In many ways tea is a very enjoyable and healthy addition to the day. However, there are times when It can interfere with your feeling and being the fierce force of brilliance you want to be. Here are five times when tea is bad for you.
1. Drinking Tea too Hot and Frequently
When having hot tea, I prefer it to be what I’d define as hot. When having iced tea, I prefer it truly cold. Anything in between is just bleh. However, there is such a thing as too hot.
There have been multiple studies on the correlation between frequent hot tea drinking and increased incidence of esophageal cancer. Certain cultures have higher rates of this cancer than the US, where it is low. Iran and China are two countries where tea plays a huge part in daily life and includes many cups throughout the day. These countries also have a larger percentage of esophageal cancer cases.
Studies have also shown that it isn’t just tea that can increase this risk (one study showed a 90% increase in risk), but any overly hot beverage (>150℉/70 ℃). Also, it was found that tea had a protective effect against esophageal cancer when consumed at lower temperatures.
So the issue isn’t tea really, but heat and frequency. Tea is a great choice for this kind of study because of how integral it is to daily life in many cultures.
In the end: just be aware of your tea temperature before you drink it.
2. Drinking tea too late
Depending on your caffeine sensitivity, having tea too late in the day can cause caffeine induced insomnia. Science time: caffeine inhibits the natural production of adenosine, which is necessary for quality sleep. Caffeine does this by connecting to cell receptors that should be taking in adenosine, and it gets away with this because it has a similar structure. When adenosine receptors are blocked melatonin production goes down.
The half life of caffeine is generally 4-6 hours. So having tea less than 6 hours before bed may cause you to lie awake contemplating your life choices. It also may cause you tense muscles or even anxiety.
Tea most often has less caffeine per cup than coffee, unless you’re talking about matcha. Still, your sensitivity is individual. If you’ve been having any sleep difficulty, consider feeding your tea addiction earlier in the day.
3. Tea on an Empty Stomach
Again, this is a personal sensitivity issue. Have you ever known someone who could eat just about anything? If that isn't you be careful having your tea on an empty stomach. It can cause stomach cramps, digestive issues and even diarrhea.
Matcha is the worst for this, because you're consuming the entire leaf and the potency is much higher. If you are new to matcha don't have it in the traditional concentration. Try it as a latte, or at the very least, more diluted first, and not on an empty stomach.
4. Too Much Tea
They say you can never have too much of a good thing. Who said that? Even with my love for tea I know there is a ceiling.
Having something in your stomach may not buffer you from tea’s caffeine effects if you have too much of it in a short time. I speak from experience. My bandmate and I were on our way to a music festival. The traffic was heavy and my body couldn’t wait. Had to leap out of the car and run to a local drug store to use their facilities. It was a tea induced episode and I knew it. Not dangerous, just awkward.
The general medical guideline for caffeine is less than 400 mg per day. Bear in mind that doesn't take into account body weight or individual sensitivities. Listen to your unique body.
5. Tea Interacts with Some SUpplements and medications
This may seem contrary to number 3 but studies have shown tea can be problematic when had with food or supplements. Tea can inhibit the absorption of iron. It also reacts with some medications like ephedrine, theophyllene and echinacea.
Theophyllene and echinacea can increase the caffeine effect of tea. Ephedrine can heighten the risk of some conditions like high blood pressure and stroke.
Make sure to consult with your doctor if you are taking any medications, and for guidance on moderating your caffeine intake if needed.
Tea is a joyful and healthy addition to life when approached with knowledge.
Protect your health. Don’t be afraid, be as informed as you can. Listen to your magnificent machine of a body so you can enjoy your tea and life to the fullest.
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