(NaturalNews) Green tea diet secrets are not so secret any more. If you're trying to shed a few pounds, adding green tea to your diet can really help jump start the process. Studies have proven the efficacy of green tea for weight loss. Green tea has been shown to speed up metabolic rates and increase energy expenditure during exercise in healthy adults. Additionally, a study (1) published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that green tea increases fat oxidation during moderate exercise, improves insulin sensitivity and increases glucose tolerance, all of which can help prevent obesity.
But, as the school of hard knocks has taught us all, there is no magic bullet when it comes to our bodies and our health. While green tea can go a long way toward helping you reach your weight-loss goals, you can't use it in isolation. If you want to achieve a state of optimal health, it's important to incorporate other healthy diet and lifestyle changes into your routine as well. Here is a list of other things you can do to support your body and your health while working toward your ideal weight.
Exercise -- There is no aspect of life that can't be improved by moderate, regular exercise. Exercise can reduce your risk of cancer, lengthen your life, keep your brain sharp as you age and even help alleviate depression. Used in conjunction with green tea, exercise is also an excellent aid to weight loss. It burns excess calories, speeds up your metabolism and builds healthy muscle mass. And, since muscle mass itself burns more calories than other types of tissue, you will start a self-perpetuating cycle, making weight loss easier as you become more and more fit.
Drink, drink, drink -- All of your bodily processes, from digestion to blood circulation to the formation of essential hormones, depend on water. And you probably already know that it's important to replenish the fluids your body naturally loses by drinking plenty of water every day. But did you know that drinking water can help with weight loss too? A report (2) published in Obesity has shown that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water 30 minutes before each meal can decrease the total number of calories eaten in a day.
Avoid processed foods -- Most highly processed foods are high in salt, saturated fat, sugar and preservatives. They may also include harmful dyes and artificial chemical additives. It cannot be over emphasized that consuming processed foods will have strong negative consequences for both your weight-loss efforts and your overall health. Saturated fats contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease, while white flours and processed sugar can cause spikes in blood glucose levels which contribute to weight gain.
Hit the hay -- A good night's sleep is an essential ingredient to general good health. It supports your immune system, helps you think clearly and allows your body to heal when you've been sick. Those all-important eight hours of rest can also aid in weight loss. Being well-rested gives you more energy the following morning, which allows you to incorporate more physical activities into your schedule, burning more unwanted calories.
Lack of sleep, conversely, can lead to weight gain. One study covered in the article "Study: Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain in Just a Few Days," posted by U.S. News and World Report (3), showed that, when study participants were sleep-deprived, they ate more carbohydrates and fats than usual and rapidly gained weight. Later, when the same participants returned to sleeping the whole night, they ate less and lost the weight they had gained.
Relaxation -- Meditation and other relaxation techniques can also be an important part of a successful weight-loss routine. High levels of stress hormones such as cortisol have been linked to weight gain. The results of a study (4) in Obesity Research suggests strong links between stress, the release of cortisol and subsequent weight gain, particularly in the form of abdominal fat.
Almost any kind of relaxation technique can be helpful in diminishing the effects of the stress in your life. Consider conscious breathing, guided visualization, meditation or even yoga. Find the technique that suits your personality and schedule best. If possible, choose a regular time and place to practice the technique. Regularity will make it easier to stick to your new routine, ensuring that you reap the greatest benefit.