6 Proven Benefits of Iced Tea

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Iced tea is a popular form of regular tea that has been chilled or served with ice. Typically, iced tea is made with black, white or green tea, although some herbal teas are also served cold and referred to as iced tea. Different varieties of iced tea exist around the world, and often feature flavored syrups to improve the taste, including lemon, peach, cherry, orange and passionfruit varieties. There are some differences in the method of preparing iced tea versus regular tea, especially in the steeping time.

Benefits of Drinking Iced Tea

Iced tea provides all of the same benefits as regular black tea, due to its concentrations of caffeine, polyphenols, catechins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Unsweetened teas, or those served with lemon or lime, tend to be the healthiest varieties, as they contain fewer calories and sugars, while also adding more antioxidants and nutrients to the beverage.

Weight Loss Efforts

This tea is low in calories and low in natural sugars (when unsweetened), which can help you in your weight loss efforts, particularly if you are used to drinking sweet sodas and other sugar-heavy beverages. It can also help you feel full and refreshed, without adding to your daily calorie count.

Chronic Disease

There are powerful compounds in black tea called flavonoids that have been directly linked to the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. Flavonoids act as antioxidants, meaning that they can seek out and neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative stress and tissue inflammation.

Immune System

The antioxidants and nutrients found in tea are known to stimulate the function of the immune system, making it easier for the body to defend against pathogens and infections. Some bottled forms of iced tea also fortify their mixtures with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which can further increase the strength of the immune system.

Bone Health

With significant levels of manganese and fluoride in iced black tea, this summertime beverage can help you protect your bone mineral density and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Fluoride is directly connected to preventing tooth decay and strengthening the enamel of teeth but it is also present in the rest of our bones and is integral to keeping our bones strong as we age.

Heart Disease

As mentioned above, flavonoids present in tea are excellent antioxidants, which can help prevent many chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, by reducing the tissue inflammation in the arteries and blood vessels of the heart.

Diabetes

Drinking tea can contribute to your better health by lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, provided it is had without any milk or sugar additions. This makes iced tea a great option for people with prediabetes or those at the risk of developing diabetes.

Nutrition Facts of Iced Tea

Standard iced black tea contains low levels of potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, sugar, caffeine, fluoride, flavonoids, and various other antioxidants. Other types of iced tea, such as green tea or herbal teas, will have different nutritional profiles.

How to Make Iced Tea?

It is very easy to make this beverage, although there are many varieties, depending on how strong you want the tea and the flavor you desire. Below are two common recipes, one for simple iced tea and the other for “sun tea”. It is important to note that you should err on the side of the tea being “too strong”, as the ice will often dilute the tea with water, making it slightly weaker.

Two glasses of tea and basil leaves as a garnish and straws protruding out of them

Best Tropical Iced Tea Recipe

Enjoy this tropical healthy iced tea drink and keep yourself hydrated in the summer!
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Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Mediterranean, American
Keyword: iced tea
Appliance: Refrigerator, Stove
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Author: Ishani Bose

Ingredients

  • 4 teabags of basic iced tea (green, white, oolong or herbal tea can also be used)
  • 6-8 cups of water (depending on how strong you want the tea to be)
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • 1 tsp of honey/preferred sweetener (optional)

Instructions

  • To make basic iced tea, bring the water to a boil in a stainless steel pot.
  •  Lower the heat to a simmer and add the tea bags.
  • Allow the tea to steep for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow the tea to cool for 5-10 minutes. Additionally, you can add a tsp of honey or your preferred sweetener. 
  • Pour the tea over ice. Add the lemon slices and allow the tea to chill for 3-5 minutes before serving. You can also refrigerate it for an hour.

Notes

You can add any other fruit flavor to the tea to enhance the taste. 

Iced Tea Ingredients

The ingredients of this tea are very simple, consisting of only black tea, water and natural sweeteners, such as lemon slices or honey. That being said, different types of tea can be used, including white, green and herbal teas for slightly different flavors. Furthermore, you can add other flavor items to change the sweetness, or include mint leaves, a cinnamon stick, or a teaspoon of simple syrup.

Sun Tea Recipe

Take a look at the recipe below.

Two classes filled with lemon iced tea garnished with basil leaves and a straw

The Perfect Sun Iced Tea Recipe

An alternative way to make iced tea without using the stove.
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Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Mediterranean, American
Keyword: iced tea, sun iced tea
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Author: Ishani Bose

Ingredients

  • 6 black tea bags
  • 6-8 cups of water, depending on how strong you want the tea
  • A large glass pitcher
  • 6 lemon slices for sweetness (if desired)
  • 1 tsp of honey

Instructions

  • To make sun iced tea, fill the pitcher with water.
  • Add the tea bags and place the pitcher out in the sun.
  • Allow the tea to steep in the sun for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove tea bags and add lemon slices. You can also add a teaspoon of honey to the tea to enhance the taste. 
  • Serve the tea over ice and enjoy!

Side Effects of Iced Tea

Iced tea does come with a few potential side effects, including irritability, headaches, kidney stones, and possible diabetic complications. Most of these side effects are caused by drinking too much-iced tea or adding sugar to the beverage. Unsweetened version of this tea is highly recommended if you want to enjoy all the health benefits, and avoid some of these side effects.

  • Caffeine – While caffeine provides an energy boost and is one of the main reasons why people drink beverages like tea or coffee, it can have negative side effects when consumed at high levels, including caffeine withdrawal, trouble sleeping, irritability, stomach upset, headaches, acid reflux and inability to focus. Drinking a moderate amount of this tea should help you avoid most of these issues.
  • Kidney Concerns – Research in recent years has pointed to tea as a contributing factor to kidney stone development when drunk in large quantities. Tea contains compounds known as oxalates, which become oxalic acid in the body and can contribute to kidney stones and gallstones. If you have kidney stones of a history of that condition, consider speaking to your doctor before making this tea a regular part of your diet.
  • Diabetes – Unsweetened ice tea might not affect your blood sugar levels, which is a good thing for people living with diabetes. However, if you are adding sugar to every glass or pitcher of tea, you may be putting yourself at more risk of developing diabetes or exacerbating the symptoms, due to such a concentrated intake of sugar.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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