8 Health Benefits of Iced Tea

Iced Tea and Mint in Glass Jar

Glasshouse Images / Getty Images

From soothing stress to providing weird minerals you didn't know you need, iced tea provides more than just a refreshing boost.

After water, tea is the most frequently consumed beverage in the world. Which makes sense; tea goes hand in hand with images of Japan, the United Kingdom, India, and China. But how about here in the United States of America? It might not seem like we have a booming tea culture, but the fact is that on any given day, about 26 percent of the American population drinks tea. But, according to the Tea Association of the U.S., 85 percent of that tea is served on the rocks.

While heavily sweetened iced tea can’t really be considered a health food, iced tea, in general, is a super salubrious quaff. Regardless of the temperature, it is served at, tea is chock full of good things. There has been much research done, and compelling conclusions that tea can reduce the risk of heart disease, and possibly even help prevent a number of others. In warmer weather, having your tea iced is a great way to reap the benefits all year.

Whether black, green, white, or oolong – all of which come from the same plant, just processed differently – all teas do a body good. Here are a few of the ways in which they do so (with the caveat that you aren’t drinking tea swimming in sugar).

1. Keeps You Hydrated

The Harvard School of Public Health lists tea as a great source of hydration. Despite the common myth that caffeine dehydrates the body, there is ample evidence that such is not the case.

2. Boosts Your Antioxidants

Everything is all about the antioxidants these days, we can’t seem to escape the heaping of accolades on these plant compounds that fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body. But if they really prove to be as beneficial as science seems to think they are, then we should be scarfing them down as frequently as possible. And on that note, some studies show that black and green tea can have more than 18 times the polyphenol antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables.

3. Offers a Superior Swap for Sugary Soda

A 12-ounce can of regular cola contains 37 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories. Twelve ounces of unsweetened iced tea has 0 teaspoons of sugar and 0 calories.

4. May Help Your Teeth

Some research has shown that drinking tea may help prevent tooth loss; tea changes the pH in your mouth, which may prevent cavities. At the very least, it appears not to harm tooth enamel like some beverages do.

5. Could Fight Cancer

The Tea Association of the USA explains that more than 3,000 published research studies exist that evaluate the role tea and tea compounds, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may play in cancers of various sites. The effects apply to a number of different cancers and are linked to varying degrees of significant success.

6. Provides a Surprising Source of Manganese

OK so maybe you don’t go around wondering how you can get more manganese in your diet, but hey, it can’t hurt. An 8-ounce glass of brewed black iced tea provides 520 micrograms of manganese, which is 29 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 23 percent for men. Manganese promotes healthy wound healing, helps maintain the strength of your bones and supports your metabolism.

7. Chills the Nerves

A British study found that people who drank tea were able to de-stress more quickly than those who didn’t. As well, during the study the tea drinkers – who drank black tea four times a day for six weeks – had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood after a stressful event, compared with a control group who drank a placebo.

8. Helps Your Heart

Research has found that people who drink green tea will have lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Additionally, a comprehensive review study found when people drink two to three cups of tea a day, they have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

You can make iced tea by brewing tea traditionally and then adding ice or allowing it to cool, or you can make sun tea. You can use any type of true tea – or herb tea. You can toss in citrus, fruits, herbs, or spices when you steep it for additional flavor. Go crazy! Mix things up; add lemon, mint, and ginger to black tea; peaches and lime to white tea; raspberries and orange slices go beautifully with Earl Gray. Have a tea free-for-all, have fun ... and reap the many benefits along the way.

View Article Sources
  1. An R, et al. “Consumption of Coffee and Tea with Add-ins in Relation to Daily Energy, Sugar, and Fat Intake in US Adults, 2001-2012.” Public Health, vol.146, 2017, pp. 1-3., doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2016.12.032

  2. Huang, Shue, et al. Tea Consumption and Longitudinal Change in High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Concentration in Chinese Adults. J Am Heart Assoc, vol. 7, 2018, doi:10.1161/JAHA.118.008814

  3. Killer, Sophie C., et al. No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS One, vol. 9, 2018, p. E84154., doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084154

  4. Understanding Antioxidants.” Harvard Medical School.

  5. Fukushima, Y, et al. “Coffee and Beverages Are The Major Contributors to Polyphenol Consumption From Food and Beverages in Japanese Middle-Aged Women.” J Nutr Sci, vol. 3, 2014, p. e48., doi:10.1017/jns.2014.19

  6. Beverages, Carbonated, Cola, Regular.” U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central.

  7. Tea, iced, bottled, black, unsweetened.” U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central.

  8. Goenka, Puneet, et al. Camellia sinensis (Tea): Implications and Role in Preventing Dental Decay. Pharmacogn Rev, vol. 7, 2013, pp. 152–156., doi:10.4103/0973-7847.120515

  9. Hope, S.J., et al. “Influence of Tea Drinking on Manganese Intake, Manganese Status and Leucocyte Expression of MnSOD and Cytosolic Aminopeptidase.” P. Eur J Clin Nutr, vol. 60, 2006, pp. 1-8., doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602260

  10. "Manganese." National Institutes of Health.

  11. Manganese.” University of Rochester Medical Center.

  12. Steptoe, Andrew, et al. The Effects of Tea on Psychophysiological Stress Responsivity and Post-Stress Recovery: A Randomised Double-Blind Trial. Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 190, 2007, pp. 81-9.,  doi:10.1007/s00213-006-0573-2

  13. Onakpoya, I, et al. “The Effect of Green Tea on Blood Pressure and Lipid Profile: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, vol. 24, 2014, pp. 823-36.,  doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2014.01.016

  14. Yi, Mengshi, et al. "Tea Consumption and Health Outcomes: Umbrella Review of Meta-Analyses of Observational Studies in Humans." Mol Nutr Food Res, vol. 63, 2019, p: e1900389.,  doi:10.1002/mnfr.201900389