Iced Tea: More Than Just a Refreshing Drink

A nice, tall glass of iced tea can do more than just help you beat the heat on a sweltering day.

The Surprising Benefits of Tea
All black, green, white, red, and oolong teas, iced or hot, contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Research suggests that polyphenols can help to combat free radicals, which can damage cells and tissues in the body and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and numerous other diseases. The polyphenols in tea have been found to help lower LDL cholesterol and research shows that regularly drinking green tea, which is rich in a type of polyphenol called catechins, may help promote exercise-induced abdominal fat loss. Catechins have also been shown to improve triglyceride levels and may help protect against Alzheimer’s and certain forms of cancer.

How to Prepare Iced Tea
To get the most from a glass of iced tea, brew it from loose leaves or a tea bag using boiling water (or better yet, make a bigger batch and refrigerate). You can perk up the flavor with sliced lemon and fresh mint or, for a complete change of pace once you enter Phase 2, add some fiber-rich crushed raspberries, mango, or peach. If you like your iced tea sweet, add a sugar substitute of your choice. Decaffeinated tea is another option, as is unsweetened herbal iced tea, although herbal teas don't provide the same polyphenol benefits as regular teas.

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