A cup of green tea is seen as your best friend these days. With antioxidants (especially catechins) in it that stimulate weight loss, everybody these days is on the mission of ‘sipping green tea’. Which is good, considering milk-based tea doesn’t suit those down with lactose intolerance. But at the same time, let us not skip knowing the green tea side effects.
Hope you know the multiple benefits of green tea. It improves mental alertness and thinking, fights weight loss and helps to treat disorders of the stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, skin damage.
Green tea bags when applied on the skin soothe sunburn and prevent skin cancer due to sun exposure. They also help decrease puffiness under the eyes, can be used as a compress for tired eyes, and help prevent cold and flu when used as a mouth gargle. With so much positivity about green tea, it is worth knowing the side effects of it.
Does Green Tea have Side Effects?
Every food and nutrition item is fine when taken in moderate qty. But excess of it can lead to side effects. That leaves us wondering – is green tea good or bad?
The citation from webmd.com will give you a better perspective about green tea:
“Green tea is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth long-term or in high-doses. It can cause side effects because of the caffeine. These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion. Green tea seems to reduce the absorption of iron from food. Drinking very high doses of green tea is LIKELY UNSAFE and can actually be fatal. The fatal dose of caffeine in green tea is estimated to be 10-14 grams (150-200 mg per kilogram). Serious toxicity can occur at lower doses.”
Scared? Let us read more about the green tea side effects on health, hair, skin etc. and accordingly take a call.
Side Effects of Green Tea:
Before I list them out in detail, let’s see what well-known nutritionists on food.ndtv.com have to say about the green tea disadvantages.
Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood says “excess of green tea can dehydrate your body. Hence I wouldn’t recommend more than three cups a day.”
According to Delhi-based Nutritionist Lokendra Tomar “Drinking excess amount of green tea increases acid in stomach due to high caffeine content. So drinking more than three cups of green tea can cause acidity, bloating, or acid reflux. Consuming excess green tea can also cause mineral deficiency, as it contains tannin that binds minerals like iron and further hinders its absorption in the body.”
Now that we have two schools of thought on green tea consumption, let us get into the skin of green tea side effects.
1. Caffeine Overdose:
Green tea, like any other tea for that matter, consists of caffeine. If you drink excess of caffeine, it can precipitate whole lot of health problems such as headache, heartburn, sleep disorders, anxiety, and irritability among others. Stick to taking not more than 2 or 3 cups of green day a day.
2. Stomach Upset:
Drink green tea on an empty stomach and you will land up with stomach problems. Tannins which are polyphenols in green tea increase stomach acid, which further causes stomach ache, a feeling of nausea, burning sensation, or constipation. The best way to drink green tea is either between meals or after a meal.
3. Reduces Iron Content in the Body:
As mentioned above, green tea has catechins which boost metabolism and reduce weight. When had on an excessive scale, green tea reduces the iron absorption in the body. For those individuals who already have an iron deficiency, drinking excess of green tea can make the situation go worse. To avoid getting into this mess, squeeze some lemon into the cup containing green tea. This way you will be able to enjoy green tea, without running into the side effects of less iron absorption.
A natural diuretic it is –which means the moment you sip green tea – few minutes later you will have the urge to go to the washroom. When you have excess of green tea, it can increase urination, thereby leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. When dehydration happens, then headache, lethargy and fatigue can step in.
5. Can Affect those on Medications:
Though it maybe seen as safe for healthy people to have two-three cups of green tea daily, it is not considered safe for those who are already on medications. Liver damage can happen when green tea is combined with stimulants, antibiotics, asthma medications or any other drug. Before taking green tea during the time you are on medications, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
6. Bad for Pregnant or lactating women:
When preggies take more than 2 cups of green tea a day, they run into a higher risk of miscarriage apart from other side effects. The caffeine in green tea may pass into the breast milk of the lactating mothers and end up affecting the infant. Either the pregnant woman should avoid drinking green tea during such a phase or cut down on the daily caffeine intake.
Follow these tips to avoid green tea side effects:
- Whenever you decide to take herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You can also consult a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
- If you choose to use green tea, use it as per instructions on the package, or as directed by the pharmacist, doctor or other health care provider.
- Do not have green tea more than is recommended on the label.
- Avoid using different formulations of green tea (namely extracts, tablets and others) at the same time, unless specified by a qualified health care provider. Taking different formulations can increase the risk of an overdose.
- If your condition does not improve on taking green tea after having been advised by your doctor, then seek medical help.
- Need to go for a cardiac stress test? Then avoid taking green tea 24 hours before your test.
- Store green tea at room temperature, and keep it away from moisture and heat.
- Drinking alcohol with green tea can cause side effects such as headache, fast heart beat and jitteriness.
- Avoid taking drug stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines when you take green tea.
- Don’t drink green tea on an empty stomach.
- People who either are down with peptic ulcers or have a case history of acid reflux should avoid taking green tea excessively.
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not drink not more than two cups of green day a day, as it increases the chances of miscarriage due to the caffeine content. Children under 18 years of age should not take green tea extract. General drinkers of green tea should limit the daily intake in order to avoid side-effects. Consult a licensed healthcare professional before consuming any herbal/health supplement. Make sure your healthcare providers know about your medical conditions and treatments so that it assists them in a better way.
Hope you are now clear in your mind on green tea side effects. Have you ever had any side effects on green tea consumption and when? Tell us in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!