Can tea side effects be avoided? Find out what the side effects of tea are and how to deal with them.
Tea side effects revealed
“Too much of a good thing,” my mother would say. “Even something that is good for you can be bad for you.” Ice cream is delicious, but eating too much can make you fat. Red wine is packed with beneficial antioxidants, but drinking too much can destroy your liver.
Everything that we eat or drink contains components that can harm us, when we consume abnormally large amounts. Tea is like that. Teas made from loose tea leaves from the camellia sinensis plant have three chemical components that fall into that category: fluoride, caffeine, and tannin.
Tea Side Effects: Fluoride
The known side effects of excessive fluoride use are the development of brittle bones and the less serious browning of teeth. The level of fluoride required to cause these negative side effects is much higher that one would expect to drink in normal amounts of tea. If you are concerned, however, and want to ensure that your tea contains the least fluoride possible, drink green or white decaffeinated tea, and brew it using steam distilled bottled water or filtered water.
Decaffeinated teas contain more fluoride that non-decaffeinated teas. This may be caused by the fluoride level in the water used in the decaffeination process.
Finally, public tap water used for brewing the tea may add additional fluoride. If you wish to ensure that your tea contains the least fluoride possible, drink green or white non decaffeinated tea, and brew it using filtered water or steam distilled bottled water.
Tea Side Effects: Caffeine
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and can become habit forming to the point where attempts to stop consuming it can result in symptoms of withdrawal. Any beverage containing caffeine can cause sleeplessness. It acts as a diuretic, and can worsen incontinence. Caffeine is known to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Diabetics should minimize their consumption of caffeine as it increases blood sugar levels. Its use may also cause an increase in stomach acid, and can worsen ulcers.
If caffeine in tea causes you any of the above problems, consider using a decaffeinated tea.
Tea Side Effects: Tannin
Tannin is known to kill bacteria, which helps to control dental plaque. Unfortunately, it also slows the absorption of several important minerals, such as zinc, calcium, and iron. It can cause constipation, and may contribute to iron deficiency. It has been suggested that tannin (see this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannin) increases the risk of nasal and esophageal cancer.
If you are concerned about the tannin in your tea, consider adding a little milk. Milk binds the tannin, making it harmless.
What’s a Person to Do?
Many cautions about the negative side effects of teas are directed to persons with pre-existing medical conditions or family histories of disease. Some reported side effects are based upon animal studies where abnormally high doses of certain tea components are administered. Others are based upon studies of the chemical components, but not the tea itself.
People have been drinking tea for centuries, and have generally benefited from the experience. Common sense should be your guide.
If you are an alcoholic, don’t drink wine. If you are lactose intolerant, don’t drink milk. If the caffeine or tannin in tea gives you an upset stomach, try decaffeinated tea with milk. If it continues to bother you, don’t drink tea.
If you are one of the few who experience negative effects from drinking tea, then tea is a beverage that you can enjoy only occasionally. If, on the other hand, you are one of the lucky majority that drinks tea without any problem, continue to do so, and remember, “Everything in moderation.”
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