Healthier Ice Cubes

November 8, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

One of the keys to improving your diet is looking for practical ways to increase your intake of health promoting nutrients and phytochemicals. Ice cubes may seem like an unlikely way to further this cause, but that all depends on what you use to make ice cubes. By using coconut water or ginger and hibiscus tea, you can transform conventional ice cubes into flavorful and healthful additions to common beverages such as lemonade and mineral water.

According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, upwards of 12% of children and 24% of adults regularly consume low or no-calorie drinks. This emerging trend may be helping to lower the overall intake of sugar sweetened beverages. However, the long term implications of drinking more artificially sweetened drinks and sodas is uncertain at best. What is clear is that this current shift in refined beverage options doesn’t add any antioxidant or nutrient density to the average diet.

A delicious, inexpensive and nutritious alternative to diet drinks and sodas is the use of naturally flavored ice cubes. Typically, ice cubes are obviously made of water. Having said that, in our household, we frequently make ice cubes from coconut water, ginger tea and hibiscus tea. Apart from the taste component, coconut water is an excellent source of potassium – an essential electrolyte which is commonly deficient in modern diets. Ginger tea is a potent, medicinal ingredient that combats inflammation and has recently been shown to improve arthritic symptoms, lung function and menopausal complaints. Last, but not least, is hibiscus tea. This brilliant, redish tea is a valuable source of antioxidants that addresses primary risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

When making ice cubes, it’s advisable to use filtered water, organic herbal teas and pure (unsweetened) coconut water. In addition, I suggest ice cube trays which are certified BPA-free. In our home, we add these and other flavored ice cubes to iced tea, homemade lemonade and sparkling mineral water. If more sweetness is desired, try adding some liquid monk fruit or stevia extract to the tea before filling the ice cube tray. Enjoy!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Low-Calorie Sweetener Consumption is Increasing in the United States (link)

Study 2 - Comparison of Coconut Water and a Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Sport (link)

Study 3 - The Chemical Composition and Biological Properties of Coconut Water(link)

Study 4 - The Control of Hypertension by Use of Coconut Water and Mauby (link)

Study 5 - Effect of Enteral Feeding w/ Ginger Extract in Acute Respiratory (link)

Study 6 - Influence of a Specific Ginger Combination on Gastropathy Conditions (link)

Study 7 - Effect of Zingiber Officinale Rhizomes (Ginger) on Pain Relief in Primary (link)

Study 8 - Hibiscus Sabdariffa Linnaeus (Malvaceae), Curcumin and Resveratrol as (link)

Study 9 - Consumption of Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Aqueous Extract and its Impact (link)

Study 10 - Therapeutic Use Hibiscus Sabadariffa Extract in the Treatment of (link)

Hibiscus Tea May Help Manage Hypertension

Source: J Nutr. 2010 Feb;140(2):298-303. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition

4 Comments & Updates to “Healthier Ice Cubes”

  1. JD Says:

    This would have been nice to read this past summer!

  2. rob Says:

    My thoughts exactly JD, ill have remember this in 8 months, lol, thanks

  3. JP Says:


    There are two hemispheres! ;-)

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Update: Adding liquid stevia extract to your hibiscus ice cubes may be a good idea …

    Food Chem. 2015 Apr 1;172:885-92.

    Effect of stevia and citric acid on the stability of phenolic compounds and in vitro antioxidant and antidiabetic capacity of a roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) beverage.

    Plant infusions are consumed due to their beneficial effects on health, which is attributed to their bioactive compounds content. However, these compounds are susceptible to degradation during processing and storage. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of stevia and citric acid on the stability of phenolic compounds, antioxidant capacity and carbohydrate-hydrolysing enzyme inhibitory activity of roselle beverages during storage. The optimum extraction conditions of roselle polyphenolic compounds was of 95 °C/60 min, which was obtained by a second order experimental design. The incorporation of stevia increased the stability of colour and some polyphenols, such as quercetin, gallic acid and rosmarinic acid, during storage. In addition, stevia decreased the loss of ABTS, DPPH scavenging activity and α-amylase inhibitory capacity, whereas the incorporation of citric acid showed no effect. These results may contribute to the improvement of technological processes for the elaboration of hypocaloric and functional beverages.

    Be well!


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