Our metabolism helps control how we use energy, and when it’s slow, we can feel sluggish and weighed down. Nutrients like selenium are important for a healthy metabolism. This metabolism-boosting tea recipe is another healthy (and delicious!) way to support our energy burners.
What Is Metabolism?
According to Harvard, metabolism is how our body uses energy and burns calories 24 hours a day. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to convert our food into the energy to breathe, repair cells, and do everything else we do.
While it’s said our genes play a big role in our metabolism, there are definitely ways to support it. Eating healthy and getting enough nutrients is vital for overall health, and that doesn’t exclude metabolism. We need nutrients like selenium, iodine, and iron for proper thyroid function. Our thyroid, in turn, helps regulate our metabolism by directing the mitochondria in our cells. The thyroid is just one organ that’s involved in this process, and it’s important to support our body as a whole for the best metabolism.
Metabolism and Weight Loss
Most of us think of weight loss when we think of metabolism, but it’s so much more than that. Metabolism is how our body gets things done, not just fat burning. When we speed up metabolism, we support a healthier body all around.
Metabolism-Boosting Tea Recipe
There are a lot of fat-burning tea recipes out there that name a bunch of ingredients. I wanted to make sure that when I was making this tea recipe, I could find science supporting the benefits. Thankfully I found some! Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients and how they work in the metabolism-boosting tea recipe.
Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)
The type of tea you choose is important. Green tea is one of the most popular and most used drinking teas to help increase metabolism. Green tea has potent antioxidants, or polyphenols, called catechins that protect against oxidation.
Harvard reports how green tea lowered the risk of heart disease and improved blood pressure in some studies.
A meta-analysis found the catechin EGCG in green tea also has a positive effect on weight loss. There are a few caveats, though, when it comes to green tea. The Chinese and people from Asia who drank green tea saw slightly more benefits than Caucasians. And Caucasians who consumed very high amounts of caffeine had fewer weight management benefits from the EGCG.
These mixed results show that genes and diet likely play a role in green tea’s metabolism benefits. Overall, though, green tea is full of antioxidants and health benefits that support a healthy body weight!
If you don’t have any green tea on hand, there are some other options. The best teas for this are high quality, organic, and support the metabolic rate. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of tea and which ones will (and won’t) work in this recipe.
Metabolism Tea Substitutes
- Oolong tea also increases the metabolic rate to burn fat cells. This can be subbed for the green tea if it’s what you have on hand. Be aware it does have more caffeine than green.
- Matcha is a type of powdered green tea that’s grown a little differently. While it’s full of antioxidants, it adds a much stronger flavor. I wouldn’t use it in this recipe but let us know if you try it!
- Black tea is much higher in caffeine, and it doesn’t have as many antioxidants and polyphenols as green tea. It’s an option, but not my first choice.
- White tea comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant (as does black tea). It’s harvested early on, though, and has a very delicate flavor. Because it isn’t as processed, it has a similar antioxidant profile to green tea but has fewer studies behind it.
- Pu-erh tea is a rarer black tea with a long fermenting time. This Chinese tea has fewer antioxidants than white tea or green tea. There’s some evidence it improves cholesterol, but human studies are lacking. I prefer a more antioxidant-rich tea here.
- Herbal teas like peppermint, hibiscus, and rooibos tea are delicious but don’t offer the same benefits as green tea. They also add their own flavors that don’t always blend as well with the other ingredients.
I like this tea hot, but if you prefer, you can turn your hot cup of tea into iced tea. Just cut the amount of water in half and pour over some ice when finished brewing.
Did you know we have different types of fat in our bodies? According to Mayo Clinic, brown fat has mitochondria that burn calories and keep us warm. Ice baths (yes, really!) are one way to convert unhealthy white fat to brown, but there’s also another way.
A 2019 study found that ginger ramps up metabolism and enhances brown fat tissue function. The ginger even helped turn unhealthy white fat into brown fat. Ginger helps with digestion, obesity, and is thought to support healthy blood flow.
Spice it Up
A few other spices have shown promise when it comes to metabolism. Turmeric and red pepper, like cayenne, also have a positive effect on our metabolisms. The capsaicin in red peppers not only helps burn more fat but can give us an energy boost, too.
Cayenne peppers are also high in vitamin C. A 2005 review found that people with enough vitamin C burn fat better than people who are deficient. The more vitamin C stores someone had, the healthier their weight was. There’s more than one factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, but vitamin C is one piece of the puzzle.
Cardamom is yet another spice with metabolism-supporting benefits. A randomized controlled trial of overweight diabetic patients found that cardamom helped significantly. Cardamom improved insulin sensitivity and improved other diabetes-related health factors. Even for someone who isn’t diabetic, cardamom can have positive blood sugar benefits.
Sweeten the Deal with Honey
I use raw honey a lot in my recipes, like my favorite elderberry syrup. Raw honey is hypoglycemic, which means it has less of an impact on blood sugar levels. Honey is a superfood in itself and is my sweetener of choice here.
Pulling it All Together
The ingredients for this metabolism-boosting tea help support your body, all while being delicious. It has a sweet and spicy taste that can be addictive. The tea does have some caffeine in it, and I don’t like to have caffeine every single day.
I wouldn’t drink this during pregnancy, and breastfeeding moms may find the caffeine keeps the baby awake.
Be sure to drink high-quality, organic loose-leaf green tea. The loose-leaf varieties are lower in fluoride than the cheap, bagged versions. This tea is very similar in taste to my golden milk recipe but with a few metabolism-boosting changes.
Creamy Metabolism-Boosting Tea Recipe
- Heat the water, turmeric, ginger, fennel, cayenne, and cardamom together until it starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the green tea and steep for 3 minutes.
- Strain everything through a fine mesh sieve.
- Add the honey and milk, and stir or blend in a blender until frothy.
This article was medically reviewed by Jessica Meyers, MPAP, PA-C, RH(AHG), who specializes in herbal protocols and functional medicine. You can also find Jessica on Instagram. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
What is your favorite way to support your metabolism? Leave us a comment and let us know, and be sure to share this post with a friend!
- Almajano. et al. (2008). Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of tea infusions. Food Chemistry, 108(1), 55-63
- Erejuwa, O. O., et al. (2010). Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of honey supplementation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. 80(1), 74–82.
- Fatemeh, Y., et al. (2017). The effect of cardamom supplementation on serum lipids, glycemic indices and blood pressure in overweight and obese pre-diabetic women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of diabetes and metabolic disorders, 16, 40.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (March 30, 2021). The Truth About Metabolism.
- Hensrud, Donald. (2020). What is brown fat? How is it different from other body fat? Mayo Clinic.
- Johnston C. S. (2005). Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(3), 158–165.
- Mullur, R., Liu, Y. Y., & Brent, G. A. (2014). Thyroid hormone regulation of metabolism. Physiological reviews, 94(2), 355–382.
- Wang, J., Li, D., Wang, P., Hu, X., & Chen, F. (2019). Ginger prevents obesity through regulation of energy metabolism and activation of browning in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 70, 105–115.
- Weil, Andrew. (May 28, 2012). What is Pu-erh tea?