Thursday, 17 March 2016 02:30

Pu-erh tea, for real or another weight loss saga?

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Pu-erh tea has drawn some serious attention recently on the stage of natural nutrition and health, solely due to it’s portrayed potential to help to deal with one of the most stubborn yet pandemic issue of our society - overweight.

How much truth is in it? And there is any, how can we make the most of it? Let’s have a closer look.

What is pu-erh tea?

pu-erh tea cakePu-erh tea is one of the vantage Chinese beverages that has been consumed in China since Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It originated from the Yun-Nan Province of South-West China. It quickly turned into a commodity due to the high demand and was traded both locally and elsewhere.

Ancient Chinese pu-erh teaThe original and unique cake form not seen in any other teas was invented to facilitate its transportation at the time. Without roads or vehicles, they were for long time carried by human porters (image source from http://asiawheeling.com/?p=4266) out of the mountain ranges before being transported on the roads by animals such as horses and traded in areas like Tibet. It was born as a much loved beverage, known to aid in digestion.

More info about Pu-erh tea at: Pu-erh tea info

Is there any evidence that Pu-erh tea helps to lose weight?

The good news is YES! There have been some extensive researches conducted during the last 20-30 years of Chinese teas for their natural nutrients and health benefits with an attempt to combat many life style related health conditions away from pills and surgical knifes, such as cancers, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and obesity. Pu-erh is one of them. The main active compound is believed to be a group of polyphenols (EGCG, theaflavins).

More information on Pu-erh tea and weight loss research reports at: Scientific evidences of Pu-erh tea's weight reduction properties

How much weight reduction can be expected by drinking pu-erh tea alone?

With the numerous and consistent results published demonstrating the association between pu-erh tea consumption and significant reduction in various blood lipid (fat) elements such as plasma triglyceride, cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol, there is limited info on how much body weight reduction was actually achieved by tea drinking alone.

From the information available 'How much weight reduction could be achieved by tea drinking?' the effects are moderate.

How to make the most of the Pu-erh tea when it comes to weight management?

Before this question is answered, I would like to point out a couple of commonly overlooked issues:

  1. To reduce weight is one thing, to maintain it is another. Most of the dramatic weight reduction schemes currently out there are either not sustainable or potentially harmful to health, should it be through vigorous exercise, diet or laxative supplements.
  2. Long term consumption of teas, Pu-erh tea being one of them not only helps to have the waist line under control, buy also yields many other health benefits such as preventing cancers and cardio-vascular diseases, anti-inflammatory and enhancing immune system etc.

So to leverage the most out of this wondering beverage, I recommend:

  • Consistency and long term use: Pick one or a couple varieties you enjoy most and make it a life style change. This is where the tea quality comes into the equation. I am not in any way suggesting to get used to something that is hard to tolerate. A low grade tea could be so, but a high grade tea is highly enjoyable and addictive. I grew up in the Fu Jian Province in China where Oolong and white teas are our specialities. My daughter started out some Pu-erh tea a couple of years ago and got the family hooked to it. It is a matter of getting hold of a GOOD tea.
  • Consume daily. There are many ways to make a pot of tea at home or in the office easy. For those who like the tea bags’ convenience, we even offer a tea infuser all-in-one which makes loose tea brewing as easy as teabags. For those who like cold teas, some of our customers brew a certain quantity in the morning and keep it in a jar in the fridge to be used throughout the day. If unsure, give us a call or drop an email and we will do our best to help. 
  • Making other life style changes and make sure they are sustainable regardless how small they are: healthy diet, being active.

Finally, there are a few aspects that I sincerely love about pu-erh tea: 

  1. The raw tea is just as refreshing as the green teas and the ripened ones as smooth as the black teas.
  2. Due to their unique post-fermentation property, you can get pu-erh tea at almost any stage of its fermentation. Generally speaking, the consumers who like green teas would prefer raw Pu-erh, and the black ter lovers would prefer ripened pu-erh. You can also have a product somewhere between depending on the age of the tea. 
  3. Pu-erh is the only group of teas harvested from tea trees instead of tea bushes. The leaves are significantly bigger and long lasting during brewing. For teas made of young tender leaves such as green and white teas, the most one can get out of one lot of leaves is 4-5 infusions. Some pu-erh teas on the other hand can be used repeatedly for up to 20-30 times. I personally find it being both economic and convenient. 
  4. In depth flavours. Pu-eh tea has it’s unique earthy/woody yet pure aroma like no others. It’s flavour is solid, complex, reliable and vivid. (Again, I am only talking about premium grade pu-erh teas here!)

So enjoy this unique beverage first and many of it's health benefits will come alone as by-products.

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