Tea in Texas

Celebrating the Health Benefits of Iced Tea

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Did you know that June is National Iced Tea Month? If you are like many Texans, you might not for the simple reason that you celebrate this tasty drink throughout the year. In fact, some compare the importance of iced tea to Texans to that of coffee to Seattleites, and more Texans drink this delicious beverage than consume water alone. Simply put, it’s a staple in this part of the country. Fortunately, of all of the drink types out there today, this is one of the more nutritious ones.

Low Calorie Count

Iced tea is incredibly low in calories, as an 8-ounce serving of it usually contains about a gram of carbohydrates and two calories. Much of this is due to its lack of sugar. In comparison, sweet tea tends to contain more than 20 grams of sugar while a can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams of the sweet substance. It’s important to note that even the most sugar-loving of people are not apt to spoon into their iced tea even close to as much sugar exists in soft drinks and likely won’t get close to sweat tea’s sugar amount either.

Low Sodium Levels Too

When compared to many of the other drinks out there, iced tea is a good low-sodium source, generally containing less than 10 mg per serving. Meanwhile, cocoa mixes usually contain the most, some even nearing 900 mg per serving. Other high-sodium drinks include vegetable juices and sports drinks.

Improves Tooth Quality

The opposite of its sugary rivals, iced tea actually  reduces cavities and plaque. Regularly drinking it helps suppress the growth of the bacteria that would otherwise cause cavities. In fact, a study showed that the more participants rinsed their mouths with tea, the more the bacteria and plaque levels inside their mouths dropped.

Of course, adding sugar to your iced tea drink will counteract all of these teeth-related benefits.

Did you know that June is National Iced Tea Month?

High in Antioxidants

You’ve likely heard all about the value of antioxidants and how they fight free radicals that want to damage your body’s cells. Fortunately, iced tea is a great source of antioxidants. In fact, it has been shown that a cup of tea has many times more antioxidants than any serving of vegetables or fruit out there.

You can also add to the amount of antioxidants that you are consuming by adding lemon or lime or other citrus elements to your tea. Using mint is another way for you to multiply the amount of powerful antioxidants going into your body.

Manganese Source

Although it may not have the star power of other minerals like calcium and iron, manganese is quite important too. It helps improve bone production and skin health while concurrently controlling your blood sugar levels and protecting against free radical damage. Manganese also helps support metabolism and promotes healthy healing of wounds.

An 8-ounce serving of iced tea generally contains 500 micrograms of this mineral, which is about a quarter of the recommended daily intake for men and about a third of what is recommended for women.

Helps Relax Us

Those who drink iced tea tend to experience less stress in their day-to-day lives than those who don’t. They also experience a lower amount of stress following a trying situation than non-tea drinkers who experienced the same circumstances. This is due to iced tea lowering the amount of cortisol in the blood.

Health for the Heart

Drinking one cup of iced tea can also cause quite a few good things to happen to your heart and the flow of blood in your body. A recent study that included more than 6,000 participants showed that those who consumed that much tea experienced a 35 percent reduction in heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke and cardiovascular death as compared to those who participated in the study but never drank tea. This was partly due to the reduction of calcium deposits that were found around the coronary arteries near the heart.

It should also be noted that those who have suffered heart attacks and then drank tea at least twice a day recover from them more quickly than those who do not.

Tea Fights Cancer Too

Several studies have shown that regularly drinking iced tea reduces the risk of cancer in most. Tea drinkers experienced a 42 percent reduction to their risk of contracting colon cancer when compared to those who did not drink it. And more may be better as men who drank more than 1-1/2 cups of it enjoyed a 70 percent reduction.

Also, women who drank 2-1/2 cups of tea every day had a 60 percent reduction in their rectal cancer risks when compared to those who participated in the study but drank 1-1/5 cups of tea or less per day.

Make Your Own to Receive the Most Benefits

Although all types of tea provide a tremendous number of benefits, homemade iced tea provides even more of them, most notably in an increased number of antioxidants. This is because the processing that is necessary to put teas into the store and eventually in your cup destroys a number of them.

However, don’t feel obligated to make your own as the benefits provided by processed tea still outweigh many other things you can consume, and all of the above points are still valid. Making your own tea is only if you want to truly maximize how healthy each cup of this delicious beverage is.

As the temperatures start reaching into the 90s on a regular basis this June, make sure to celebrate National Iced Tea Month with a refreshing cup of iced tea. Of course, if you are like many Texans, you were already planning to do just that throughout June, even before you realized that there was a month celebrating one of your favorite drinks.

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