7 Sugar-Free Ways to Flavor Your Iced Tea

After water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world, research has found, and while some like it hot, the majority of Americans prefer it ice cold. Up to 80 percent of the tea consumed in the United States is chilled, according to the Tea Association of the USA (PDF).

And here’s what makes it extra refreshing: Tea is rich in antioxidants and naturally low in calories, according to the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, making it a great addition to a healthy diet. Observational studies have shown that drinking 2 to 3 cups of tea per day may help decrease the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, although more research is needed.

The only drawback is that many commercially made iced teas are sweetened, often significantly so. In fact, a 12-ounce (oz) bottle of sweetened iced tea contains a whopping 31 grams (g) of added sugar, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — nearly as much as cola. The American Heart Association recommends women get no more than 25 g and men get no more than 36 g of added sugar in a day, which means just one sweet tea places you over or close to your sugar limit for the day. It’s also worth noting that research has found bottled teas are much lower in antioxidants compared to fresh tea.

Brewing your own solves both these issues. You’ll be able to control the sweetness and know you’re getting the freshest tea, and therefore maximum amount of antioxidants that tea has to offer. In fact, the following tea recipes show you how to up the antioxidants and other nutrients in your brew and add flavor naturally with select superfoods.

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