Benefits of Hibiscus Tea:
Packed With Antioxidants.
May Help Lower Blood Pressure.
May Help Lower Blood Fat Levels.
May Boost Liver Health.
Could Promote Weight Loss.
Contains Compounds That May Help Prevent Cancer.
Could Help Fight Bacteria.
Flavorful and Easy to Make and it makes a great cocktail!
These Hibiscus Tea Health Benefits May Have You Trading in Your Daily Chai.
Hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants. It is caffeine-free beverage is a great source of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage, says Maggie Michalczyk, RD.
Free radicals and oxidative damage attack your cells and exacerbate the aging process (hello wrinkles!), while also raising your risk for illness and disease. Various studies have shown links between free radical damage and prevalence of dementia, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, among others, so you want to keep those bad boys away as best as possible. The high dose of antioxidants in hibiscus tea might be able to slow this process, lower inflammation in the body, and keep your skin looking dewy and youthful.
It may be good for your heart. Studies have shown that drinking hibiscus tea offers heart-healthy benefits, such as lowering blood pressure. “In a study in The Journal of Nutrition, adults with high blood pressure who consumed three servings of 8-ounce glasses of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks saw a decrease in their overall blood pressure,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide For Every Runner. Just note, this was a small study of 65 participants. Still, another review found that drinking this herbal tea lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure..“One small study showed that hibiscus tea increased ‘HDL’ (good) cholesterol, decreased ‘LDL’ (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides,” Michalczyk says. There have been some conflicting studies, so larger studies are still needed to better examine the effects of hibiscus tea and cholesterol reduction. One study found that consumption of hibiscus extract for 12 weeks resulted in a lower body weight, less abdominal fat, and a lower BMI in overweight/obese people. However, extract is more concentrated than tea, so results won’t be as strong. Hibiscus tea has been associated with weight loss.Hibiscus isn’t a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise—it won’t magically get rid of weight, but it could play a role thanks to its diuretic properties. “The key word here is that it could help with weight loss. More research is definitely needed to make this connection,” says Michalczyk.
Also, it’s an anti-inflammatory, which can keep cortisol (the stress hormone), which attributes to fat storage, at bay. “Like fruits and vegetables, hibiscus tea contains a lot of antioxidants and polyphenols which work to protect the body against diseases and lower inflammation,” she says. Plus, it can help stave off cravings.“A flavorful herbal tea like this is great to drink after dinner when you have a taste for something sweet,” says Michalczyk. “It can help kick that craving because it changes the taste in your mouth,” she explains. Too tart for you? Rizzo recommends adding a drop of honey.
Okay, while technically that's not a health benefit, if you're looking for a boozy drink with a healthy kick, hibiscus tea is a perfect sangria base. Or, add it to vodka with a squeeze of lime and honey, and you've got yourself a refreshing adult beverage.
Hibiscus tea may help your digestion. “Diuretics increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body as urine. Hibiscus tea has been shown to work as a natural diuretic, pulling salt out of the body which is a mechanism by which blood pressure is reduced,” says Michalczyk.
Hibiscus tea might support your immune system. That’s right—drinking this pink tea may keep away the sniffles. “This is because hibiscus tea contains vitamin C, a strong antioxidant that we know is responsible for keeping our immune systems healthy,” says Michalczyk.
What’s more, “hibiscus tea is also high in iron, a mineral that keeps the immune system balanced and helps the body to maintain red blood cells,” she adds. Plus, the vitamin C helps to increase the absorption of the iron, which is great for maximum rewards all around.
What about your kidneys? "One study conducted on rats evaluated hibiscus as a way to prevent calcium oxalate crystals from turning into kidney stones," says Michalczyk. Again, more research needs to be done to conclude that hibiscus tea is a proven method for kidney stone prevention in humans though,” she says.
And your liver? Try drinking this tea after a night out. “Both human and animal studies have shown that hibiscus may prevent liver damage. Some showed decreased markers of liver damage and some showed an increased concentration of detoxifying enzymes in the liver,” says Michalczyk.To be fair, these studies looked at hibiscus extract, not hibiscus tea. And don't treat hibiscus tea as a treatment for any liver condition—you’ll need a formal chat with your doctor about other remedies and medications.
A daily dose of dark chocolate could lead to surprising health benefits
Research shows it’s more than just a guilty pleasure. From bean to bar
While cocoa beans in their natural form contain a high amount of antioxidant compounds, the processes involved in turning beans into a bar reduces the cocoa flavanol content, lowering the antioxidant properties of the cocoa.
Indeed, research shows that natural cocoa powder contains almost ten times more flavanols than cocoa that has been through this process.
As for chocolate bars, dark chocolate almost always contains a higher concentration of flavanols than milk chocolate. For example, a 25g serving of high percentage (more than 75%) dark chocolate can contain more than 80mg cocoa flavanols compared with around 10mg or lower per 25g for a milk chocolate bar.
Research has found that dark chocolate and cocoa products containing at least 200mg of cocoa flavanols can improve blood vessel elasticity, which helps with blood flow. And regularly consuming cocoa flavanols – even doses of 80mg a day – improves blood vessels’ ability to dilate or expand, which helps the body regulate blood pressure and blood flow to organs. This is thought to be because cocoa flavanols increase the concentration of bioactive nitric oxide. This is a molecule involved in the widening of blood vessels that also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the formation of blood clots, all of which can have beneficial effects on blood pressure.
Cocoa flavanols can also increase blood flow to the brain, which may improve cognitive performance. And they may help to reduce cognitive decline by protecting the brain from free radical damage.
Alongside cardiovascular and cognitive benefits, cocoa flavanols may also help improve muscle recovery following strenuous exercise, thanks to their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. A recent study found that a single high dose of 1245mg cocoa flavanols (15g of a high flavanol cocoa powder) slightly improved muscle recovery.
So next time you are in the mood for some chocolate, perhaps select a high percentage of dark variety or natural cocoa powder for any potential health benefits.