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Antioxidant Vs. Detox Tea

By Milo Dakota

Antioxidants work like scrub brushes inside your body, removing “rust” and other internal build-ups that get in the way of natural healing. Detoxifying agents act more like powerful hoses, flushing toxins out of your system. Although medical science supports the role of antioxidant teas in combating obesity, cholesterol and other ills, the role and advisability of drinking detox teas generate controversy.

All Natural Teas Derived from One Plant

Four types of tea that come from a single plant — camellia senensis — contain antioxidants. Black tea, the most common tea consumed in the western world, contains the least of the four. White tea, taken from the buds of the plant, contains the most. Green tea contains nearly as many and oolong tea falls between black and green tea in antioxidant content. The chief antioxidants in tea are catechins, which contain metabolism-boosting, fat-burning and immunity-building properties.

Detox Teas Contain One or Many Herbs

Detox teas contain one or many herbs intended to act as a laxative, a diuretic or both. Herbs you may find in detox teas include cinnamon, burdock root, ginger, dandelion, anise, parsley, sage, cloves, turmeric, anise, juniper berries, cardamom, black pepper and licorice. Some of the herbs in detox teas may also boost your metabolism. The spices cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and ginger, for instance, are considered dieter-friendly by a number of nutritionists, including Laura Sutherland, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

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Benefits of Antioxidants in Teas

Catechins in tea helps in weight loss and are particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat, studies show. Drinking six cups of green tea daily could help you lose a pound a month, based on results of a clinical study led by Kevin Maki in which men who combined green tea drinking with a calorie-reduced diet lost 5.4 lbs. in 12 weeks. Based on the results of the control group in Maki’s study, published in the “Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2009, about 2.5 lbs. of the weight loss could be attributed to green tea catechins. The polyphenol antioxidants in oolong tea promote weight loss by activating a fat-burning enzyme in your body, according to Masatoshi Nakano of Japan’s Aichi Medical University.

Benefits of Detox Teas

If you take detox teas, check the ingredients to determine whether the herbs in them are compatible with your goals. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these are some of the benefits you might obtain from detox teas containing these herbs: burdock root, blood cleansing and diuretic; dandelion root, diuretic and appetite stimulant; licorice, relieves phlegm and cleans liver; juniper berries, diuretic; turmeric, improves liver function and relieves arthritis pain. The reputations of herbs come from centuries of use by healing professionals worldwide, but may not be backed up by scientific studies.

Considerations

Antioxidant teas are safe for most people. They do contain caffeine—white tea contains the least and black tea the most—so pregnant and nursing women and persons with nervous disorders should consult their physicians before adding tea to their diets. Most herbs in detox teas are safe when taken in small quantities, but it’s important to check the labels for the tea of your choice to determine the safety of any herbs in the tea. One type of licorice can be extremely toxic, and persons allergic to daisies and chrysanthemums may have similar reactions to burdock root.

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