There’s a number of reasons why people turn to soda as a drink of choice. It’s a habit, it’s a sugary treat, it’s more exciting than water, or it’s a good social beverage. Unfortunately soda comes with a lot of bad baggage too, like a high sugar content, a lot of empty calories, and a stomach ache. If you want a new tasty beverage that’s both good and good for you, try cold brew hibiscus iced tea, otherwise known as Cold Brew Jamaica.
Hibiscus tea is also known as Agua de Jamaica or by its scientific plant name Hibiscus sabdariffa. This flower has been used across the globe in medicinal practices for its healthy properties. The flower is a bright and eye-pleasing pop of red. The taste is somewhat sour and bold like its appearance. When dried and transformed into a tea, the flower is both low in calories and caffeine-free.
Before we dive into the delicious benefits of hibiscus tea, let’s review why giving up soda is a good idea. There are a number of negative effects soda can have on your health and waist line. Here are a few health risks of regularly consuming soda:
People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
A 22-year-long study of 80,000 women found that those who consumed a can a day of sugary drink had a 75% higher risk of gout than women who rarely had such drinks.
Dr. Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, recently made a strong case that there is sufficient scientific evidence that decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Hibiscus iced tea is the ultimate soda swap because it boasts the benefits of hibiscus flowers without the sugary repercussions of soda pop. A few pleasantly surprising benefits of ingesting the hibiscus flower include:
Manages Blood Pressure
A report released by the American Heart Association found that consuming hibiscus flowers can lower blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. For drastic improvement it is recommended a person regularly consumes three cups of the tea every day for several week.
Drinking hibiscus tea can help lower LDL cholesterol from the body. Lowering bad cholesterol protects against heart disease and protects against the possibility of damaging blood vessels.
The antioxidative properties of hibiscus tea can help with treating liver diseases by neutralizing free radicals in the body.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial
The dried flowers of the hibiscus are rich in ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C. This essential nutrient does wonders for the immune system. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, you can help boost your immune system with hibiscus tea.
This tasty drink is also a diuretic. This helps promote regularity and can enhance gastrointestinal health by speeding up digestion.
If you want to spruce up your classic iced tea, try this Cold Brew Jamaica recipe. The mixture of sweet, spice, and citrus make for an amazing summer beverage. It’s easy to make and easier on the sugar than your average can of pop (without the added aspartame).
Makes 4 Cups
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers (about 1/2 ounce or 15 grams)
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups cold water
to 1/4 cup simple syrup
Lime wedges (optional, for serving)
Place the hibiscus and cinnamon stick in a large jar or bowl. Add water. Cover and refrigerate overnight (8 to 12 hours). Add simple syrup to taste. Strain out the solids and serve over ice with a squeeze of lime, if desired.
Store the brewed jamaica covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.