3 Reasons How Drinking Tea Before Meals Causes Issues

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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

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

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by creating iron complexes in the stomach’s lining. Black tea has the greatest effect, blocking 79–94 percent of iron absorption. Peppermint tea hinders 84 percent, while pennyroyal blocks 73 percent.[ref]Hurrell, Richard F., Manju Reddy, and James D. Cook. “Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages.” British Journal of Nutrition 81, no. 4 (1999): 289-295.[/ref] For someone with an iron deficiency, this is significant.

2. Drinking Tea With Meals Inhibits Digestive Enzymes

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

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for energy.[ref]Amylase – blood. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.[/ref]

3. Drinking Tea With Meals Increases Stomach Acid

Drinking tea with meals increases stomach acid levels

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

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src="https://curejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Best-Teas-For-Digestion.jpg" alt="Some varieties in teas to try out for digestion" width="770" height="450" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/curejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Best-Teas-For-Digestion.jpg?w=770&ssl=1 770w, https://i1.wp.com/curejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Best-Teas-For-Digestion.jpg?resize=300%2C175&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/curejoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Best-Teas-For-Digestion.jpg?resize=768%2C449&ssl=1 768w" sizes="(max-width: 696px) 100vw, 696px" />

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

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increase pepsin, a digestive enzyme.[ref]Tagliazucchi, Davide, Elena Verzelloni, and Angela Conte. “Effect of some phenolic compounds and beverages on pepsin activity during simulated gastric digestion.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 53, no. 22 (2005): 8706-8713.[/ref] It does have some amount of caffeine, so keep this in mind if you get heartburn.

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.