Having iced tea on a hot, sultry summer day is simply heavenly. And, most of you would agree to this. If reports are to be believed, it is one of the most popular drinks and around 1.8 billion gallons of iced tea was consumed in the year 2017.
Unfortunately, what you purchase might not be giving you all the health benefits you are looking for, including its ability to improve your heart health and reduce the risk of other health conditions like diabetes and cognitive decline.
Packaged iced teas are high in calories, flavoring agents, artificial coloring agents and added sugar; much like sodas. Well, the intent of this article is not to discourage people to consume iced teas but to let them know which ones to choose and how. Let’s begin with processed sugar component of iced teas.
Beware of The Added Sugars
Amy Keating, a noted nutritionist, explains that you might be thinking that you have chosen iced tea as a healthy option, but in reality, you are consuming as much sugar as you have with sodas.
According to current dietary guidelines in the U.S., added sugars should make less than 10% of your daily calorie consumption. This makes it less than 50 grams if you are adhering to a diet of 2,000 calories. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that maximum daily added sugar intake should be restricted to less than or equal to 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women.
Certain brands tout that their products contain cane sugar, honey or real sugar. But, then again, these products are not necessarily great for you, and by no means better than the ones that have sugary corn syrup.
However, diet iced teas are little low in calories and added sugar, but these might possibly contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame, which is again a not-so-healthy option. Recent researches suggest that drinking artificially sweetened liquids might increase your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
The best bet is to purchase iced teas that are unsweetened. These iced teas might have certain flavors, such as lemon, but they are more likely calorie free and don’t have any type of artificial sweeteners. Besides, you must also know that packaged iced tea aren’t rich in antioxidants in contradiction to what we believe. Packaged green tea might contain too many “unhealthy” ingredients and added sugars as well.
Brew Your Own Iced Tea
An easy and inexpensive solution to packaged iced teas with too much calories and sugar is to brew your iced tea all by yourself. Simple! Isn’t it?
Pour boiling water over loose leaf tea or use the bags of either black or green tea. Let it gradually steep for around 5 minutes. Allow it to cool by itself. You can alternatively add tea to cold water and allow it to steep for around 2 hours.
A 2016 study revealed that there is just a little statistical difference in the polyphenol content of both black or green tea when steeped in hot water for about 5 minutes and alternatively, with cold water for 2 hours.
For preparing a pitcher full of iced tea, steep 8-10 tea bags in about two quarts of water. Mix in some freshly prepared mint tea, lemon slices and fresh mint in your green iced tea to reduce its bitter taste. Add orange slices in your black tea for that silky sweetness.
It’s however important to note that the antioxidants levels in tea reduce with time. The antioxidants reduce by 10% each day. So, make sure not to brew up large batches of iced tea that you can’t consume completely in a day or two.
Let’s unwind with a chilled glass of self-prepared, healthy iced tea.