In the hot days of summer, it is easy to reach for a soda to help you cool off. However, sodas do not really quench your thirst and there are some other healthier more refreshing alternatives. One of the most refreshing ways to cool off on a hot summer day is drinking a tall glass of iced tea and what better than making it green tea?

People From the Orient have long known the benefits of drinking green tea. In fact, so important is this drink in these countries that there are special tea-drinking rituals associated with this beverage. Japan is especially famous for this.

Green tea has more of these properties than traditional black teas because of the way it is processed It goes through little or no processing (fermenting or oxidizing) which brings out the antioxidants and vitamins but will reduce the stimulant quality (caffeine) of this tea.

The best way to make green tea hot or cold is to make it with loose leaves. These are easily available in many grocery stores and most health food stores. When making iced tea it is good to steep the tea for about 20-30 minutes. You can just pour the hot water on it and let it cool slowly. Fast cooling will not allow the full taste to come out; so slow cooling at room temperature is best.

You can also make some good tea pops. Just fill an ice cube tray with green tea (cooled) and put toothpicks in each square and enjoy it when fully frozen. You can also make regular cubes of green tea to add to beverages.

If you want to spice up your tea you can add citrus peel as it steeps. Anise and chicory are also added for a change in taste. Citrus peels are especially refreshing with iced green tea. You can also add ginger as a real thirst quencher for those hot days.

However, you chose to drink your green tea it is a nice refreshing change from soda and good for your health. It will not only quench your thirst but rejuvenate you too. As our world grows smaller we are becoming more aware of different types of foods and beverages. As more research is being done on this increasingly popular drink we will see even more benefits to our health. It is recommended to drink at least 3 cups or more per day to enjoy the health-giving properties of green tea.

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