Your metabolism is often brought up in conversations around health, especially those centered on weight loss. On a basic level, your metabolism is how your body uses to convert the things you eat and drink into energy. Oftentimes, questions about how to keep your metabolism at a healthy speed will arise because having a faster metabolic rate means that your body is burning energy more rapidly. In turn, this can aid in healthy weight loss and management. While there are a variety of foods, drinks, and exercises that can potentially help improve your metabolism so you can lose weight, you can increase your odds by choosing particular beverages that can help you meet your goals based on the nutrients and antioxidants they carry. For instance, drinking certain kinds of teas may help improve metabolism and increase your chances of losing weight—a revelation that is likely to please tea lovers everywhere, especially considering how it’s also currently National Hot Tea Month!
To be clear, this is not an attempt to claim that there are miracle weight loss teas or drinks that will instantly fire up your metabolism and burn fat. In fact, we highly advise against “belly fat teas” that are marketed as quick and easy weight loss solutions able to melt fat off of your body on their own. Rather, the teas noted below are common types of tea that are not only dietitian-approved, but also each comprised of helpful compounds that may aid in supporting weight loss when enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
After speaking with a few dietitians to find out what they think are the best teas for your metabolism, we rounded up this helpful list of six teas that can help aid in losing weight. Celebrate National Tea Month by stocking up on these tasty metabolism-boosting teas—and for more helpful tips on drinks that can benefit your health and wellness, check out 5 Drinks Secretly Increasing Inflammation in Your Body.
If you want a cozy beverage that’s also going to give you a caffeine boost and is considered to be one of the best teas for metabolism, go for some green tea—a classic drink that contains antioxidants known to have weight loss-boosting effects.
“Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has been positively associated with fat loss and weight loss. It is loaded with catechins, a type of antioxidants that have been shown to help increase fat burning, especially during exercise,” explains says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND, and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes. “In fact, a study found that women who had green tea extract for 12 weeks had greater weight loss and smaller waistlines.”
One element to take into consideration with regard to the clinical trial referenced by Sheth is that the green tea extract it used was reported to be highly concentrated in the catechin EGCG, more so than a standard cup of green tea: Whereas a regular cup of tea is said to contain about 200–300 milligrams of EGCG, the extract contained 865.8 milligrams of EGCG. These finding are significant because their implications all boil down to how this green tea-based catechin can impact the body, as additional studies have also illustrated evidence of a link between EGCG and metabolism acceleration. Although you’d have to drink around three cups of tea to reach the level of antioxidants reported in the clinical trial, you’re still getting a health boost with just one glass.
If you’ve had teas like silver needle, white peony, or longevity eyebrow tea, then you’ve had white tea. This variation of tea comes from the same plant family as green and black teas, but it is younger and made from the buds before they naturally open. It also contains a small amount of caffeine and a number of helpful antioxidants.
According to a review from the International Journal of Obesity, white tea can potentially boost your metabolism by 4–5%. At first glance it may not seem like much. But in the case of this review, just one serving of tea may help burn an extra 300–400 kilojoules, which is equivalent to approximately 70–95 calories.
White tea also contains the metabolism-accelerating compound EGCG that is common in green tea, as well. In fact, one study published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that a white tea extract containing EGCG was able to help prevent the formation of new human fat cells, ultimately suggesting that in addition to promoting weight loss, white tea can also act as a deterrent to prevent weight gain.
Tea made with ginger is a healthy drink on many levels. Not only is ginger known to help alleviate nausea, relieve pain, and manage blood pressure and coronary heart disease, but it has also been associated with aiding in weight loss.
“Ginger is unique to weight loss in that it contains compounds known as gingerols and shogaols. These compounds create an antioxidant effect that reduces free radical damage in the body. This damage leads to an increase in oxidative stress that can both cause and exacerbate obesity, and can also lead to decreased metabolism, energy, and more,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.
Black tea is a classic drink enjoyed by many different cultures and one that originated in China. Some people who don’t like coffee choose to drink black tea in the morning because it contains a decent amount of caffeine—about 48 milligrams per cup compared to coffee’s average of 95 milligrams. Black tea not only provides an energy boost, but also it’s packed with helpful nutrients that make it one of the best teas for metabolism.
“This tea is packed with flavones, which have been shown to speed up metabolism and aid in weight loss by supporting excess calorie or fat burning in the body. The caffeine in black tea can also improve metabolism, especially when taken in the morning, and can help regulate total BMI,” explains Nataly Komova, RD, a registered dietitian and fitness expert for Just CBD.
If you’re looking for a healthy, caffeinated tea, try matcha—a popular type of green tea known for being packed full of health benefits.
“Matcha is a popular high-quality Japanese tea containing caffeine, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Komova. “Taking a cup of matcha tea before a workout has been shown to boost metabolism and fat oxidation, which can aid in weight loss. Fat oxidation is the pace at which the body uses or burns body fat, and a higher rate implies increased weight loss.”
One study published in Human Kinetics Journal found that these fat oxidation benefits of drinking matcha were heightened when accompanied by a brisk, 30-minute walk.
If you’re not a fan of black or green tea, oolong is a great alternative that still comes with helpful antioxidants that may help you shed a few pounds.
“Oolong tea has been associated with promoting weight loss by enhancing how our body metabolizes fat. A study in 2009 found that over 64–66% of obese and overweight participants in a six-week study that drank 8 grams of oolong tea per day lost more than two pounds,” says Sheth.
This research concluded that the catechins in oolong tea may help to aid in weight loss by improving lipid metabolism, and that consistent consumption of this drink may help prevent obesity.
A previous version of this story was published on June 30, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading revisions, further research, and updated contextual links.