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.
This is not a sponsored post
Sometimes it's the adventure that calls, and other times it's the chill. Steeping tea is relaxing to me both to do and to watch. It calms my mind and my body and I hope it will do the same for you. This session is without music, along the lines of ambient and ASMR experiences it is just the sounds of the tea making, the water, the room the movement.
I am steeping a milk oolong here. It isn't a super high quality one so I only did four rounds in this gongfu inspired session. The creaminess disappeared quickly, but gave way to the feeling of a beach at the ocean with the salt water flowing over slate. The leaves did a beautiful unfurling in the water. Enjoy.
This is not a sponsored post
My intent is for Tea Deviant to be a positive place to inspire curiosity and have fun while exploring, but I can’t ignore the proverbial elephant in the room. Considering COVID-19 still has a daily impact on our lives and a study on tea and the virus in vitro has been done I feel it’s worth sharing and hope you do too. I’m not interested in fake news. This is not about a definitive cure. It's about studies that show the potential for compounds found in tea to be helpful against the virus and staying informed.
In November 2020 Nara University in Japan conducted a study on the effect of catechins in black and green teas on COVID-19 in vitro. Various teas were used with the most effective being black tea brewed from tea leaves. The study showed that when that black tea was introduced to coronaviruses it reduced their ability to infect by 99% after one minute and 99.9% after 10 minutes.
I first saw news of this study on the Japanese Greentea Co website. I did some further searches, but could not find an abstract though I did find other articles:
“Nara University study finds some common teas can neutralize COVID-19”
“Detoxify the New Corona with Tea…”
Human beings are more complex than a petri dish in a controlled environment for sure. Still, this study combined with others on tea and COVID-19 along with tea and other illnesses have me thinking there is something to this idea.
Other Tea and COVID-19 Studies
Before the Japan study, in July 2020 the National Institute of Health released info on studies that focused on 2 tea polyphenols: EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) derived from green tea and theaflavins from black tea. In short, they found both to be worth studying more as they are bioactive with the ability to support physical health in multiple ways . Here is an excerpt :
“Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of the most abundant polyphenolic catechin found in Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea plant), especially in green tea. EGCG has been tested for its antiviral activity against several viruses and found to be a potential treatment option over synthetic chemical drugs. It is recognized as a multi-functional bioactive molecule exhibiting antitumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidative, and antiproliferative properties in addition to its antiviral effects (Chacko et al., 2010). Theaflavins (TFs) are another class of polyphenols found in abundance in black tea. The TF derivatives found majorly in black tea are theaflavin (TF1), theaflavin-3-gallate (TF2A), theaflavin-3′-gallate (TF2B), and theaflavin-3,3′-digallate (TF3). All these TFs are being researched for their bioactive properties and are known for their broad-spectrum biological properties, like anti-tumor, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-bacterial properties. Since EGCG and TFs are of natural sources and consumed regularly by a majority of the population, investigating the anti-viral properties of these polyphenols against COVID-19 could be an advancement in finding a treatment to this latest pandemic.”
EGCG would not appear to be effective taken orally though:
“However, EGCG is unstable and when consumed orally has low bioavailability. It tends to get oxidized quite easily before it reaches the target. Hence, many studies have suggested structural derivatives of EGCG to enhance its bioavailability.”
Tea Fights the Common Cold and the Flu
In previous studies tea catechins have been found effective against other viruses including influenza and the common cold. They showed antiviral capability and immune support. References to studies done since the 90s indicate that drinking green tea with consistency reduces the chance of flu.
I think tea just feels good too, and feeling good has also been linked to higher immunity.
Does the addition of milk affect the benefits of these powerful tea compounds? I found this scientific review from 2015 that covered various studies on the effect of milk (even non-dairy) on the beneficial properties of tea. The studies referenced resulted in wide ranging results thought to be caused by variables like type of tea, brewing method, type of milk and ratio of tea to milk. Even though some studies indicated a positive effect, overall the review stated that milk in tea was more likely to have a masking or negative effect.
This article from Food Chemistry details that though regular sweeteners like sugar had a negative effect on antioxidants in tea, stevia did not. I am not ready to give up my raw honey in my morning tea, but I am happy to have my tea au naturel during the day. How about you?
Whether it’s the taste of your tea, the ritual of it, or the relationships forged over it I hope it brings you joy. We need every ounce of that to come out on the other side of this viral war intact.
Here are some more sources if you want to dig deeper:
"Green Tea" - Mount Sinai
"Research Suggests Black Tea Inhibits COVID-19"
Covid-19 took my Mom this week. I know I am just one of many thousands dealing with this, but for those who aren’t I wanted you to know why there’s been radio silence on the blog and socials. Tea Deviant was always meant as a place of fun and discovery and a step away from the pressures of life. It will be that again, but it has been hard to create that content during this time.
The hardest part of this is that she was in a medical facility prior to covid for other health issues and during all of this time she was not allowed visitors. 10 months. My sister got to see her through a window once. I know she knows she is loved, but I hate to think of her enduring all this without direct connection with family and friends. I am grateful to all of the PAs, nurses and aides, many of whom were kind and loving toward her. I don’t believe death is a full end, but I do believe grief is a process that I need to get through.
I look forward to coming back with more tea adventures, a few which are already in the works. One will virtually take me overseas. Until then, to all who have lost friends, family, jobs, homes, and many other things important to the joy of living I wish you strength and peace.
Here is a link to a previous post with grief management resources should you need them:
Tea, Grief and Mental Health
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