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“He, Qiang, Yuanping Lv, and Kai Yao. “Effects of tea polyphenols on the activities of α-amylase, pepsin, trypsin and lipase.” Food Chemistry 101, no. 3 (2007): 1178-1182./ref] This makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients. For example, carbohydrate digestion isn’t possible…”
There’s nothing like enjoying a meal with a hot cup of tea. But is it the best idea? Many people doubt whether or not this is a healthy habit. They might be onto something. While tea is healthy and delicious, its active compounds may work against you. The type of tea matters, too.
Does this mean tea is bad news? Of course not. Drinking tea promotes saliva production, a crucial step of eating. It might even prevent dry mouth.[ref]Dry Mouth. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.[/ref] Tea can also help you stay hydrated, even though plain water is always best. Yet, like all good things, this delicious drink also has its drawbacks.
Effects Of Drinking Tea With Meals
1. Drinking Tea With Meals Prevents Iron Absorption
Tea is known for its antioxidative polyphenols. However, if you have an iron deficiency, go easy on the tea. Polyphenols can actually block absorption
2. Drinking Tea With Meals Inhibits Digestive Enzymes
Polyphenols can also denature digestive enzymes, with alpha-amylase, pepsin, trypsin, and lipase being the most affected. They do this by binding with protein, a process that “turns off” enzymes.[ref]He, Qiang, Yuanping Lv, and Kai Yao. “Effects of tea polyphenols on the activities of α-amylase, pepsin, trypsin and lipase.” Food Chemistry 101, no. 3 (2007): 1178-1182./ref] This makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients. For example, carbohydrate digestion isn’t possible without amylase, an enzyme that turns starches into sugars, which is needed
3. Drinking Tea With Meals Increases Stomach Acid
Are you prone to heartburn? Avoid caffeinated tea, especially while eating. The caffeine increases stomach acid. When there’s too much, it’ll easily backflow into the esophagus, causing irritation and heartburn. Additional symptoms include chest pain, dry cough, hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. It’s also common to get a sour taste or fluid in the mouth. Sometimes, it might be difficult to breathe while lying down.[ref] GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The Ohio State University.[/ref]
These habits can make eating extremely uncomfortable. To enjoy tea with your meals, consider herbal tea. There won’t be a risk of heartburn since it doesn’t have caffeine. At the same time, avoid other common triggers like coffee and alcohol. Both drinks are notorious for causing heartburn.
Best Teas For Digestion
Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world.[ref]Healthy Beverage Guidelines. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.[/ref] But with so many kinds, it’s important to pick wisely. If you want to drink tea while eating, pick ones that aid digestion.
Ginger is a top choice, thanks to compounds called gingerols and shogoals.[ref]Semwal, Ruchi Badoni, Deepak Kumar Semwal, Sandra Combrinck, and Alvaro M. Viljoen. “Gingerols and shogaols: important nutraceutical principles from ginger.” Phytochemistry 117 (2015): 554-568.[/ref] Peppermint, burdock, and chamomile teas will also relax the intestinal muscles, helping ease indigestion and gas.[ref]Peppermint. University of Maryland Medical Center.[/ref] [ref]Burdock. University of Maryland Medical Center.[/ref] [ref]Chamomile. University of Maryland Medical Center.[/ref] If you’re not a fan of herbal teas, drink green tea. It contains polyphenols that
You can still enjoy other teas. It’s all about timing! To avoid blocking absorption, drink them in between meals. This will give your body time to soak up the good stuff.