Keep Your Cool (And Your Summer Bod) With Iced Tea
The sun’s coming out and the layers are coming off! As temperatures rise outside, our beverage preferences shift to something cool and refreshing. Oftentimes, that means we’re sipping on ice cream (disguised as coffee), soda, or neon bottles of “water.” Unfortunately, while we’re cooling off, we’re also guzzling down calories and sugar. All the hard work we put in at the gym can be nullified pretty quickly through a straw. Drinking water is boring... and drinking mimosas on weekdays is generally frowned upon. What are we supposed to do? Brew some iced tea! There’s plenty of ways to spruce up a pitcher of iced tea without making it southern sweet. The resulting brew is refreshing and healthy!
Replacing sugary drinks with iced tea is an automatic reduction in total calories consumed during the day. One of the easiest ways to cut calories is not to drink them. Tea comes in a variety of flavors that can please the palate without requiring sweetener. Herbal teas and tisanes are caffeine-free and delicious. White, green, oolong, and black tea have the added bonus of EGCG and antioxidants. EGCG is a catechin specifically found in tea that helps to stimulate weight loss and maintenance. Drinking green tea before exercise has also been shown to increase fat burn during a workout. Post-workout, you can treat yourself, but don’t guzzle down a smoothie! One of these fruit concoctions can add an extra 250-800 calories to your daily intake. Meanwhile, the “calories burned” reported on the elliptical trainer reports an overestimation up to 40%. Replacing this indulgent treat with a calorie-free, refreshing, and metabolism boosting iced tea will definitely sway the calories in vs. out in your favor!
It is a common misconception that caffeinated beverages dehydrate the body. A cup of tea is mostly water. A study published by the EJCN suggests that even black tea—the most caffeinated variety—still hydrates the body. With tea, you get the added bonus of antioxidants and health-promoting properties. Iced tea counts toward your daily hydration goal and it tastes great.
Calms The Nerves + Energizes The Mind
All tea prepared using tea leaves (excludes herbal tea) contains L-theanine amino acid. This naturally calming amino acid helps to calm and center the mind by stimulating alpha brain wave activity! Even though it chills you out, iced tea won’t make you drowsy! Caffeine paired with L-theanine keeps the mind active and even improves response time. It's a win-win!
Easy Ways To Brew
Brewing tea is easy! The highest quality steeps come from preparing iced tea with loose organic leaves . Tea bags don’t offer the same beneficial properties because they are made of the dust and fannings of lower quality leaves. Full leaf tea contains the highest level of antioxidants and other nutrients.
Cold Brew Method
Cold brewing has become very trendy for both coffee and tea. Since hot water never touches the leaves, tannic acid doesn’t release. The resulting brew is less astringent and bitter. The flavor profile is generally smoother and lighter. Super refreshing!
Preparation of cold brew is very simple. A pitcher with a strainer works perfectly. Find out how many cups your pitcher holds by dividing the ounces it holds by eight. This is how many teaspoons to put in the strainer.
(Ounces ÷ 8) = Tsps of Loose Tea
If you like your tea extra strong, just add a couple teaspoons of tea! Once you have the proper amount of tea, fill your pitcher with room temperature water and refrigerate. Within six to ten hours, your tea leaves will infuse their flavor and nutrients!
Traditional Iced Tea
The usual method is to simply brew hot and then refrigerate. By preparing iced tea this way, you can taste the tea and ensure the strength is to your liking. If you want to sweeten your iced tea, it’s best to do so while hot! Taste test and then chill. Don’t worry if it becomes cloudy! Preparing iced tea using high-quality loose tea also means there are more particles of tea leaf suspended in the liquid. The cause of the cloudiness is nothing more than that and doesn’t change the flavor or benefits.
To prepare, the same formula and tools are required! One teaspoon of tea per every 8 ounces in your pitcher. Follow normal brewing instructions (proper temperatures for different varieties of the leaf.)
What if you’re thirsty now and you didn’t set up a pitcher overnight? Don’t run to the store to pick up a 99¢ tall-can sugar bomb explosion that says “tea” on the label. You can make iced tea instantly! In order to prepare a strong and delicious cup, you just need to make a concentrated brew.
You can use your normal brewing device for a single hot cup:
- Double a number of tea leaves (for a 16 oz mug use 4 tsp)
- Use half the amount of water (for a 16 oz mug, use eight ounces)
- Brew for the same amount of time you normally would
- Brew at the same temperature
- Add ice and stir or shake well
- Boom and voila! You have an instantly brewed iced tea!
You can feel hot all summer long by drinking cold tea. So, save your money and your tummy! Brewing a pitcher of iced tea is so simple, and the flavor possibilities are endless. A cup of tea not only hydrates but also offers tons of beneficial components like antioxidants and EGCG. Calming L-theanine also helps keep your mood mellow. Low calorie and satisfying, it’s the perfect accessory.