5 Delicious (and Healthy!) Iced Tea Combinations
To upgrade summer's coolest brews, lose the sugar and stir in these extras instead.
Tea is already one of the best things you can drink—its antioxidant compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, and they may even help with weight management. And when you mix your brew with other beneficial ingredients, you'll boost its power to tackle health complaints from high blood pressure to an upset stomach. How's that for sweet?
Sugar Buster = Black Tea + Cinnamon
A 2012 study found that countries where people consumed the most black tea had the lowest rates of type 2 diabetes. Antioxidants in the tea leaves may enhance insulin activity. Adding cinnamon can make a good thing even better: According to research in Diabetes Care
, consuming just one-third of a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can reduce levels of glucose in people with type 2 diabetes.
Cynthia Gold, tea sommelier at Boston's L'Espalier
, recommends pouring 8 ounces boiling water over 2 black tea bags and 1 cinnamon stick (about 2 tsp. powdered). Steep 4 minutes. Let cool; transfer to an ice-filled glass; top with 2 ounces club soda.
Immunity Booster = Green Tea + Cranberry Juice
Antioxidants called catechins, which have antiviral properties, are more plentiful in green tea than in black. And according to a Purdue University study, adding vitamin C—which is abundant in cranberry juice—can increase absorption of the tea's catechins.
Todd Rubin of tea manufacturer The Republic of Tea
suggests steeping 2 green tea bags in 8 ounces hot water for 2 minutes. Let cool. Stir in 2 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice and agave syrup to taste. Pour over ice.
Tension Tamer = Chamomile Tea + Orange
Flavonoids in this calming brew may enhance the activity of relaxing neurotransmitters in the brain. In fact, research suggests that drinking five cups of chamomile tea a day may even help treat anxiety disorders. Tag team it with an orange: Research has found that simply smelling a sweet orange can lower anxiety in moments of stress.
Brew It: Crush 2 strips orange zest, 1 tsp. dried lemon verbena leaves, 4 mint leaves, and 1 sprig rosemary together in a bowl, says Gold. Add 3 chamomile tea bags and pour 12 ounces boiling water over the mixture. Steep 5 minutes. Strain and let cool. Pour over ice, and finish with a splash of sparkling water.
Stomach Soother = Peppermint Tea + Ginger
The menthol in peppermint can ease gastrointestinal distress by relaxing the muscles of your digestive tract, while plant phenols in ginger can help speed up the movement of food through your system.
Brew It: Pour 8 ounces boiling water over 2 peppermint tea bags and 3 slices fresh ginger, smashed, suggests Rubin. Steep 5 minutes. Let cool. Strain, stir in honey to taste, and pour over ice.
Pressure Reliever = Hibiscus Tea + Coconut Water
Mildly hypertensive people who drank three cups of hibiscus tea daily for six weeks lowered their blood pressure as significantly as they would have by taking some hypertension meds, according to a study in The Journal of Nutrition
. Add coconut water for its potassium—the mineral helps keep blood pressure stable by reducing the negative effects of salt.
Steep 2 hibiscus tea bags in 8 ounces hot unsweetened coconut water for 5 minutes, says Rubin. Let cool. Stir in 2 ounces sparkling water and pour over ice.
Next: Dr. Oz's favorite green teas