On a hot summer day, there are few things more satisfying than a nice cold glass of iced tea. Who’d think that a little sugar, a lot of ice, and steeped tea could work wonders for your thirst? But did you know that drinking an excessive amount of iced tea might just be too much of a good thing?
Recently, a man began experiencing health problems after consuming 16 glasses—about one gallon—of iced tea a day on a regular basis. As it turns out, drinking too much iced tea can be hazardous to your health in several ways.
That said, this refreshing beverage has some great added health benefits, too, so long as it’s enjoyed in moderation and without too much added sugar. Here are seven pros—and five cons—to drinking iced tea. You might be surprised by what you learn!
Con #1. Kidney stones
Excessive amounts of black tea can cause kidney stones or even complete kidney failure.
Con #2. Diabetes
Some iced teas are loaded with sweetener, making them no less healthy than sugary sodas. Consider drinking unsweetened iced tea; if you must drink it sweet, use natural products instead.
Con #3. Obesity
Most popular brands of iced tea contain at least 250 calories per serving and are loaded with even more sugar than most sodas. So if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking too much iced tea can actually have the opposite effect.
Con #4. Stroke
Sweetened tea increases your sugar intake, which elevates your triglyceride levels. This puts people who consume too much iced tea at a much higher risk for stroke.
Con #5. Cardiovascular disease
Black tea is full of caffeine, which can worsen symptoms for anyone with high blood pressure or a rapid heart rate. In some patients, these stimulants may even trigger a heart arrhythmia.
Pro #1. Better skin
Natural, unsweetened tea is loaded with antioxidants, which slow the aging process and keep your skin looking younger.
Pro #2. Lower blood pressure
Hibiscus tea can significantly bring down high blood pressure. Try replacing your standard black tea for hibiscus instead.
Pro #3. Stronger bones
A limited amount of caffeine can build and strengthen bones, particularly in women at high risk for osteoporosis.
Pro #4. Cavity prevention
Green and black teas prevent plaque build-up and in your teeth and help fight bacteria, particularly right after you’ve enjoyed a sugary treat. (Just make sure the tea is unsweetened!)
Pro #5. Lower risk of lung cancer
Research shows that iced tea may help prevent lung cancer because it contains flavonoids that target the body’s free radicals, destroying them before they can do any damage. Another study suggests that a cup or more of green tea daily may counteract the effect of smoking in those at risk for lung cancer.
Pro #6. Alertness
Iced tea is a great way to stay mentally alert, thanks in part to the caffeine energy boost!
Pro #7. Lower risk of heart attack
A moderate amount of unsweetened iced tea can reduce your chance of having a second heart attack, due to the same flavonoids that guard against lung cancer.
The takeaway? Iced tea is great for you, so long as you keep an eye on the amount of added sugar in every glass. So continue to enjoy your favorite summer drink! Just make sure you don’t overdo it. Your body will thank you for it!
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