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During pregnancy, it is essential to monitor everything that you eat or drink. Indiscriminate consumption of food items could cause harm to the baby and affect your health too, which is why you should keep a close eye on what you eat and drink. Many food items and beverages have to be avoided during pregnancy or at least consumed in moderation. Iced tea is a wonderfully refreshing drink, but it contains caffeine and sugar, so let us verify if it is safe for consumption during pregnancy.
Packaged or bottled iced tea contains sugar in large quantities which is not recommended during pregnancy. If you have been an avid lover of iced tea all your life, pregnancy could enhance this urge further, and you will have to guard against this. Instead, you could opt for home-made iced tea with reduced sugar content, or you could add honey instead of sugar.
Levels of caffeine will vary depending on the brand and flavour of ice tea you choose. On average, one serving of iced tea contains about 12mg to 18mg of caffeine. During pregnancy, one should not exceed the caffeine intake of more than 200 mg per day. If ice tea can replace your daily fix of coffee, then it’s consumption will do you no harm as tea contains less caffeine than coffee.
Tea is one of the healthiest beverages a pregnant woman can have, albeit in moderate quantities. Let us see the various benefits iced tea offers:
1. Provides Instant Refreshment
Being pregnant during summer with the heat bothering you, not to mention the morning sickness, isn’t easy. A glassful of iced tea will help you to beat the heat and helps in keeping morning sickness at bay. Thanks to the caffeine in the drink, you will also get an instant energy boost too.
2. Contains Antioxidants
Due to the hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy, there is an increase in free radicals, and tea in any form can help in holding them. Tea contains antioxidants which are useful in the prevention of DNA damage too.
Loaded with caffeine, tea can have harmful effects on your health and that of the baby too. Here are a few harmful effects of drinking tea that you should know about.
1. Causes Miscarriage
The chances of miscarriage increase if your intake of caffeine rises during pregnancy and consuming tea in large quantities can do that. Excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to miscarriage.
2. Enhances the Possibility of Neural Tube Defects
3. Leads to Low Birth Weight
Studies have shown that the increased intake of iced tea during pregnancy can become the cause of low birth weight. It is primarily because of the high caffeine content in tea.
4. Triggers Anaemia
Pregnant women need high amounts of iron during this period and drinking tea often causes iron deficiency. An excessive amount of tea with meals reduces the amount of iron in the body, which causes anaemia in the pregnant woman. Alternatively, you can include meat and poultry in your diet to provide the necessary iron you need.
5. Causes Stillbirth
Excessive consumption of drinks and beverages that contain caffeine can be one of the causes of stillbirth. Although the desire will be high, make sure you do not consume iced tea beyond the prescribed limit when you are pregnant.
6. Causes Dehydration
You will notice that the frequency of urination increases after you drink tea, since it acts as a diuretic. It causes dehydration and you can lose essential salts and minerals that the body needs during pregnancy.
7. Leads to Loss of Sleep
Getting sound sleep in the night is one of the basic requirements of staying fresh and healthy during pregnancy. Insomnia is one of the first casualties of increasing caffeine levels in your body due to drinking iced tea, especially before you go off to sleep. Make sure you do not drink tea in any form before you end your day and this can prevent insomnia for sure.
Variants of iced tea are available in various flavours and lemon is a popular one amongst iced tea lovers. Although there is no perceived harm in drinking lemon iced tea in moderate quantities, the high sugar content in bottled iced teas can make it harmful. Lemon tea can boost antioxidants and flavones in your body, but the presence of sugar can negate this benefit to a great extent. Instead, you can brew decaffeinated tea at home and squeeze a slice of lemon into it to quench your craving.
Healthy Iced Tea Recipes
1. Lemongrass Mint Iced Tea
This refreshing drink is delicious and easy to make.
Tea Bags- 2
Lemongrass stalk- 1
Mint- 2 sprigs
Water- 4 cups
How to Make:
1. Boil the water and add the rest of the ingredients to it.
2. Remove the tea bags after five minutes, pour the mixture into a jug or bottle, and refrigerate.
3. Once chilled, pour into a glass, add 2 ice-cubes and enjoy.
2. Lemon Pomegranate Iced Tea
Another great iced tea recipe, it’s a must-try for a refreshing pick-me-up during the day.
Tea Bags- 2
Water- 5 cups
Pomegranate Pearls- 1 cup
How to Make:
1. Bring the water to a boil and add the tea bags and pomegranate pearls.
2. Remove the tea bags, pour the mixture into a jug or bottle and refrigerate overnight.
3. While serving, strain the mixture into a glass, top off with a few pomegranate pearls, and enjoy.
Thus, we can safely say that if you practice moderation and resist the desire to consume iced tea in large amounts, iced tea cannot do a lot of harm. While a refreshing glass of iced tea can do wonders to your fluctuating moods, don’t overdo it.
Also Read: Drinking Green Tea during Pregnancy