If Iced Tea is Your Summer Staple, You Need to Read This Research
Fun fact: after water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. In American alone, we consumed more than 84 billion servings of tea in 2018, and on any given day, more than half of the population drinks tea. Surprising, yes, but this is the stat that really struck me: according to a survey commissioned by the Tea Council of the USA, nearly 80% of Americans go for iced tea over hot.
From a health perspective, all of this is excellent news. Tea—whether hot, cold, black, green, white, oolong, or fermented—has been linked to countless health benefits. Whether you’re a long-time tea drinker or are looking to convert your coffee addiction, we think you’ll find these significant health perks a *refreshing* read.
For years, research has shown that tea drinking is associated with improved cardiovascular health: it has been linked to a reduced risk for hypertension, stroke, and hardening of the arteries. Other studies have shown that tea may help support healthy blood flow and circulation by improving blood vessel function and helping to control blood clotting, in addition to improving cholesterol levels.
More than 3,000 published studies exist that evaluate the role that antioxidants found in tea and tea compounds, such as the ever-praised epigallocatechin gallate (commonly referred to as EGCG), may play in lowering our risk of various types of cancer. One study actually found that women who drank two or more cups of green or black tea per day had a 46 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer compared with non–tea drinkers. Research also shows that tea helps to reduce free radical damage, inhibit uncontrolled cell growth, and boost our immune system.
And not just because it's caffeinated! Recent studies have associated two compounds in tea, L-theanine and caffeine, with cognitive health benefits. The amino acid L-theanine, in particular, has been shown to directly affect areas of the brain that control attention and the ability to solve complex problems. Drinking tea is likely improve your mental clarity, mood, and work performance, too.
Drinking green tea polyphenols (those lovely antioxidants we covered above) has been linked to increased skin protection from UV rays and improved elasticity. In a 12-week trial where women were randomized to drinking extracted green tea polyphenols, they saw improvements in skin elasticity, roughness, and scaling. This is in part because tea boosts our blood flow and oxygen delivery to our skin.
Tea consumption is associated with lower weight—studies have actually shown that tea drinkers tend to have a lower waist circumference and BMI. Early research in animal models suggests that both black tea and green tea polyphenols may impact the gut microbiome to promote weight loss, too.
Lowering your risk of dementia
According to comprehensive research conducted in Japan, green tea consumption can help to ward off dementia later in life.
How to make iced tea
Now that we're motivated to start sipping, here's the proper way to prepare a large quantity of concentrated tea to make iced tea:
- Bring one quart of fresh, cold, filtered water to a full boil in a teapot.
- Remove from heat and add 8–10 tea bags per quart of tea desired.
- Steep for three to five minutes and pour over ice cubes or into additional cold water.
- To serve, pour into tall glass filled with ice, garnish and lemon juice, milk, or spices as desired.