulation become more common as we get older and can cause an accumulation of water and sodium in your body’s tissues. Drinking hibiscus tea may help out if you struggle with both excess body fat and fluid.
Hibiscus tea acts as a diuretic, boosting both water and sodium excretion in urine.
Improving sodium elimination is important because it can promote water retention through attracting water. Even better, hibiscus can do this without increasing potassium loss, which is another key mineral we need to regulate muscle contraction, including in the blood vessels.
These effects lower blood pressure too. High blood pressure is a common consequence of being overweight or obese and contributes to the increased risk of cardiovascular problems with excess body fat.
One clinical study showed that drinking hibiscus tea for one month was equally effective as a common medication for the problem. On average, participants had a 14mmHg reduction in systolic (maximum) blood pressure, and an 11mmHg drop in diastolic (minimum) pressure.
While there is no best time to drink hibiscus tea, the one exception may be before bed as it is a diuretic. It is best to separate any diuretics from bedtime by around two hours.
If you want to know more about other remedies to relieve water retention in your legs, check out this article.
Improve cellular protection with hibiscus
Most of hibiscus flowers’ active substances are antioxidants, which can help protect our cells and tissues against damage.
Lab research shows that they can guard us against oxidative damage in fatty tissue, which is notoriously damaging to the brain with age, and support the reserves of our own antioxidants. Water extracts of hibiscus (in other words, strong tea) are effective in these ways.
These antioxidant properties may protect tissues such as our liver and kidneys, too, at least according to lab studies. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is another common consequence of being overweight or obese, making preventive remedies helpful when you’ve been overweight for a long time.
If you have type II diabetes, the potential kidney-protective benefits of hibiscus could be relevant to you, as their small blood vessels are at risk of damage from unabsorbed blood sugar.
Hibiscus tea’s other benefits in reducing water retention, blood pressure and cell damage can help to prevent the consequences of long-term overweight and obesity.
Hibiscus tea is no risky fad. Instead, it has many benefits if you want to lose body fat, both directly supporting weight loss and helping to prevent obesity-related disease. These range from reducing body fat accumulation, to slowing dietary fat absorption and possibly protecting your liver, kidneys and other organs from oxidative stress.
You can enjoy hot or cold hibiscus tea combined with other tart, sweet or warm flavours such as dried berries, cinnamon or citrus peel. Just remember to choose organic teas, and stay away from adding sugar.
However, if you want to lose weight and belly fat effectively, it’s always important to include hibiscus tea (or any other herbal remedy) in an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.