Why runners should drink more tea and avoid coffee

I found out sun tea isn’t even a thing but then found out these teas help runners recover instead – thanks ChatGPT.

I read this blog from Seth Godin about sun tea.

Short summary TLDR – The photos of the sunlight don’t make the tea activate – it’s actually just the tea sitting in water… any temperature water at that. Cold is just safer in general because bacteria can grow, esp if it sits out in the sun for hours on end.

So wait, tea doesn’t need to be in hot water?! WHAT!!! My whole life I’ve been lied to and I asked it aobu tthe difference.

And, in my curious ADHD nature and being a hardcore tea lover for the taste I went hard and wanted to know more. Enter ChatGPT.

Side bar – Tea is a great alternate to juice/soda/coffee. While I don’t drink coffee because my body can’t process it, I love it and wish I could.

“Yes, tea can steep in warm water as well as in cold water. The temperature of the water affects the steeping time and the flavor profile of the tea. Here’s a comparison of steeping tea in warm water versus cold water:

Warm Water Steeping

  • Temperature: Typically around 90-110°F (32-43°C)
  • Steeping Time: 10-20 minutes
  • Flavor Profile: A more balanced and smoother flavor than hot water, with less bitterness. Warm water extracts flavors more gently than hot water.
  • Best For: Delicate teas like green tea, white tea, and some herbal teas.

Cold Water Steeping (Cold Brew)

  • Temperature: Cold or room temperature water
  • Steeping Time: 6-12 hours
  • Flavor Profile: Very smooth, less bitter, and less astringent than hot or warm water steeping. Cold brewing often brings out sweeter, more subtle flavors.
  • Best For: All types of tea, particularly black tea, green tea, and herbal teas.

Hot Water Steeping

  • Temperature: Typically around 160-212°F (70-100°C), depending on the type of tea
  • Steeping Time: 2-7 minutes
  • Flavor Profile: Strong and full-bodied, but can become bitter or astringent if over-steeped.
  • Best For: Black tea, oolong tea, and robust herbal teas.

Comparison Summary

  • Warm Water: Faster than cold brewing, more gentle than hot brewing. Ideal for those who want a quick yet smooth cup of tea without the bitterness.
  • Cold Water: Takes the longest but yields a very smooth, sweet, and less astringent tea. Great for preparing large batches and iced tea.
  • Hot Water: Fastest method, but requires careful timing to avoid bitterness. Best for those who prefer a strong, robust flavor.

Each method has its own benefits, so the choice depends on your preference for flavor and the time you have available.”

So, I then asked it

‘how long does it take for tea to steep in cold water vs hot water’

ChatGPT responded with:

“Steeping time for tea varies significantly between cold and hot water. Here are the general guidelines:

  1. Hot Water Steeping:
    • Black Tea: 3-5 minutes
    • Green Tea: 2-3 minutes
    • Herbal Tea: 5-7 minutes
    • Oolong Tea: 4-7 minutes
    • White Tea: 4-5 minutes
  2. Cold Water Steeping (Cold Brew):
    • All Types of Tea: 6-12 hours

In hot water, tea leaves release their flavors and compounds quickly, so the steeping time is short. Cold water extraction is slower, requiring several hours to achieve a full flavor profile, but it often results in a smoother, less bitter taste.

For cold brewing, place tea leaves or tea bags in cold water and refrigerate for the steeping duration. This method is great for making large batches and enjoying iced tea without the need to heat and then cool the beverage.”

Then i asked it for a list of teas, herbal/decaf, coffee, etc. and see anti oxidant levels as that helps with recovery (According to research) and overall health/longevity

Spoiler – THAT’S WHY COFFEE IS SO HEALTHY!!! Antioxidant rich. BUT… the caffeine actually compromises sleep quality, which is a convo for another day, but I’m super interested in how high it ranks on the antioxidant level.

Tea TypeAntioxidant Level (0-100)
Hibiscus Tea85
Rosehip Tea80
Yerba Mate75
Green Tea70
Rooibos Tea70
Chai Tea65
Dandelion Tea65
Lemongrass Tea60
Black Tea60
Ginger Tea55
Lemon Balm Tea50
Nettle Tea45
Chamomile Tea40
Lavender Tea35
Decaf Black Tea30
Peppermint Tea30
Echinacea Tea25

Hey ChatGPT, last question: So how do antioxidants help runners?

  • Reduce Oxidative Stress: Running produces free radicals that cause cell damage. Antioxidants neutralize these, cutting down oxidative stress.
  • Improve Recovery: They help repair muscle tissue, reduce soreness, and have anti-inflammatory effects to speed up recovery.
  • Boost Immune Function: Intense exercise can hit your immune system. Antioxidants keep it strong, reducing illness risk.
  • Enhance Endurance: They boost mitochondrial efficiency for better energy and delay fatigue.
  • Protect Heart Health: Antioxidants support your cardiovascular system, help maintain blood pressure, and keep cholesterol in check.

Moral of the story – Drink more tea. Decaf if you can, which can help your sleep.

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