No matter how you like it – iced or hot – tea is packed with valuable antioxidants that reduce your heart disease risk and help prevent diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you like green tea, black tea, white tea or oolong tea, it all is rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that works to detoxify free radicals in your body.
All tea kinds come from the same plant – Camellia sinensis – and the difference is in the processing. While black and oolong teas undergo a specific crushing and fermenting process, while green tea is simply steamed and withered. It all contains the same disease fighting elements and any kind can be served iced with the same results.
What Is an Antioxidant?
An antioxidant is any molecule that is helpful in stopping or slowing the oxidation of other molecules. They are dietary substances that can help repair and stop damage on a cellular level. Free radicals in your body can lead to diseases like heart disease or stroke and therefore, getting rid of free radicals in your body is important. By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you are exposing your body to many disease fighting antioxidants that will help improve your body’s immune function and ability to fight disease.
How Many Antioxidants in Tea?
Tea is packed with one specific kind of antioxidant – polyphenols. Compared to both vegetables and fruits, tea has 8 to 10 times more polyphenols. Catechins, a flavanoid and antioxidant, holds the key to the health benefits of drinking tea. Because tea is made through steeping, the longer you steep the tea, the more catechins are released and the more benefits to your body.
Health Benefits of Tea
Numerous studies have shown that people who drink tea regularly, or at least two cups per day, have far fewer instances of stroke and heart disease, lower overall LDL cholesterol, and recover from heart attacks quicker. It is also thought that tea helps to prevent breast and ovarian cancers.
Beyond these very specific health benefits, people that drink tea also face lower levels of stress in their lives. Research has proven that people that drink black tea regularly are able to de-stress themselves much easier and quicker than those that drank a tea substitute. These tea drinkers show lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies.
How Much Tea Should You Drink?
Though research is based on a two-drink minimum of tea per day, studies indicate that three cups per day may be the magic number to decrease heart disease risk. If you are drinking your tea iced, it is futher diluted, so you can often drink even more to intake the same amount of flavanoids.
How Do You Make Iced Tea?
To make an easy sun tea, use a one gallon glass jar. In it, place 16 tea bags and set the jar in a sunny location for about three hours to steep. Once it is darkened, remove the tea bags and pour the tea over ice for a refreshing and healthy summertime favorite.