Category Archives: Health

Should you eat a tapeworm to lose weight?

You may have thought to yourself, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a tapeworm? Then I could eat all I wanted.’ However, according to a doctor who did an experiment on himself with a tapeworm, the answer is a definite ‘No, you should never consider getting a tapeworm.’

It turned out that after ingesting the tapeworm, the doctor actually gained weight instead of losing weight. In addition, having a tapeworm can have many very bad side effects, such as brain damage.


Can I Lose Weight with an Online Weight-Loss Coaching Program?

Apple and tape measureIn a 2012 comparative study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers compared weight-loss results between obese people enrolled in an in-person weight-loss program and those registered in telephone/web-based weight-loss interventions. Each group was enrolled in a program that differed only in its format – in-person or telephone/web-based. Both groups provided support on diet and exercise and had accountability components (i.e., food journals/trackers).  At the end of the multi-year study, the doctors found that the people registered in online programs lost a statistically similar amount of weight as those enrolled in an in-person group.

Other research suggests that the answer isn’t so clear – in a review of recent research, Columbia University physicians analyzed studies involving 4,100 participants, finding that while using a web-based program to virtually track weight-loss is more effective than reading and using weight-loss pamphlets to inform eating habits, dieters who worked with a live support group lost more weight over time than those enrolled solely in computer-based programs.
So, can you lose weight with an online weight-loss program or not? While it remains up for debate whether online programs are more effective in enabling weight loss than programs with a live component, the research suggests that the bottom line answer is yes – using an online program will help you shed undesired pounds. How, then, do you decide which to use? There are implications to using an online program that must be considered when determining which type – online or in-person – is best for you.
Thinking in a metacognitive fashion about what works for you as an individual is crucial in determining whether an online weight-loss program is for you. Are you the sort of person who needs a friend to check in with them to stay on top of your projects or meeting your goals? Perhaps a weight-loss program that offers an in-person element and a group of people to support you is necessary. Conversely, are you the type of person who absorbs and loves data, putting everything involving numbers into an Excel spreadsheet? If you find that entering your daily food intake, exercise and weight-loss progress into an online database is enough for you, then the online route might be the one to follow.
What if you’re just not sure? Try a hybrid program (a program that offers both online and in-person services). If you find that having a live support group helps you, stick with it. If not, switch to strictly online. One benefit to online programs to consider is cost – there are a few sites that offer journaling services and weight-loss free of cost, while the majority of programs that meet in person have monthly fees. Online coaching programs usually have a fee associated with them, but allow you more flexibility with scheduling sessions and conferences. Ultimately, the decision lies with you and what works best with your dieting style – but, whether the weight-loss system is online or not, you can and will lose weight if you adhere to the program’s guidelines and keep yourself accountable.

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What Foods Can I Eat as Much as I Want and Still Lose Weight?

carrots and vegetables                In April 2012, Shape Magazine published an article titled “Healthy Snacks: 6 Foods You Can’t Overdo,” purporting that there are a few snack foods out there that you can eat as much as you want without worrying about sabotaging your diet plan. The Chicago nutritionist interviewed for the article, Dawn Jackson Blatner, Ph.D., argued that vegetables are the only food group that you can eat without thinking about the portion. She named several snack ideas for vegetables: cucumbers with rice vinegar, zucchini with lemon and pepper, artichokes and baked kale chips.
It’s common knowledge that vegetables are low in calories and high in antioxidants – so eating endless amounts of spinach won’t hurt you. The problem with vegetables is that eating them by themselves often does not produce the feeling of being full that cues your body that it does not need more food. So while vegetables are one of the only foods you can eat as much of as you want and still lose weight, the catch is finding ways to prepare and eat vegetables in a manner that promotes the full feeling your body needs. So, eat as many vegetables as you want, but follow these tips to make them interesting and satisfying.

  1. Fill your plate with raw, crunchy vegetables – Replace heavy starches like potatoes and carb-rich sides like rice with raw, crunchy vegetables (think: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and peppers).  Finding vegetables that you can munch on – and are inherently yummy – is important. The crunch of these vegetables makes you feel fuller when eating and are in no way detrimental to your diet.
  2. Find delicious foods made out of vegetables – There are non-vegetables that are made out of vegetables. Noodles, typically made with grains, are a food not associated with vegetables. Kelp noodles, however, are made out of sea kelp and are rich in water.
  3. Employ condiments to make vegetables more satisfying – Add flavor to vegetables with little to no-calorie condiments like white wine vinegar or hot sauce. Both have few to no calories and add flavor and spice to otherwise boring veggies. Adding Texas Pete’s to celery, or steaming broccoli with white wine vinegar and garlic powder does not dramatically alter the calorie content of the vegetable, but may make you feel more satisfied when snacking.

Find vegetables that you enjoy and bountifully add them to your meals – finding the right kinds of vegetables and preparing them in unique ways will make you feel fuller, preventing you from overeating less healthy, carb-laden snacks.

What are the best beverages for dieting?

Cup of White Tea

When constructing a diet plan, the focus is often placed on developing meals that healthfully balance carbohydrates, protein and fat. But – frequently overlooked are the beverages that accompany these meals.

If you find yourself saying, “I’m not worried. I drink no-calorie diet soda!” you may need to reevaluate your verdict. A recent study published by the University of Texas suggests that guzzling multiple Diet Cokes each day may be linked with weight gain. Despite how counter-intuitive that may seem, researchers have found that the artificial sweeteners common in diet beverages may cause the body to crave the additional calories it tastes, but is actually missing.

So, if Diet Coke doesn’t cut it – what ARE the best beverages for dieting?


Hands down, the best drink for dieting is water. Why? Water makes up approximately 60% of our body weight. Water aids almost all bodily functions – from cleansing your body of toxins built up in the kidneys to aiding the transmission of neurons in the brain. Not only does water help our body function – it just might help you lose weight. A study published in Obesity suggests that overweight women who escalate their consumption of water experience an increase in metabolism and weight loss.  There is not an official consensus on the effects of drinking water on weight loss. However, recent research implies that drinking water makes you feel full, consequently causing you to ingest fewer calories. There is no known harm in drinking water – so drink as much as you need to feel full and energized before exercising.

Sparkling Water

Do you know how beneficial water is, but still find yourself craving the bubbles that only carbonation can provide? Despite rumors surrounding the negative effects of sparkling water, sparkling water is just that – water that sparkles! Nutrition experts agree – the positive effects of drinking sparkling water are identical to those of regular water. Basically, sparkling water is regular water, with carbonation. Carbonation is not known to affect weight – so if you want the benefits of drinking water, swig all of the sparkling water you want!

Green Tea

First brewed over 4,000 years ago, green tea has been long been a staple in Eastern culture. While drinking green tea has voluminous benefits, one major advantage is its effect on weight loss. Containing a combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), green tea increases metabolism. A randomized placebo-controlled study found that moderately overweight adults who sipped 1,900mg of green tea daily lost an average of 2.64 pounds in 90 days (without working out). Drink a cup of hot green tea each day – or swallow it cold – to help lose weight!

One-Percent Reduced-Fat Milk

Drinking a glass of milk isn’t as bad as people might think. One cup of one-percent reduced-fat milk carries similar nutrition contents as a small, healthy meal. An average glass has about 110 calories, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A study published in the “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” (2010) found that increased consumption of one-percent reduced-fat milk may aid weight loss in overweight women. Having a glass as a snack may make you fuller longer, while still giving you the energy you need to exercise and feel great.

Making the Right Choices

When creating your healthy eating plan, don’t forget to assess the beverages that you consume. You may be thwarting your weight loss efforts with unhealthy drinks. Before drinking, ask yourself: Does this drink have calories or artificial sweeteners that might negate my diet? Rather, does it have nutrients or elements that might help accelerate weight loss? Allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite drinks is important, but make sure that your overall beverage consumption does not repudiate your weight loss.


Omega 3 Fish Oil for Dieting and Weight Loss

Omega 3 Fish OilOmega 3 fish oil has been called the ‘magic’ weight loss supplement for many years now, but why? Well, honestly, the exact reasons are still unproven, though the studies performed with this particular supplement in overweight people have been very successful. In some studies, the only change made in a person’s diet and exercise was the addition of omega 3; and yet those taking the supplement still lost weight, even without any other changes in their everyday lives. That fact alone is truly remarkable. Omega 3 is an all-around wonderful addition to anybody’s daily routine. Now let’s discuss why.

Well, for starters, omega 3 is said to have many beneficial attributes and not just for losing weight. Omega 3 is used for both brain and heart health, which are at the very least, indirect factors with weight loss. On top of that, there are at least four known possible direct benefits for losing weight that this supplement can produce.
The first is that omega 3 has been said to help both lose fat and build muscle simultaneously.

The second is a loss of appetite. Our stomachs can deceive us into believe we are hunger even when we are not, and omega 3 can eliminate that issue by the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which can affect your mood and appetite, positively.

The third weight loss benefit may just be a theory; however, it is worth a shot whether works or not. Omega 3 is supposed to help you maintain both a proper diet and effective exercise regime. Even though it is not scientifically proven, as of yet, the studies still show what can only be described as more motivation to follow a routine with patients taking the omega 3 supplement.

The last known, possible advantage of taking omega 3 while trying to shed those unwanted pounds is a reduction in your body’s ability to store fat. The omega 3 supplement has been claimed to actually keep your body from storing the food you eat as fat cells. It basically keeps the food moving through you, without staying, so to speak. Who wouldn’t want that?

Now that you are aware of the practically endless advantages with adding omega 3 to your daily diet, let’s go over the potentially negative effects of choosing the wrong supplement. Unfortunately, as with most things, there are different types or brands available that are less effective than others. For example you need to make sure the omega 3 fish oil that you buy is not chalk full of impurities. By that, we are referring to high contents of metal or pesticides.

You also need to check the concentration level of your selected omega 3. You want it to have, at bare minimum, 750 mg of EPA and DPA. You may also want to check the ratio of these two ingredients. It should be at least close to three parts EPA to two parts DPA.

Omega 3 will be a wonderful addition to your daily routine, as long as you take the precautions discussed into consideration when purchasing your supplement. Now get out there and start looking. It is never too late to be healthier, and the ease of simply taking a pill can’t really be topped.

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, 1,000 mg Fish Oil, 180 Soft Gels

by Ashleigh Nicole

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The Five Best Nutritional Supplements for Losing Weight

Vitamins and Nutritional SupplementsStruggling with trying to shed a few of those extra pounds can be downright exhausting. There may be no magic pill or instant gratification solution for weight loss, but there are things out there that may be able to help. Nutritional supplements are a very good way to give your body the nutrients it needs and craves. The benefits of the hundreds of available supplements can be anything from increasing your memory to melting fat cells. I’m going to go over the five supplements that seemed most helpful for me on my weight loss journey.

Supplement # 1- Green Tea Extract

This one would be something that a person who isn’t fond of the taste of tea might want to look into. Green tea is of course full of antioxidants, which promotes good health and weight loss. It also has caffeine, a stimulant, which can help you burn calories faster. I picked this as the number one choice due to the fact that it’s beneficial to weight loss in more than one way.

Supplement # 2 – Glucomannan

     Glucomannan also referred to as konjac root, is considered a dietary fiber. It has been used for appetite suppression, cholesterol reducing, constipation, and even blood sugar control. The positive results that can be gained from this supplement are a multitude and having to take a simple pill or powder would be well worth even just one of the possible benefits.

Supplement # 3 – Whey Protein   

     Protein is basically what feeds your muscles, so to speak. Therefore it would stand to reason that protein can help with weight loss and muscle toning. Whey Protein is proven to speed up the metabolism and I personally have found it to be a great way to fill the tummy. If you want that full feeling without any extra fat, this is a great place to get it. Protein is a good calorie to ingest, especially when compared to the other fatty foods out there.

Supplement # 4 – CLA

     CLA, also known asconjugated linoleic acid, is another pretty well known weight loss supplement. CLA is a fatty acid that has been said to reduce fat as well as build muscle. It has also been called a cholesterol reducer. I can’t assure it will impart the same effects on everyone, though any benefit is better than none and it couldn’t hurt to try it out.

Supplement # 5 – Chitosan

     Chitosan is a dietary fiber. It has been claimed to work as a cholesterol reducer and even a fat blocker. Studies are inconclusive on the exact reason as to why Chitosan works as a weight loss supplement. However, the majority did show more positive results with weight loss for those who took it while dieting than those on a placebo.

The main thing to remember when looking for a weight loss supplement is that there are no guarantees. Losing weight requires dedication and a degree of discipline. Without at least one of those attributes no supplement in the world will result in a good change in physical appearance.

 by Ashleigh Nicole

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Drink Your Way to a Skinny Body: The Five Best Beverages for Dieting

When we think about weight loss and dieting it is not necessarily our daily beverages that come to mind. Though there are, without a doubt, many benefits and drawbacks of certain drinks pertaining to weight loss. So the next time you decide to try going on a diet, remember that your drinks can have just as much effect on your success as the food you eat.

Choice # 1 – Waterorange juice

     Everybody has heard that the human is supposed to consume at least 64 ounces of water a day, and that is a minimum. Your body craves water and the benefits are undeniable, while the drawbacks nonexistent. Just drinking a full glass of water when you think you feel hungry will ultimately lead to you eating less since your stomach will be full already. For those of you who don’t prefer water, you could try using a wedge of citric fruit like lemon, lime, or orange to liven up that glass of boring old water. The truth is that we should all be drinking water daily whether trying to lose weight or not.

Choice # 2 – Black Coffee

     Coffee is a great way to get a calorie-free pick me up. It is high in antioxidants and is a, by far, better choice than any sugary energy drink. It is not until we start adding sugar and fat to our coffee that it becomes a hindrance for weight loss. If you can’t drink it black then just try reducing the amounts of what you add a little bit at a time. The flavor of the coffee itself may just grow on you.

Choice # 3 – Tea

The word tea covers a broad spectrum of drinks. Though there are a couple known to stimulant the metabolism or even block fat absorption. The first one to mention is the now common, green tea; which we all know it is a natural metabolism booster full of antioxidants, and it even has a nice herbal f

lavor all by itself. That was just a few of the many benefits of drinking green tea. The other tea I wanted to suggest is a very flavorful and healthy choice. Peppermint tea helps you burn calories by promoting digestion, as well as being quite tasty. Those are just my personal favorites though there are many more types of tea out there that can be equally beneficial.

Choice # 4 – Fruit Juice

     Fruit juice is probably the best healthy drink where you aren’t sacrificing taste. Though you don’t want to just buy juice from a store; due to the high sugar content and other additives, you would have be very careful what you get. The best way to get natural fruit juice would be to juice it yourself. You can buy a juicer, which are affordable and easy to use, and extract your own fresh fruit juice. Get creative with it and you are sure to discover it’s not only healthful and delicious, but fun too.

Choice #5 – Vegetable Juice

     For those of you more geared toward the savory, give fresh vegetable juice a shot; and just as with the fruit juice, I would not recommend buying it at a store. Instead, invest in a blender or food processor and get crazy. The possibilities are endless, try making carrot juice, tomato juice, or beet juice. You can mix vegetables and use herbs to add different flavors. Make some magic in your blenders that will promote success in losing weight and get more vitamins and minerals in your daily diet.

Any of the choices above are sure to encourage weight loss and increase your body’s health naturally. So the next time you reach for a soda or pour a couple of ounces of cream in your coffee remember that they are just empty calories. The more calories you are drinking means the less you will be able to eat without exceeding your desired daily caloric intake.

 by Ashleigh Nicole

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7 Weight Loss Tips

    Weight loss and dieting are major concerns in today’s society. With obesity levels rising and the health risks of being overweight increasing, it is vital that people take charge and learn to how be healthy again. I have, from my own

Apple and tape measure experience, picked the top seven tips for weight loss that seem to be helpful for anyone. Deciding to “go on a diet” is all well and good; however, without some basic structure it will fail every time.

Tip # 1 – Keep a daily food journal

If you have to write down and look at your daily food intake on a piece of paper you can gain an entirely different perspective. Somehow have a physical record makes it more apparent. Remember you can’t really lie to yourself, so don’t cheat.

Tip # 2 – Remove all temptation

Clean out your kitchen of all the things you may want but know you should not have. Just remember that you can always learn to reincorporate the foods you love back into your diet as a reward for reaching your goal weight.

Tip # 3 – Fruit is delicious and healthy

You do not have to sacrifice taste during a diet. Diet is not a synonym for disgusting. Fruits are not only tasty but great sources of vitamins and minerals; not to mention, they are very low in calories.

Tip # 4 – Drinks can be calories too

Remember it is not just the food you eat that fills out your jeans. A single regular soda can easily have anywhere from 100 to 200 calories in a standard twelve ounce can. Just think about the calorie level in your chosen beverage before you guzzle it down.

Tip # 5 – Drink water, you need it anyway

Many studies have shown that water is vital in our everyday existence. It has only recently been discussed as a weight loss technique. Think about it though, if your stomach is full of water you won’t be hungry. With water being virtually zero calories, you can’t beat it as a snack choice.

Tip # 6 – Do NOT eat too late

You don’t burn very many calories when you are asleep. Not eating at least three hours before you go to bed will ensure that everything you’ve eaten has been digested at full metabolism. Even during a diet with diet foods you should never sleep right after eating.

Tip # 7 – Don’t fear the scale

When you are on a diet the scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy; however, it will always be honest. As long as it is not broken that is. Don’t let the brutal truth intimidate you. Facing the truth and leaving denial behind is you got this diet idea in the first place. Always remember to follow through.

I have given these particular tips, as well as many others, a great deal of consideration. In the end, these seven tips were the most helpful and effective in my own struggle with dieting. I lost fifty pounds in three months thanks to the tips above and a little bit of dedication.

 by Ashleigh Nicole

Image courtesy of Master isolated images /

The Weight Loss Benefits of Pu-Erh Tea

The Power of Pu-Erh Tea

Four types of tea

Pu-erh tea (pronounced poo-air) is a fantastic aid for those serious about weight loss. Although pu-erh is relatively new to the western world, it has long been considered a crucial element in traditional Chinese medicine. This fantastic brew has a long list of health benefits, including weight loss. Pu-erh is a rather rare tea produced in the Yunnan region of China. It traces back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE.) In fact, Pu-erh is considered the first form of black tea. This ancient medicinal drink is taking the world by storm, and could just prove to be the beverage needed to get that skinny body you’ve been desperately longing for.

The Intricacies of Pu-Erh Tea

This ancient brew is made with fermented tea leaves that are grown in the fields just outside of the city of Pu-erh. These leaves are treated to a secretive procedure to form a distinct brew with many medicinal benefits. The leaves are fermented and aged in a carefully controlled process for anywhere between fifteen and twenty years. The long fermentation produces a rich, smooth and complex flavor that is velvety and refreshing. The aging process also allows for beneficial bacteria to flourish, which adds a whole other layer of health benefits to the drink. One of the distinct characteristics of pu-erh is how it is packed. The damp leaves are pressed into shapes to form a brick or a cake.

How to Make Pu-Erh Tea

Today, it is easy to buy it in a cake form, but some companies do offer it as a loose-leaf variety or even in a teabag. There are actually many blends on the market. The plain cake variety is easy to find in most specialty stores, as is the chrysanthemum pu-erh blend which is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for its cleansing effects on the body. There are also many contemporary pu-erh blends such as ginger, vanilla and mint, and even blood orange varieties. All that has to be done to make a quality blend is to break off a tablespoon or more of the dried cake and allow it to steep in hot, almost boiling water for a minute or two. There should be no need to add any sweeteners or milk to the brew.

What Are The Health Benefits of Pu-Erh?

Pu-erh is beneficial for the spleen and stomach as it helps to cleanse the blood and to aid digestion. In China it is common to drink it after a heavy meal or as a hangover cure. Recent scientific studies have found that regularly drinking four cups of pu-erh a day drastically lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and seems to have a direct effect on increasing the body’s metabolic rate. It is because of its ability to increase the metabolism that is often touted as a “diet tea” had is highly recommended as a breakfast beverage to kick-start the day. Regularly drinking it appears to also help regulate blood glucose levels which helps dieters fight sweet cravings.

The Facts About Pu-Erh

The pharmacological analysis of the brew shows that it is a wonderful source of vitamins B1, B2, C and E. It contains good levels of aluminum, arginine, calcium, cystine, histidine, linoleic and linolenic acids, lysine, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, and trace amounts of beryllium, fluorides, iron, nickel, sodium, sulfur and zinc. The components of this healthful brew do not appear to react with most medications, nor does it cause any adverse side effects. All in all, pu-erh is a rather refreshing drink that tastes fantastic, is calming and soothing, and packs a lot of beneficial medicinal value. Swapping high calorie drinks such as soda, fruit juice, and milkshakes for freshly brewed pu-erh will not only help to lower the amount of calories consumed each day, the drink will help to speed up the body’s metabolism, cleanse the body of impurities, and support the kidneys and the digestive system. All recent studies have found that drinking the brew does seem to aid in weight loss and presents a decrease in waistline measurements.

Recent studies are quickly learning that the claims of ancient traditional medicine about the powers of pu-erh may hold some truth. Studies show that drinking pu-erh aids digestion and appears to help the body break down fat cells. The high levels of vitamin C are terrific for those serious about losing weight. The caffeine element of the drink may actually help the body to heat up, which in turn burns more calories as you go about your normal day, yet the levels of caffeine are low enough to not cause concern for people who cannot regularly consume caffeine products. Adding pu-erh to your daily routine is a sure way to meet your diet and weight loss goals.

Best Tea for Dieting: White, Green, Oolong, or Black?

Cup of White TeaOne of the easiest and most natural ways to lose weight is to drink tea. People often forget that alcoholic drinks and sweet beverages, including fruit juices, all contain hidden calories. But by swapping these drinks with tea it becomes easy to reduce the number of calories consumed in a day. Tea also provides an energy lift and many other health benefits. But which tea is the best for dieting? Here is a close look at the weight loss benefits of tea.

The Properties of Tea

Tea is a central element in traditional Chinese medicine and used for a range of ailments. Today, over three million tons of tea is consumed worldwide. The most popular teas are all made from the plant, camellia sinensis. The main health benefits of tea are the high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols. The most potent of these antioxidants are the epigallocatechin gallates (ECGC) which are crucial in the fight against free radicals. Teas contain caffeine and theanine too, which heightens mental alertness, suppresses appetite, and increase energy levels.

Black Tea

Of all the teas, black tea has the highest caffeine content, and is available in a range of flavors and intensities. It is a great drink for losing weight as it reduces blood sugar levels. When blood glucose remains level, it is much easier to resist cravings. It is also thought that caffeine helps to suppress appetite and to stimulate a process called thermogenesis. This is an increase in the body’s core temperature, and is believed to help the body burn more calories.

White Tea

White tea has a mild, more floral, dainty flavor. Research has discovered that it has high levels of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that makes it terrific for boosting the immune system. It also contains very high levels of ECGC. Its active ingredients support the body in metabolizing stored body fat, and even inhibit the body’s attempts to store fat.

Oolong Tea

Recent studies showed that drinking oolong tea regularly increased energy levels and boosted the metabolism. Participants in studies all experienced sustained weight loss and smaller waist measurements too. The unique combination of caffeine and ECGC appears to help the body to burn fat and shrink fat cells.

Green Tea

Green tea contains a high concentration of ECGC and is consider the ultimate health elixir. It proves beneficial for a range of health issues and preventative measures. This tea helps to metabolize body fat, prevents future storage of fat, suppresses appetite, and helps fight food cravings. Green tea is ideal for managing stress, and can help regulate blood glucose levels. The chemical compounds found in the tea actually encourage the body to shrink fat cells, making it the perfect tea for losing weight.

Pu-Erh Tea

Considered an ancient form of black tea, this unique flavored beverage has attracted a lot of attention recently. Studies show that regular consumption of this tea aids in weight loss and even reduces LDL cholesterol levels. Pu-erh tea kick-starts the metabolism. It has high levels of theabrownin and ECGC which actually shrink fat cells and supports healthy digestion.

No two teas are alike, but the health benefits of tea are undisputed. Each variety of tea aids in weight loss whilst providing a plethora of other health benefits. Although studies show that green tea is possibly the best for achieving that skinny body, there is nothing wrong with drinking a range of these refreshing beverages as part of a healthy diet. Just remember to avoid adding milk and sugar to receive the most of your tasty brew.