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Why too much tea is bad for you

Posted on 19 November 2015

            Tea has many health benefits and is widely known to help detox your body. Tea can help the prevention of clogged arteries, heart disease and cancer. It can help reduce high cholesterol and promote a stronger immune system. Some teas also help increase your metabolism and reduce bloating. Not to mention, drinking tea in the morning or on a cold day can be very comforting. However, tea should be had in moderation just like everything else, as drinking too much tea can have negative effects. Here are some reasons why drinking too much tea can be bad for you.

 

Drinking too much tea can lead to mineral deficiencies.

 

            It is often thought that caffeine absorbs the minerals from your digestive system, causing a deficiency in your body. This is, however, a misconception because it is actually the tannins (a yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substance present in some galls, barks, and other plant tissues that leaves you experiencing a dried-out feelings in your mouth) that “steals” the minerals from your system. Fresh leaf tea contains the most tannins compared to processed teas. For example black tea and green tea, both have very high levels of tannins, while herbal teas, such as Darjeeling, contain much lower levels of tannin.

            When drinking tea, tannins attach themselves to iron molecules, which means that most of them will pass through your body undigested and therefore, won’t become absorbed in your body. That being said, this only occurs with iron found in vegetables, as tannins do not affect the type of iron that is found in meat and protein. It should be noted that this only applies to vegetarian and vegan sources of iron, as the type of iron that is found in meat is unaffected by tannins. If you are not sure whether you are experiencing an iron deficiency, then here is a list of symptoms you can refer to. This can help determine whether you need to adjust your tea in take:

    ▪      Fatigue, low on energy

    ▪      Rapid or inconsistent heart rate with exercise

    ▪      Restless legs syndrome and/or leg cramps

    ▪      Dizziness, nausea

    ▪       Difficulty concentrating

    ▪      Insomnia

 

            If you are feeling any of these symptoms for an extended period of time, try drinking less tea and see your general physician if your condition does not improve. Unless you consult with your doctor, it is not recommended that you supplement your deficiency with iron pills. There are countless iron-rich foods you can choose from, such as, spinach, red meat, seafood, beans, fish, chicken, etc. These can help balance out your minor iron deficiencies.

 

            Calcium is another mineral that is important for our bodies, as it is needed to maintain and build out bones. Our bodies need both iron and calcium, but it is important to consume them separately. This is because calcium interferes in iron absorption by the body. In addition, the tannins in tea will prevent the body from absorbing calcium as well. Symptoms of calcium deficiency are immediately noticeable so stay aware of:

    ▪      Insomnia

    ▪      Anxiety

    ▪      Lack of energy

    ▪      Weakened immune system

    ▪      Muscle cramps/aches/pains

    ▪      Tingling hands/feet/lips

Here are some severe symptoms of calcium deficiency that develop over time and should be taken seriously:

 

    ▪      Weak, brittle bones and teeth

    ▪      High blood pressure

    ▪      Miscarriages

    ▪      Death, in worst case conditions

 

Some teas contain too much fluoride.

 

            Fluoride is often added to our water supply and is also said to improve dental health. There is, however, some research that suggests that consumption of too much fluoride could be harmful. More than 4 mg of fluoride consumption per day can contribute to bone decay and muscle problems. A UK study found that many supermarket black tea brands (such as Asida, Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s) contain 75 to 120 percent of your daily “recommended” intake of fluoride. Unfortunately, companies are not required to disclose fluoride levels on the nutrition label and so there is difficult for us common people to determine how much fluoride is in the tea that we drink.

 

Too much tea can lead to numerous kidney problems.

 

            Drinking too much tea, whether it’s just iced tea or hot tea, can lead to constant build up of kidney stones or even worse…kidney failure. This is caused by an excessive amount of oxalate which is found in many foods and can also stem from juicing as well as consuming foods with a lot of ascorbic acid, such as beets and spinach. One or two cups of tea a day won’t harm your kidneys, however, regularly consuming three of four times this much can cause you to have repeat kidney stones which are very painful and if it happens too often it can damage your kidneys.

 

            The moral of this story is that you should eat and drink everything in moderation. Too much of anything and everything can be harmful to you, some more than others. Many things are healthy and beneficial in small and moderate amounts, but you should never overdo it.

 

 

Erika Alexandra

@erika_alexandra

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