Side Effects of Tea : When we think of the world’s favourite beverage, our mind may go straight to coffee. However, tea is actually the cheapest and most widely consumed beverage in the world. Research shows that the list of benefits of drinking tea is extensive, with results such as reduced inflammation, reduced risk of heart disease and chronic disease, lower blood sugar, and many more.
While tea is such a popular choice for comfort and healing, it doesn’t come without some potential downsides. Read on to find out what science says about the possible negative effects of drinking tea, and for more, don’t miss the 6 Best Teas for Slowing Ageing, Nutritionists Say.
Side effects of tea
1. You can disrupt your body’s natural rhythm
Depending on the tea you choose, you may be consuming more caffeine than you realise. Black, white, and green teas average 14-61 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Although it’s not as much as a cup of coffee (about 96 milligrams per cup), it still has the potential to throw our body’s natural circadian rhythm out of balance.
Our circadian system is another way of expressing the rhythm our body follows during the 24 hours, including when we are awake and asleep. Our rhythm can be thrown out of balance by things like light, stress, work and caffeine. It’s important to maintain our natural rhythm because it helps us feel more alert during the day, sleep better at night, and maintain better overall health.
And research shows that a persistently disrupted circadian system can lead to cardiovascular problems, mental health problems, weight gain, and a weakened immune system. So the next time you go for a nice night tea, try swapping green tea for herbal tea!
2. You may increase your risk of esophageal cancer
This may come as a surprise, but drinking hot tea has actually been linked to squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus (or esophageal cancer). In a study focused on the population of northern Iran, it was found that drinking large amounts of hot black tea is one of the main causes of esophageal cancer. Other studies have found similar results, noting that both hot coffee and hot tea are known to cause permanent damage to the oesophagus.
Scientists are still trying to find an exact explanation for this, but many studies believe it has to do with the internal temperature of our oesophagus. Maybe it’s time to try iced tea for summer!
3. You can lower your iron levels
Tea can have amazing health benefits, but studies show that people with anaemia or any other type of iron deficiency may want to think twice. According to the Food Science and Nutrition study, both black and green tea have been shown to reduce the bioavailability of iron by up to 94%. The bioavailability of something we consume is important because it is a measure of how much of a nutrient our body absorbs.
A report in Current Developments in Nutrition states that tannins found in tea may be to blame for changes in the body’s absorption of iron. Tannins are a natural compound found in some teas, wine and chocolate, and have been shown to reduce the bioavailability of iron after regular consumption. When your iron levels are low, you may experience things like exhaustion, restlessness, dry skin, and headaches.
4. You may need to use the bathroom more often
Black and green teas are considered diuretics, which are substances that lead to frequent urination. This happens because diuretics naturally increase the level of sodium in the kidneys, which the body naturally excretes along with water. Although tea is sometimes prescribed for people who retain too much water, it can often lead to dehydration in someone who does not struggle with water retention.
According to a report in The Pharma Innovation Journal, the diuretic nature of green and black tea can lead to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. This can then cause things like lethargy, an increased or irregular heart rate, and intense headaches.
5. You may experience constipation
Among the many natural compounds found in tea, theophylline is a common substance to be aware of. This compound is found in both coffee and tea and is sometimes used to smooth the airway muscles in asthma patients. Although it has its respiratory benefits, it can also cause mild but unpleasant Side Effects of Tea.
According to a report by the Internal Agency for Cancer Research, consumption of theophylline from tea can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances. Other sources also state that theophylline is known to cause constipation and nausea. So if you’re someone who already has stomach issues from time to time, you might want to watch how your favourite cup of tea affects your bathroom habits.