If you’re trying to stick to a new intermittent fasting plan, you’re going to want to see what we’ve learned about tea. Not only can tea make your fasting experience more enjoyable and manageable, but it will actually make your intermittent fasting more effective.
Yes really, tea! Considered to be a health elixir in many ancient cultures, this simple drink is a powerhouse enhancer for your intermittent fasting lifestyle. You know all those incredible proven benefits you can get from intermittent fasting? Well, drinking the right kind of tea will actually increase the health benefits you experience.
Read on to discover the documented benefits that drinking tea can unlock for you, which teas you should be drinking, and also how much. Cheers!
Why should I be fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a surprisingly simple and sustainable diet, and it has something for everyone – whether you’re looking to lose weight, increase your athletic performance or boost your brain health. The benefits are far-reaching and well-documented. (1)
Ready to get on board? All you need to know to start is that intermittent fasting is simply a schedule that divides your day into two parts: an eating window and a fasting window. While most diet plans are fundamentally concerned with WHAT you eat, this plan is all about WHEN you eat, and that’s it! You can check out our guide to intermittent fasting schedules here.
The structure of intermittent fasting is meant to make the most of your body’s natural metabolic processes every day, so that you can be on your way to long-term optimal health. We’ve also created a helpful beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting that will get you started.
How Tea Enhances the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
1. Dramatically reduces hunger pangs
Especially in the first couple of weeks of intermittent fasting, it can be very normal to experience hunger pangs. Please know, this is NOT because intermittent fasting causes any kind of starvation. (Read more about the perfectly safe effects of intermittent fasting here.)
Those hunger pangs are simply a function of the fact that your system is spoiled and used to being fed every few hours. But remember, your body doesn’t actually move from the “fed” state to the “fasted” state until approximately 4 hours after you’ve had your last meal. You don’t want to give up on one of the most potentially beneficial eating plans around just because of a growling tummy, right?
Tea to the rescue! It’s not just something to fill your belly. Green tea catechins have been proven to lower your ghrelin levels. (2) What’s ghrelin, you ask? Ghrelin is a hormone known as the “hunger hormone,” and it is the primary culprit of those annoying hunger pangs. For many of us, lifestyle, environmental and biological stressors can lead to a hormone imbalance which will actually set off hunger pangs that have nothing to do with a true need to eat.
Normalizing your ghrelin levels will alleviate this problem and help you adapt to intermittent fasting with minimal discomfort. Now that’s a fast fix!
2. Aids in weight loss
Green tea, in particular, has been proven time and time again to be a successful aid in reducing body fat and LDL cholesterol. (3) (4) This goes above and beyond mere weight loss — these are true long-term health benefits!
The catechins in green tea seem to be particularly effective in burning visceral abdominal fat, which is the most unhealthy (and potentially dangerous!) fat that your body stores. In fact, studies have shown that green tea can aid in reducing waist size without changing body weight. (5)
The other way tea can aid weight loss is because caffeine has actually been proven to increase your body’s production of ketones. (6) This means you’ll slide into a fat-burning mode even sooner.
3. Improves Autophagy (Promotes Anti-Aging)
Auto what? Your body relies on a process called “autophagy” to clear out old and damaged tissues and cells. You can think of it as housecleaning for your body on a cellular level. Autophagy is necessary to maintain muscle mass, reduce the progression of age-related diseases, and maintain mental health and function.
When you fast and give your body a break from the constant effort of digesting food, it is able to focus more energy on the repair functions of autophagy. (7) Even better, drinking tea has been found to enhance the rate of autophagy in your body. This enhanced autophagy is the scientific reason behind why both tea and intermittent fasting have been linked to anti-aging.
4. Boosts detoxification
What makes tea such a unique substance is the polyphenols contained in tea leaves. Polyphenols are antioxidants that battle free radicals found in your body and have powerful detoxification properties. Ingesting polyphenols can help you experience improved gut health and digestion, healthier skin, sustained energy, improved mental clarity, a stronger immune system and reduced stress.
Tea is hands-down the richest source of polyphenols found in nature, but you do need to make sure you are getting them in sufficient quantity to experience these detoxification benefits.
Teas That Enhance Intermittent Fasting
The word “tea” often gets thrown around in a general sense when talking about healthy drinks. But have you ever found yourself staring down the tea selection at your local coffee shop or grocery store aisle and feeling overwhelmed? Us too! Especially if you’re new to tea-drinking, it can be daunting to figure out which type of tea you should choose! We want to help you break it down by highlighting the four types of tea which can be most beneficial to intermittent fasting.
Did you know that green tea is considered to be the healthiest drink in the world, right after water? It’s true!
As mentioned above, the catechins in green tea are proven to aid in the reduction of body fat and LDL cholesterol. And since green tea contains not only these amazing catechins but also caffeine, these two elements work together to boost your metabolic rate and ability to burn fat.
In fact, one study showed that your daily calorie expenditure could increase by up to 4% by drinking green tea. (8) When that increase is happening on a daily basis, it makes more of a difference than you’d think!
The green tea catechins are also potent antioxidants, which are thought to protect the body from cellular damage and inflammation. And don’t forget what we mentioned above about green tea affecting your ghrelin levels, so you’ll definitely want to grab a cup anytime you’re struggling with hunger pangs or cravings.
Fun fact: black tea and green tea are derived from the exact same plant! The only difference is in how the tea leaves are processed. Black tea leaves are fermented, while green tea leaves are not.
While green tea has continually claimed all the attention of the health world, black tea is finally starting to get the recognition it is due, particularly because of its fermented properties. Most people don’t realize that black tea is a very potent prebiotic, excellent for promoting balanced gut health!
The fermentation process means that black tea provides slightly less antioxidants than green tea, but it also means that black tea provides more caffeine.
This might make black tea a great choice for you, because caffeine can not only help give you energy if fasting is causing you to lag, but it also has been shown to enhance your ability to switch to fat-burning (ketosis) and increase the rate of autophagy in your body.
The compounds found in black tea have been linked to increased heart health, plus improved digestion and detoxification, and even reduced stress levels. Black tea contains something called methylxanthine, which boosts your serotonin levels. Increased serotonin leads to improved mood and relaxation.
So if you happen to find yourself stressed about your new intermittent fasting regimen, or maybe a bit grumpy during the hours you can’t eat (it’s okay, we won’t tell!), black tea might be your new best friend.
A tea with added ginger is an excellent option while fasting. Ginger is well known for its ability to soothe an upset stomach, but drinking it can actually reduce hunger pangs and cravings. Ginger also has the added benefits of improving your digestion and boosting your immune system. So you can be less hungry and stay healthier too!
Known to be a potent detoxification elixir, rooibos tea is an excellent herbal option, for when you don’t want the caffeine boost that green and black teas will give you. Legend has it that Cleopatra drank rooibos tea regularly for clear and glowing skin. She was on to something because rooibos does indeed help the body fight off toxins and improve circulation.
Even better, rooibos also supports your liver in processing fats and clearing them from the body. One study showed that rooibos caused existing fat to be metabolized faster and prevented new fat cells from forming. (9) No wonder rooibos tea is considered to be a powerful addition to an intermittent fasting plan!
How Much Tea Do I Need To Drink?
So can you just add a cup of tea to your daily intake and reap these incredible benefits? Not quite. Up until now, the health benefits of tea have remained hard to reach because you would need to brew and drink massive quantities every day in order to get the ideal amount of polyphenols and antioxidants.
But there’s a better way! New developments in tea-making have created a means to get all the benefits in just a couple cups per day. And it’s as easy as drinking water. Read on for more details.
The old way
In order to unlock the benefits found in tea, studies have shown you need to drink a minimum of 3 cups of high quality tea per day. This is based on the traditional way we are accustomed to brewing tea: in hot water. Did you know that brewing anything (tea leaves, coffee beans) in hot water causes oxidation, which is essentially the same thing as rusting? Yuck! That heat and oxidation actually destroy a substantial amount of the polyphenols and catechins that are responsible for the health benefits of tea.
The new way
Enter cold brewing. A cold brew process allows all those amazing polyphenols and catechins in tea leaves to be extracted without destroying them. In fact, a cold-brewed cup of tea contains 2 to 3 times the antioxidants of a hot brewed cup. (10) That means you can drink one cup of cold brew and enjoy the benefits equivalent to 2-3 cups of hot brew. Pique tea has revolutionized the tea market by introducing the world’s first cold-brewed tea crystals.
Wait — that doesn’t mean the drink is cold!
You can still enjoy a cup of hot cold-brewed tea! Sounds like an oxymoron, right? A common misconception is that cold-brewing means a cold temperature drink. Here’s what actually happens: the tea leaves themselves are cold-brewed in order to extract all the amazing polyphenols and catechins and preserve them.
Pique Tea has perfected this process with their patented cold-brew crystallization technique, which transforms the cold-brewed tea into tea crystals that you can instantly dissolve in any temperature water. Voila — super healthy and potent tea that’s as easy to drink as water!
Look, fasting is not easy. Especially when you’re first starting out. Tea just might be the difference that will help you unlock the healing power potential within your own body!