How Drinking Tea Can Boost Metabolism

June 6, 2018
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Drinking tea can lower your risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, while increasing your fat-burning metabolism.

Enjoying a warm cup of tea on a cool morning reminds me of being in England. Though the British are famous for their love of tea, countries all over the world have traditions that celebrate this ancient soothing beverage, making it the most widely consumed drink in the world after water. And for good reason:  low-glycemic, polyphenol-rich teas help your body flush out toxins, deactivate free radicals, and jump-start those fat-burning fires.

Like fertilizer for your garden, tea enhances your metabolic and detox processes while keeping you nicely hydrated. For example, Oolong tea is a research-proven metabolism booster and fat burner. The power of tea is in the polyphenols; antioxidants that fight free radicals and oxidative damage.

The Power of Polyphenols

Polyphenols are important micronutrients with high antioxidant activity that occur naturally in plant foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, tea, herbs, spices, nuts, coffee beans, and cacao. More than eight thousand different polyphenols have been identified to date! Antioxidants mop up free radicals in your body, which protects your cells from DNA damage that can result in illness and premature aging.

Polyphenols provide other benefits, too. Recent science has revealed they have substantial effects on mitochondrial processes in the cell, as well as reducing inflammation, feeding your healthy gut bacteria, stabilizing blood sugar, protecting your heart, and preventing cancer cells from spreading. Tea is one of the richest sources of polyphenols known to man, and getting enough of these powerhouse antioxidants also leads to these health benefits:

  • Improved digestion and gut health
  • Stronger immunity
  • Sustained energy
  • Reduced stress
  • Enhanced mental clarity and focus
  • Healthier, clearer skin
  • Stronger, healthier teeth

The Key to Tea’s Calming Yet Energizing Effect

Tea contains a unique amino acid that has a direct effect on your brain. L-theanine increases alpha wave activity and relaxes your mind without making you drowsy. This leaves you feeling calm and attentive while energized at the same time.

In studies, L-theanine has been shown to help with depression, anxiety, sleep issues, and memory loss. It has also been shown to have lipid-lowering, neuroprotective, stroke-preventative, Alzheimer’s-preventative, and weight loss properties. In addition, it has anti-tumor effects and enhances the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy while reducing the side effects.

Despite its established nutritional and metabolic benefits, tea has a dark side and you can get too much of a good thing.

The Trouble with Tea

Tea is a polyphenol-rich powerhouse, but the biggest drawback is finding the right source. The Camellia sinensis plant gives us all varieties of tea, whether it be green, black, white, oolong, or Pu-er (Chinese black tea), and is now widely contaminated with fluoride, heavy metals, and pesticide residues. Tea plants are “hyperaccumulators,” which means they expertly extract compounds from the soil and concentrate them in their leaves, soaking up contaminants like a sponge. While a little fluoride is good for your teeth, a lot will shut down your thyroid. If fluoride shuts down your thyroid, then you’re not doing your metabolism any favors by getting a daily infusion in your tea.

Instant tea and teas from China and India tend to be the most contaminated, as China is the world’s top pesticide user. Japanese teas tend to be better, but since the Fukushima disaster, we need to keep radioactive contamination in mind. Organic teas will have fewer pesticides but may be high in fluoride. If you have thyroid issues, tea may not be the drink of choice for you because of potential fluoride exposure.

I recommend limiting your tea intake to 2 cups per day, and choosing the cleanest varieties you can find. Fortunately, I’ve done the legwork and research for you on this and have found some of the purest and most polyphenol-rich teas available.

Top Tea Picks

When it comes to tea, I can be very picky. It’s difficult to find options (like teabags) that aren’t filled with toxins or pesticides and deliver the potency, purity and convenience I’m looking for.

If you are looking for the metabolism-boosting benefits of tea, it doesn’t get any better than organic Oolong. Oolong tea, which is partially fermenting prior to drying, has twice the belly fat-burning capacity of green tea, even preventing your body’s future storage of belly fat! It’s richer in polyphenols and easier on the stomach than green tea, and in one study, oolong decreased hunger by 36 percent for up to 24 hours, lowered LDL cholesterol by 29 percent, and increased energy.

For those of you who want to see positive changes in your gut health, one tea company I’m a huge fan of is Pique Tea. This revolutionary new way of drinking tea meets all my criteria, which means it:

  • Delivers up to 12 times the antioxidant polyphenols of regular tea, making it more potent and powerful than any other tea on the market
  • Made from the highest quality tea leaves and natural ingredients that are organic, sugar-free, and free of additives
  • The only tea company to Triple Screen for pesticides, mycotoxins, and heavy metals
  • Effortlessly hot and cold water soluble, which makes it so convenient for on-the go!

Pique Tea

My favorites from their line are the Herbal Elixirs – Beauty Elixir (Hibiscus Mint) and Digestion Elixir (Ginger Citrus). Prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, ginger is soothing, warming, supports healthy digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties. This ancient formula, which incorporates citrus peel and licorice root, is especially beneficial for appetite suppression and control of snack and sugar cravings. From boosting brain health to controlling blood sugar, a cup or two of ginger tea each day has the potential to make a big impact on your health.

Also treasured by herbalists from all cultures for its beautifying and gut health promoting properties, Hibiscus is rich in polyphenols that promote weight loss and youthful skin. Hot or iced, hibiscus tea will hydrate you and flush toxins and excess fluids out of your body, due to its diuretic properties. Hibiscus has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, and to reduce high cholesterol, thanks to its antioxidant content. Sip it to stay healthy during cold and flu season, as its rich ascorbic acid content helps strengthen your immune system. Hibiscus tea is also thought to help relieve menstrual pain and lift your mood.

Pique’s Digestion Elixir (Ginger Citrus) has been so popular that it sold out! I wanted to let you know that they are now back in stock, and for this week only, Pique Tea is giving you (my readers) first access to them! Get up to 3 free cartons of Pique Tea here.

If you are thirsting for more knowledge on polyphenols and their weight loss secrets, pre-order my new book Radical Metabolism now! This powerful new plan helps you blast fat and reignite your energy in just 21 days!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Cathy White

    Thanks so much for this article. I’ll be trying this brand of tea. Perfect timing for me.

  2. Elizabeth

    What brand of Mugwort tea do you recommend for the Colon Cleanse?

    • Team ALG.

      Dear Elizabeth: We like mugwort tea that is organic.

    • Team ALG.

      Buddha brand is one we like.

  3. Debra

    Hi – Just finished Ann Louise’s book, “Why Am I Always Tired”. In the book I noted that drinking “tea” (No specifics on what kind of tea was mentioned that I saw) was high in copper. Can you please clarify what tea is not high in copper? Thank you!

    • Team ALG

      Hi Debra,
      Herbal teas are generally not high in copper, except for spearmint.

  4. Team ALG.

    Debra: To further clarify, regular teas (black, green, white) are high in copper while most herbal teas are not.

    • Debra

      Thank you! I appreciate the information! =)



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