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Hibiscus: Your new weight-loss hero

Hibiscus: Your new weight-loss hero

Hibiscus is a little more exotic than your garden-variety daisy, so we'll forgive you if you're not familiar with this tropical flower. Traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls, the hibiscus flower could say a lot about someone's relationship status; if it's behind the left ear she's taken, find it behind the right ear and she's single.

But the petals have more than just matchmaking power; research published in October 2015 claims hibiscus could be your new weight-loss hero.

Researchers looked into the effects of feeding hibiscus to animals on high-fat diets. They found that the more the animals ate, the more their risk of obesity was reduced, with hibiscus also minimising symptoms such as fatty liver, loss of blood glucose regulation and a fat-cell increase.

Taken from the Food & Function journal, scientists concluded the hibiscus flower extracts were an "effective and viable" treatment strategy for "preventing the development and treating the symptoms of obesity".

So where can you come across this flower, which also happens to be the national bloom of Haiti? Well, unsurprisingly, it's not that easy in Europe. Dropping hibiscus petals into a glass of bubbly is popular at parties but probably won't do wonders for your waistline.

If you want to incorporate hibiscus into your diet, tea is probably the way forward. Natur Boutique, specialists in herbal teas, produces an Organic Diet Tea that's available in high-street store Holland & Barrett. It combines hibiscus with pineapple and green and java teas, making it fruity and tasty.

If you'd prefer other flavours, have a shop around. Some other teas combine hibiscus with pomegranate, rosehip or goji berry, so you'll no doubt find one that suits your palate.

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