A Thirst Quencher With Diabetes Related Health Benefits

Iced tea is one of America's most popular hot weather beverages, and June is National Iced Tea Month.

Although cold tea recipes are found in a few pre-Civil War cookbooks, tea lore has it that iced tea became popular in the U.S. following the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

The director of the fair’s East India pavilion, Richard Blechynden, had little luck selling hot tea in Missouri’s sultry weather so he circulated his tea through pipes immersed in ice. Fairgoers appreciated the cooling beverage, and its popularity spread.

Health Benefits

Besides quenching our thirst for well over a century, tea provides several diabetes-related health benefits such as:

  • Improving insulin sensitivity.
  • Reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Maintaining healthy blood pressure.

The diminished risk of diabetes may be owed to the polyphenols in teas such as black, green, and oolong (when consumed without added milk or cream). The anti-oxidative property of polyphenols protects against the inflammation associated diabetes onset. A 2009 study found that drinking at least three cups of black tea per day substantially reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attack.

Safely Sweet

Many of us prefer our iced tea sweetened, which is an issue for those trying to control their daily glucose levels. A natural way to get around this is embellishing iced tea with stevia, a sweet tasting herb that does not elevate blood sugar.

Just one teaspoon of stevia powdered extract, or one teaspoon of stevia liquid concentrate has the sweetening power of one cup regular sugar. A pinch of the powder, or 2 to 4 drops of the liquid concentrate equals a teaspoon of sugar.

You might try stevia in this refreshing iced tea favorite popularized by golfer Arnold Palmer.

Golfer’s Iced Green-and-Black Tea

You will need:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 (.05 ounce) bags black tea
  • 2 (.05 ounce) bags green tea
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons stevia powder extract, or stevia liquid concentrate
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • optional: fresh mint

Preparation:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Add tea bags to the water; cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags.
  3. Add the sugar, whisking until dissolved. Whisk-in the lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least a couple hours; serve over ice.

If desired, garnish the tea with fresh mint.

Tea Time Magazine; Diabetes UK; Stevia
Photo credit:liz west

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