Are you familiar with the Hibiscus flower? If you have ever been on a tropical vacation or attended a luau, you’d surely recognize the beautiful bright red petals of the hibiscus plant. As beautiful and festive as it is, this flower can be used for much more than a right pop of color; in fact, hibiscus petals and extracts have been used around the world for hundreds of years in many different forms to enhance health and treat mild illness.
Hibiscus tea is a perfect example of how this ancient flower and the practices of ancient herbal medicine have been mainstreamed for those in search of a healthy alternative to modern medicine, this tart herbal tea is especially helpful if you’re looking to lose weight. Below are just a few of the many reasons to consider including hibiscus in your weight loss plan.
Hibiscus tea curbs your appetite:
Believe it or not, hibiscus is a natural appetite suppressant that is known to help regulate your metabolism, so the next time you start reaching for those diet pills, you may be better off making a cup of tea instead!
Hibiscus keeps you from absorbing too many carbs:
Why do we gain weight? While there are a number of factors that contribute to weight gain, the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars is a common cause. When we eat, our bodies produce an enzyme called amylase which breaks down sugars and starches so our bodies have an easier time absorbing and using them. The problem is that if we do not use those sugars and starches, we store them and eventually turn them into stored fat. Hibiscus is a naturally enzyme inhibitor that slows the production of amylase, making it harder to absorb and store extra carbs and sugars, thereby making it easier to keep that unwanted stored fat and extra pounds to a minimum.
Hibiscus is a natural diuretic
What does that mean? Put most simply, the tea will help promote urination and reduce “water weight." When urination frequency is increased, you’ll be flushing your system of retained water and salt that can cause you to feel and look a bit bloated. While increased urination will help you get rid of that excess water, it’s important to remember that eating healthy and getting enough exercise is an even more effective way to shed water weight and the few extra pounds it brings with it.
Replaces high calorie beverages:
Unsweetened Hibiscus tea is a great way to replace sugary sports drinks, juices, and soda in your diet. By doing so you can cut hundreds of calories each day and get you closer to your goal weight. Did you know that by cutting just 500 calories a day helps you lose about one pound each week? If you’re drinking hibiscus tea instead of reaching for that juice or soda, you’re already well on your way! Need a little sugar in your life? You can lightly sweeten hibiscus tea and still cut hundreds of calories out of your daily caloric intake.
One key ingredient in any weight loss plan is to stay hydrated because it helps you feel full so you snack less. When you are hydrated you’re also replenishing the water you need to increase energy and stick to your fitness routine. While staying hydrated is key, actually doing it is not so easy; especially if you’re trying to stay away from sweetened drinks and stick to water. Water can get a bit boring if that’s all you are drinking and can lead to you not drinking much of it at all, hibiscus tea is a great way to remain on your no-calorie/ low-calorie beverage plan to keep things interesting.
Delicious plain, lightly sweetened, hot, or cold, hibiscus tea can help you keep your liquid intake interesting and your hydration levels high. In fact, the “Journal for Nurse Practitioners" published a review that noted herbal teas, such as hibiscus tea, supports weight loss plans by increasing fluid intake while decreasing the consumption of sugar-laden beverages.
Does hibiscus tea really work for weight loss?
While is still much left to be done in the research world about the benefits of hibiscus and it’s impact on weight loss, there are many studies and tons of research to suggest that this powerful little plant truly can help you increase weight loss. For example, a recent study conducted in Taiwan at Chung Shan Medical University Hospital and published by the Food & Function Journal in April 2014 found that Hibiscus does indeed aid in weight loss. The study used two groups of obese patients; one group was given hibiscus extract supplements and the second group of patients were given a placebo. At the beginning of the study measurements were taken including waist circumference, percent body fat, wait-to-hip ration, and more. After 12 weeks, those patients who took the hibiscus supplements showed a reduced waist, body fat percentage, hip-to-waist ratio, and moderate weight loss when compared to those who were on the placebo.
While this does not prove that Hibiscus is an overnight cure for those who struggle with their weight, it does validate that hibiscus supplements and related products, like hibiscus tea, can be a helpful part of a larger weight loss plan.
Cool Hibiscus Tea Facts
Hibiscus Sabdariffa is an amazing plant. You can use the flowers, fruits, and the calyx (the little cup-like part of the plant that supports the flowers) for their healing properties.
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Backed by Studies
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Helps Control Cholesterol
- Strong Antioxidant Properties: Flavonoids, Polyphenol, and Anthocyanins
- Reduces Obesity
- Reduces Abdominal Fat
- Reduces Non-Alcholic Fatty Liver
- Reduces Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Lowers Serum Free Fatty Acids
Traditional Medicinal Use of Hibiscus Tea (Not Proven by Science)
- Maintaing a Healthy Heart
- Eases Coughing
- Treats Poor Appetite
- Antifungal Properties
- Antibacterial Properties
- Soothing Upset Stomach
I’m not a big fan of tea, can I take other forms of Hibiscus for health benefits?
- Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extract Powder