As we head into the spring season, we’re all feeling the change in the air. The longer days and warmer weather lift our spirits and make us feel ready for a fresh start. Time to get fit and lace up those running sneakers!
Along with making changes to our exercise regimen, many of us are looking for new recipes and how to incorporate healthy eating habits into our daily routine. https://3b2d7e5988878fab8247fac8a544a9bb.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
However, with so many fad diets and cleanses that promise a trim physique, it can be overwhelming to sort through them all—and you’re left wondering: is this really healthy? Will it lead to long-term results?
One of today’s most popular trends for people who want to detox and lose weight is drinking detox tea. To find out if detox tea lives up to the hype, we’ve spoken to several health experts.
What are detox teas?
Detox teas are a combination of various spices, botanics and herbs that help your body get rid of toxins. All of these ingredients support a natural self-cleansing process.
“Powerful in the food as medicine field and high in phytonutrients, herbs and spices have shown to improve mental and physical health; turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory and may improve anxiety, saffron has antidepressant benefits, rosemary improves memory and cognition, ginger helps with digestion, and green tea has shown to help the body prevent oxidative stress and promote natural detoxification,” says Dr. Uma Naidoo, MD, Nutritional Psychiatrist, Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of This Is Your Brain on Food.
Other herbs like lemongrass and rooibos have shown to promote and support the natural self-cleansing processes that occur in the body. However, it’s important to note that the herbs and spices in your culinary cabinet may be different from the actual ingredients in a detox tea, Dr. Naidoo explains. Adding in healthy herbs and spices to make your own tea tonic or added to roasted vegetables is not the same as a detox tea promising health benefits.
“I’d suggest incorporating the herbs and spices into your meals rather than focusing on a particular detox tea with unclear health benefits,” says Dr. Naidoo.
Do detox teas help you lose weight?
Detox can support your weight loss efforts only if you have a balanced diet and are living a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t act as a magic pill that can detoxify your body out of poor eating habits.
“A high-quality detox tea can be part of an effective strategy to lose weight. If, however, if one depends on the teas alone, she or he will be disappointed,” acupuncturist Jonathan Glass, ND and author of The Total Life Cleansesay. “Most detox teas contain herbs that support digestion, elimination, liver support, kidney support, and fat metabolism.”
Lisa Richards, nutritionist and founder of of The Candida Diet agrees detox teas are only part of the weight loss equation.
“Some detoxes require added supplements, herbs, and teas to assist the detoxifying process,” Richards explains. “These aid in detoxification by boosting the body’s circulation, improving liver function to process and eliminate toxins and replacing necessary nutrients.”
When it comes to weight loss, there’s a great deal of truth to the saying, “you are what you eat.”
“The key to losing weight starts at the end of your fork,” Dr. Naidoo states. “Having a diet that is both consistent and abundant in non-starchy vegetables (cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts), healthy fats, tons of leafy greens, low glycemic fruit (berries), healthy whole grains (spelt, teff, buckwheat), and anti-inflammatory proteins such as chickpeas and fish will support your body’s own cleansing process.”
To maximize your weight loss efforts, there are certain foods to avoid:
“Avoid added and refined sugars, highly processed foods, junk foods, foods high in trans fats, nitrates found in processed meats, artificial sweeteners, and poor quality proteins will allow your body to naturally detoxify and shed excess pounds,” says Dr. Naidoo. “This may take a longer time, and be a slower process, but you will keep the pounds off because what you are doing is changing your food habits versus a quick fix method.”
The takeaway: If you want to give your system a boost, herbs and spices can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Some of the ingredients in detox teas such as green tea, cinnamon, fennel or mustard seeds have shown to decrease inflammation and may even help you lose some weight, Dr. Naidoo explains. But don’t think about detox teas as the magic potion to clean up after a weekend of unhealthy choices! Think about them more as supporting herbal infusions to allow your body and diet to work at their best.
“While the promise of these products is appealing, it is also important to look at real science, not anecdotal reports, to see what the true benefit – if any, there is from these products,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board-certified in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine. “Detox teas, like vitamins are marketed as either a system of “cleaning out,” built up waste, or enhancing the function.”
Related: Best Weight Loss Smoothies of 2021
Detox tea side effects
Since detox teas are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you may find ingredients not advertised on the packaging such as additives, artificial sweeteners and other harmful chemicals.
“Run from labels or headlines that say ‘lose 20 pounds in 10 days’ or ‘detox your body in one week’,” says Dr. Naidoo. “Those miraculous claims may be fake but more importantly maybe harmful for your physical and mental health.”
Whether you’re buying teas, supplements or other products not regulated by the FDA, doing your homework is important. “I often direct my patients to look up the ingredients and add the term “PubMed,” to the search—this provides true scientific studies and outcomes to trials,” Dr. Dimitriu states.
Here are potential side effects to be aware of:
- Dehydration due to diuretic effects of detox teas
- Diarrhea and abdominal discomfort due to laxative effects
- Headache, anxiety, nervousness or agitation due to the high caffeine content in some of them
- A new or worsening of a prior eating disorder
- Sleep disturbance
- Interactions with other supplements or prescription medications
- Unknown toxic effects to your body and brain
As a general rule, always consult your primary care doctor when thinking about introducing a supplement to your diet or starting a new detox plan.
Related: 30 Habits Healthy People Live ByHere at Parade.com, we’re all about sharing products we love with our audience. When you make a purchase on an item seen on this page, we may earn a commission, however all picks are independently chosen unless otherwise mentioned.
Best Detox Teas
Yogi Berry Detox Tea
Great for bedtime, this caffeine-free tea also has the added benefit of antioxidants from the acai berry. Recommended by Glass, Yogi Berry’s Detox Tea can help support your body’s natural cleansing processes. Buy Yogi Berry Detox Tea here.
Sakara Detox Tea
Dr. Naidoo likes the detox tea from Sakara since it’s decaffeinated with no harmful additives or fake claims. Ingredients include red rooibos, lemongrass, and rose – which all contain unique healing properties. Buy Sakara Detox Tea here.
Pukka Detox Tea
Filled with calming herbal ingredients, Pukka Detox tea is the perfect way to reward yourself at the end of the day. Glass recommends this delicious blend of organic aniseed, fennel and cardamom to help you detox and relax. Buy Pukka Detox Tea here.
Pique Tea Crystals
This organic Jasmine makes the top of Dr. Naidoo’s tea list. It’s caffeine-free, rich in polyphenols, free of preservatives, sugar and artificial sweeteners. These tea crystals also support a healthy gut and a strong immune system. Buy Pique Tea Crystals here.
Traditional Medicinals Organic Detox Tea
This tea is an excellent go to when wanting to boost your detox benefits, Richards says. This formulation uses traditional European herbs to promote skin, liver, and kidney function. The primary herbs necessary for this process include burdock root, nettle leaf, cleavers herb, dandelion root, lemon peel, and lemon myrtle leaf. Buy Traditional Medicinals Organic Detox Tea here.
Twinings Detox Wellness Green Tea
Richards loves this detox tea for several reasons. First, it gives the consumer a boost of energy while assisting the body’s natural detoxification process. It also combines the antioxidant content of green tea and the sweet taste of grapefruit to help promote health from the inside out. Buy Twinings Detox Wellness Green Tea here.
Traditional Medicinals Organic Dandelion Herbal Tea
This organic blend is excellent for digestion.
“This is a great tasting, rich, full bodied bitter tea that’s excellent for liver and gall bladder detoxification,” says Dr. Mark Mincolla, PhD, nutritional therapist. “When it comes to supporting the all important flow of bile, the bitter the better!” Buy Traditional Medicinals Organic Roasted Dandelion Root here.
Celestial Seasonings Green Tea
The best teas for detox have high antioxidant content, and Celestial Seasonings Green Tea is at the top of the list, Dr. Carrie Lam, MD, family medicine specialist, explains. This green tea is rich in vitamin C, an ascorbic acid that provides many benefits—which includes ridding your body of toxins. Buy Celestial Seasonings Green Tea here.
Lipton Green Tea
Another tea high in antioxidants, Lipton Green Tea helps naturally cleanse your system. Recommended by Dr. Lam, this refreshing tea not only supports your digestive health, but your overall health. Buy Lipton Green Tea here.
Traditional Medicinals Organic Red Clover Herbal Tea
Red clover has amazing properties that cleanse the spleen of phlegm and endotoxins. Spleen detoxification is ultimately important for the long-term prevention of viruses and immune depleting chemistry, Dr. Mincolla states. Buy Traditional Medicinals Organic Red Clover Herbal Tea here.
Bigelow Darjeeling Black Tea Blend
Dr. Lam likes this black tea blend for its antioxidant and immunity boosting properties. Derived from the Darjeeling region of India, this soothing tea has a strong, rich flavor – a great tea to have first thing in the morning. Buy Bigelow Darjeeling Black Tea Blend here.
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Celebration Herbals Marshmallow Leaf & Root Tea
Recommended by Dr. Mincolla for its powerful blood, lymph and lung healing abilities, this tea clears mucous and has an affinity for removing toxic non digested food allergens from the blood stream. Buy Celebration Herbals Marshmallow Leaf & Root Tea here.
- Dr. Uma Naidoo, MD, MD. Nutritional Psychiatrist, Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and author, This Is Your Brain on Food
- Jonathan Glass, acupuncturist, ND and Author of The Total Life Cleanse
- Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet
- Dr. Mark Mincolla, PhD., nutritional therapist
- Dr. Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board-certified in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medic
- Dr. Carrie Lam, MD, family medicine specialist