Friday, March 30, 2012

Iced Tea

Summer is coming and with that the amount of iced tea being drunk will increase. If you make your own iced tea it is a very cheap drink. Tea also has many reported health benefits.

Studies that support the health benefits of tea drinking keep filling the headlines. There’s simply no denying that a daily spot of tea does the body good. Even though researchers can’t quite agree on every aspect, the fact is that a few cups a day will do its best to protect you from heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more.

What Makes Tea Good for the Body?

Tea contains high levels of antioxidants, some of which are called polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, and all of which take on the “free radicals” in the body and prevent them from harming the healthy cells on board. In other words, sending in antioxidants is disease prevention in its finest form.

Heart Benefits:

• Study finds tea drinkers have lower blood pressure (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004).

• Tea may lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease (Journal of Nutrition, 2003).

• Black tea may lower “bad” cholesterol (United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, 2003).

• Tea consumption may help heart disease patients (Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association, 2001).

Cancer Prevention:

• Green tea could help stem esophageal cancer. (Harvard Medical School, 2004).

• Green and black tea can slow down the spread of prostate cancer (Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, 2004).

• Tea may protect against cancer caused by smoking. (Journal of Nutrition, 2003).

• Green tea and white tea fight colon cancer (Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University study, Carcinogenesis, 2003).

• Hot tea may lower risk of some skin cancers (University of Arizona study, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (Vol. 9, No. 7), 2001).

• Green tea consumption may lower stomach cancer risk (University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health study, International Journal of Cancer (Vol. 92: 600-604), 2001).

Hypertension-Reducing Benefits:

• Green and oolong teas reduce risk of hypertension (National Cheng Kung University study, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004).

Immunity-Boosting Benefits

• Tea believed to boost the body’s defenses (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2003)

Leukemia-Fighting Benefits:

• A green tea component helps kill leukemia cells (Mayo Clinic, 2004).

Alzheimer’s-Fighting Benefits:

• Drinking tea might delay Alzheimer's Disease (Newcastle University's Medicinal Plant Research Centre study, Phytotherapy Research, 2004).

AIDS-Fighting Benefits:

• Tea may play a role as an AIDS fighter (University of Tokyo, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2003).

Are All Teas Equally Good for the Body?

This is a question researchers are still squabbling over. Does green tea have more antioxidants than black tea? Should I drink instant tea or loose leaf tea for better health benefits? Is hot tea better than iced tea? And here’s what it comes down to:

• Higher quality teas may have more catechin antioxidants than lower quality teas.

• White tea has more antioxidants than any other tea.

• Green tea has more catechin antioxidants than black tea since black tea goes through more processing.

• Unfermented rooibos tea has more polyphenol antioxidants than fermented rooibos.

• Freshly brewed teas have more polyphenol antioxidants than instant or bottled teas.

• More researchers seem to agree that brewed (cold or hot) or caffeinated tea has more antioxidants than instant teas.

There are basically three ways to make tea; Hot brewed, Sun-brewed, and Cold brewed. The tea package should have directions for each method. I much prefer cold-brewed tea. To me, cold-brewed tea has none of the bitterness of hot brewed tea and it is so simple to make. I prefer Lipton Cold-Brewed tea. It just takes two tea bags for a half gallon. I drink a half gallon of tea every three days so my tea stays fresh.

Some rules for brewing tea:

1. Use enough tea bags
When foods are served cold, the flavors become dull. A stronger tea - such as Darjeeling, Jasmine or green teas - is necessary to have a well-flavored tea served cold. Use two tea bags for every 3 cups of water for best results (this is a hot brew recipe; hot brew tea bags are smaller than cold brew bags)
2. Don't oversteep

If you prefer your tea stronger, use more tea bags rather than lengthening the steeping time. Allowing tea to overstep brings out the tannins in the tea and can make it bitter. For weaker tea, reduce the steeping time rather than taking away tea bags for better flavor.

3. Add sugar to hot water
If you sweeten your tea, add the sugar to the hot tea in order to dissolve the grains. If you prefer to sweeten your tea afterwards as per each persons taste, use a simple syrup rather than granulated sugar which will leave sugar grains in your glass.

4. Cool before refrigerating
Putting hot tea into a cold fridge will make your tea cloudy. Allow your tea to cool before you refrigerate.  If you do end up with cloudy tea, try adding a bit of boiling water to it – it will sometimes do the trick!

5. Keep it real
Don't use artificial lemon juice. Only use real fresh squeezed lemon juice from fresh lemons for the very best flavor.   

6. Fresh is best
Iced tea tastes best when it is freshly made. Make only what you will drink in two or three days. It's easy to make, so don't worry about having to mix up another batch!

Iced Tea is a cheap and easy drink with many health benefits.

No comments:

Post a Comment