5 Reasons Why Palo Azul May Help To Promote Weight Loss
"Palo azul reduced the blood glucose, body weight and cholesterol"
The main reasons why palo azul tea may help to promote weight loss is because studies have concluded that it's antioxidant, anti-diabetic and it's rich in flavonoids. For these reasons, studies have shown palo azul's ability to reduce body weight, improve insulin sensitivity, increase muscle mass, burn abdominal fat and increase metabolism.
Due to these properties, a 2014 study found that palo azul's extract "showed a significant decrease of body weight in diabetic rats and produced significant loss in body weight as compared to normal animals during the study." Moreover, they found that "EP (palo azul) reduced the blood glucose, body weight, glycogen, HDL, levels of triglyceride and cholesterol."
1. Increase Insulin Sensitivity & Muscle Mass
A 2018 study explains that palo azul "may provide beneficial effects on the function of insulin secretion through its protective effect on pancreatic β cells." The researchers concluded that their "results confirm the ability of EP (palo azul) to ameliorate cell viability and insulin secretion in zebrafish under high glucose concentrations."
This is key... because insulin sensitivity is a significant factor when it comes to metabolism, muscle building, and fat storage. Low insulin sensitivity causes your body to produce higher amounts of insulin, which is also the main fat-storage hormone in your body, and will therefore store your body’s energy as fat. In contrast, high insulin sensitivity will help to improve your metabolism because your body’s muscles are better able to utilize carbohydrates as energy, therefore the energy is burned.
This is why people who do strength training generally have more muscle and less fat, because more muscle = higher insulin sensitivity = better metabolism = you burn more energy rather than store it as fat.
This is also why sprinters like Usain Bolt look more fit than marathon runners. Running on the treadmill for hours will burn calories, but it doesn’t improve your metabolism nearly as much as lifting heavy weights.
Interestingly, a 2016 study ended with the following statement: "In conclusion, palo azul may increase muscle mass in the body and improve insulin resistance by facilitating the formation of myotubes by promoting myocyte differentiation."
What is a myocyte? A 2021 study explains that "the muscle cell, also known as the myocyte is the smallest subunit of all muscular tissues and organs throughout the body. It is here in the myocyte, where the physiological steps of muscle contraction and where the pathophysiology of numerous muscular diseases takes place."
In other words...palo azul tea showed the ability to facilitate muscle contractions to take place, which could in theory promote an increase in muscle mass.
2. Rich in flavonoids
In addition to palo azul's antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties, the authors of the 2014 study explain that palo azul's "antioxidant activity may be attributed to the presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds."
What are phenolic and flavonoid compounds?
WebMD describes phenolic compounds, or polyphenols, as "micronutrients that naturally occur in plants." Flavonoids are a family of polyphenolic compounds, and these are found in vegetables, fruits, barks, flowers, and teas.
A 2021 study even found several phytochemicals in palo azul such as “flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, phenolic compounds, chalcones and dihydrochalcones” which have been linked to its health benefits, highlighting “diuretic, antidiabetic, antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial potential.”
This is great for us palo azul tea lovers, because thousands of studies have found numerous health benefits in flavonoids which are due to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, and anti-mutagenic properties.
Due to these properties, a 2016 study concluded that consumption of polyphenols "resulted in significant weight loss" and led to "significant improvement in waist circumference, fasting glucose and insulin resistance."
3. Improve Metabolism
A 2016 study explains that dietary polyphenols "offer great potential as an efficient weight loss strategy by modulating lipid metabolism and/or increasing BMR and thermogenesis."
Moreover, a 2014 study which supports these findings, showed that polyphenols have anti-obesity mechanisms because they improve metabolism. The researchers concluded that “animal studies strongly suggest that commonly consumed polyphenols described in this review have a pronounced effect on obesity as shown by lower body weight, fat mass and triglycerides through enhancing energy expenditure and fat utilization.”
There's even been randomized, controlled intervention studies on humans which tested polyphenols' effects on weight loss...and these are considered to be the Gold Standard for clinical studies! A 2011 clinical review concluded the following:
"Results from a number of randomized, controlled intervention trials have shown that consumption of green tea may reduce body weight and fat. The predominating hypothesis is that green tea catechins influences sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity, increasing energy expenditure and promoting the oxidation of fat."
4. Burn abdominal fat
A 2017 study which analyzed 2754 twins and found that the group that consumed the most flavonoids:
- "Had less percentage of fat"
- "Burned more fat in the abdomen"
Specifically, the researchers found that the twins with the highest consumption of flavonoid-rich foods (onions, tea, apples, pears, and cocoa) “had a 3-9% lower FMR (fat mass ratio) than that of their co-twins.”
The researchers found that the “women who ate a lot of flavonoid-rich foods had a lower percentage of body fat than women who ate less. The amount of abdominal fat also differed significantly between the two groups.” They also point out that “It is important to note that abdominal fat is an important risk factor for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”
Lastly, they conclude that "these data suggest that higher habitual intake of flavonoids is associated with lower fat mass independent of shared genetic and common environmental factors.”
Another study looked at 124,000 people and found that "flavonoids increase energy expenditure, decrease fat absorption and function as anti-inflammatories. The researchers in this same study found that "increased consumption of most flavonoid subclasses was associated with reduced weight gain.”
They also mentioned that participants who consumed more flavonoids maintained their weight better or even lost some weight. The authors concluded the following: "Our results suggest that choosing fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids, such as apples, pears, berries and peppers, can help with weight control."
5. Increase lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation
A 2016 study explains the specific biological mechanisms of flavonoids' beneficial effects on weight loss:
“Specifically, polyphenols such as citrus flavonoids, green tea epigallocatechin gallate, resveratrol, capsaicin and curcumin, have been reported to increase lipolysis and induce fatty acid β-oxidation through modulation of hormone sensitive lipase, acetyl-coA carboxylase, carnitine acyl transferase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1. In this review article, we discuss selected phytochemicals in relation to their integrated functionalities and specific mechanisms for weight loss.”
What is lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation?
A 2021 study explains that "lipolysis is the metabolic process through which triacylglycerols break down via hydrolysis into their constituent molecules: glycerol and free fatty acids (FFAs). Fat storage in the body is through adipose TAGs and is utilized for heat, energy, and insulation."
Another study explains that "fatty acid β-oxidation is the process by which fatty acids are broken down to produce energy."
In other words...flavonoids may help you lose weight because they increase your body's ability to burn fat for energy.
Flavonoid-rich foods: Teas, apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, broccoli and green juices
In summary, palo azul tea may help to promote weight loss because it showed the ability to improve insulin sensitivity, which is associated with increased metabolism and decreased fat storage. Flavonoids can also help to improve metabolism because they can increase lipolysis and fatty acid β-oxidation...which are the processes by which our body burns fat as energy.
P.S...Don't forget to help your loved ones by sharing the magical palo azul tea with them!
* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce