I love herbal teas – in summer and in winter!
Iced tea is a great summer drink for the whole family and is an easy way to provide you with polyphenols and therefore antioxidants. Be aware that bought iced teas contain high amounts of sugar and less polyphenols. I recommend that you make your own – find the recipe for my healthy iced tea (using green tea) below. But first some facts about green tea:
Green tea consumption has been linked to many health benefits – such as the prevention of cancer, reduced risk of many chronic diseases including heart problems, improved concentration, protection from the flu and other viruses, increased bone mineral density (thus protects against risks of hip fractures), reduced risk of kidney stone formation and to aid with weight loss.
Green tea has a small amount of caffeine and can can give you a "lift", without the edginess that sometimes accompanies a cup of coffee. To avoid being too alert and having sleep problems, I recommend not to drink green tea after 2pm. Pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as patients suffering from heart conditions should drink no more than one or two cups per day, because caffeine can cause an increase in heart rhythm.
Please also be aware that the tannins found in green tea provide antioxidants, but can also bind to iron and thus reduce iron absorption from food. Therefore, drink the tea 2 hours away from your meals- and also away from medication to avoid interference.
Choose organic, whole, unbroken leaves instead of tea bags, as bags are often made from low tea grades and have lost most of their essential oils and aroma. If you use bags opt for larger ones shaped like pyramids, which give the leaves more room to bloom.
Serves 6 to 8
6 cups water
approx. 6-10 teaspoons of loose green tea* or 3 to 6 bags green tea (depending on how strong you like your tea)
1/2 cup mint leaves, plus extra to serve
Juice of half a lemon
Optional: to sweeten your tea, add some xylitol, stevia or organic honey
In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the tea and mint leaves. Cover the pot and steep for a approx. 2-4 minutes (if you steep for too long, your tea might become bitter).
Strain the brewed tea; separating the liquid from the tea & mint leaves.
Mix in the juice from half of the lemon into the tea - The citric acid and vitamin C in that squeeze of lemon - or lime or orange - help preserve the flavonoids.
Transfer to a pitcher and cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
For a variation, you can also use fruit - such as raspberries or peaches - instead of the mint leaves.
! To avoid being too alert and having sleep problems, do not drink after 2pm. Pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as patients suffering from heart conditions should drink no more than one or two cups per day, because caffeine can cause an increase in heart rhythm.
! Drink the tea 2 hours away from your meals and from medication.