How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

Even if you drink tea every day, you may not be brewing it properly. Don’t sweat it, however; simply read up on these simple tips for brewing the perfect cuppa.

  • For hot teas, such as black tea, you’ll want to first bring cold, filtered water to a boil to ensure the best possible taste. Add the tea bag to the cup first, and then gently pour the now-boiling water on top of it, using wide circular motions. Let the tea brew for three to five minutes, no more, and then serve with milk, sugar or by itself.
  • For large batches of iced teas, bring one quart of cold water to a rolling boil in a pot or kettle. Remove it from the stove and add eight to ten tea bags, depending on how dark you like your tea. Let it brew for three to five minutes, and then immediately pour it over a large quantity of ice cubes. You’ll also want to pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to get it completely cold.
  • For green tea, there is an entirely unique process. Because this tea is much more delicate, it can easily burn. Once the water starts boiling, you’ll want to let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool off. Then, pour it over the tea bag and let it brew for just one minute before serving.

How to Steep Hot Tea [The Republic of Tea]
Tea 101 [Teavana]
Brewing Tea [Tea Association]
Make a Perfect Brew [UK Tea & Infusions]

Healthy Recipes That’ll Curb That Chocolate Craving

Any chocoholic will tell you how difficult it can be to kick a chocolate craving. If you frequently dream about ice cream, chocolate bars, and decadent brownies (and just as frequently give into those cravings), you’ll appreciate these healthier chocolate recipes.

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Cherries [Whole Living]
The combination of chocolate and fruit is a true classic, and it tastes great in just about any pairing. This recipe uses tart cherries and rich, dark chocolate to satisfy your chocolate craving while still providing heart-healthy antioxidants and cancer preventative anthocyanins.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse [Fit Pregnancy]
It may sound strange, but the thick, creamy consistency of avocado makes a great base for an untraditional chocolate mousse. The dark cocoa inside masks the flavor of the avocado and leaves you with the chocolate-y taste that you know and love.

Chocolate Souflee [Eating Well]
These individual sized chocolate souflees help you to quiet your chocolate craving without overindulging. They also look as professional as a gourmet dessert, which makes them perfect for dinner parties.

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles [Eating Well]
Few things go together better than peanut butter and chocolate, and this recipe is a wonderful example of that fact. These truffles are incredibly easy to make, and they also incorporate a salty taste from the crunchy pretzels.

3 Health Benefits of Strength Training Exercises

Even if you don’t plan on bulking up or competing in weight lifting competitions any time soon, strength training is a crucial part of any exercise regimen. Here are three great reasons to incorporate weight training into your workouts.

  1. It promotes strong bones. Weakening bones is a concern that all people have to face as they age. The stress that strength training puts on your bones increases their density and prevents osteoporosis, keeping you strong and healthy as years pass.
  2. It helps to control your weight. While you might relate weight loss with intense cardiovascular workouts, strength training is just as important if you want to lose weight. Gaining muscle increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn calories more efficiently.
  3. It gives you more energy. Like all workouts, strength training increases your stamina and helps you to stay alert and focused. After a few weeks of regular weight lifting or body weight exercises, you’ll notice that you feel more energized throughout the day. Some scientific studies even show that years of regular strength training exercises help to sharpen your focus and keep your mind attentive as you age.

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier [Mayo Clinic]
7 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine [Everyday Health]
Benefits of Strength Training [Body Building]

No Pain, No Gain: How to Stay Motivated When Exercising

Most people start out strong when they begin a workout plan but then begin to get burned out or bored as time progresses. There are always ways to keep motivated while exercising; it just takes a bit of creativity to get back on track. Follow these simple tips for staying committed to your exercise plan.

  • Reward yourself. You're more likely to want to do something if something enjoyable comes from it, so give yourself a reward after working out. For example, tell yourself that you can have “cheat day” from your diet after you work out five days out of the week.
  • Create a schedule. Instead of just committing to your workout routine, put it onto paper. Just seeing your workout schedule written out will make you feel guilty when you can’t cross a day off the calendar.
  • Think about the effects. Instead of concentrating on the long-term effects of exercise, such as building bigger muscles or losing weight, concentrate on the immediate effects. Think of how great you feel after a workout or how nice it is to get outside and run on a sunny day and you might not be so inclined to skip a workout.
  • Work out with a friend. One of the best ways to stay motivated is by working out with a friend. You can hold each other accountable, and you’ll likely have more fun.

4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out [Daily Burn]
Fitness: Tips For Staying Motivated [Mayo Clinic]
Making a Commitment to Fitness [American Heart Association]

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