Today, June 10th, is National Iced Tea Day. Now I drink iced tea year round, but I know in some places it’s only served in the summer time. Well, it’s summertime in the states — everyone here should be ready to enjoy iced tea!
So why not try healthy iced tea when you’re thirsty instead of reaching for a soft drink? The benefits of iced tea make it a better choice, especially as compared to the chemicals and massive amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners in most soft drinks.
Healthy Tea Is A Super Health Food
Besides tasting good and being so refreshing on hot summer days, tea is a super health food! True tea is made from the leaves, stems and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. It doesn’t matter if you prefer black, green, white or oolong tea, they all come from this same bush. The only differences are when the leaves are picked and how they are processed.
- Green Tea: made from leaves that are dried right after harvesting.
- Oolong Tea: leaves are fermented for a short time after harvest.
- Black Tea: leaves are fermented fora longer time than oolong.
- White Tea: leaves are shielded from the sun so they don’t produce any chlorophyll.
Although we call drinks made of such things as peppermint and other herbs tea, technically those are tisanes. I don’t think many people use that term these days though, but just use the word “tea” for both genuine tea and herbal tisanes.
The Most Healthy Iced Tea Is Made With Green Tea
To make green tea, freshly harvested tea leaves are lightly steamed, rolled, then spread out and dried with hot air or fried until they are crisp. This produces a flavor close to the fresh leaf.
Because it undergoes the least amount of processing, green tea has the most antioxidant polyphenols. The most important of these is EGOG, epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? This polyphenol is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits of iced tea.
So What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Iced Tea?
Not only does iced tea do a great job of quenching your thirst, it’s full of flavonoids called catechins, which are great antioxidants. Though these are most abundant in green teas, they are found in other teas as well.
The antioxidants in tea are thought to:
- help prevent cancer,
- reduce the risk of heart disease,
- promotes fat loss,maintain bone density,
- increases exercise endurance,
- boosts insulin activity, and
- helps older people keep mentally sharp.
That’s lots of good reasons to drink healthy iced tea!