Just like Monica and Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, you are hanging out with your buddies at your favorite coffee house, and you order the healthiest drink available -the green tea! The newest kid on the block that promises to fill you with antioxidants and reduce your belly fat. Served in a cup of hot water with green tea leaves, this beverage is the least processed amongst its competitors (we’re looking at you, masala chai, and black tea!). Sadly, even this soothing drink comes with its set of side effects.
The Green Flags
Green tea is made from freshly plucked tea leaves that are steamed at high temperatures and then dried. This allows the leaves to retain most of the antioxidants and nutrients it is treasured for.
Green tea has been used in ancient medicinal preparations in India and China. Rightly so because this super drink is said to fight many disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even different types of cancer. It is said to lower blood pressure and accelerate weight loss. Further, it lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and improve blood flow in the blood vessels.
Green tea, like any tea, is rich in polyphenols. EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is a type of polyphenol, found in large amounts in green tea. EGCG is a powerful bio-compound and has medicinal qualities. It is a strong antioxidant and is the reason that makes green tea a potent fighter of many ailments. Green tea also contains other minerals like L-theanine, potassium, iron, calcium, and caffeine.
The Red Flags
We know that anything in excess is harmful. Green tea does have many medicinal and therapeutic qualities, but if taken in excess or without medical consultation, it can be harmful. Along with useful antioxidants, green tea also contains substances like tannins, caffeine, and catechins that are a major cause of acid reflux. If taken in large quantities, it can worsen an already existing acidity issue.
Normally, acidity is caused by consuming excessive oily and spicy food or staying hungry for a long time. Plus, some people are more susceptible to this than others. In such cases, adding caffeine to your daily routine can wreak havoc.
Found in many beverages, including green tea, caffeine is a stimulator, usually needed to feel fresh and improve focus. When consumed in excess, it can disturb the gastric acid in the stomach, which leads to acid reflux. It is a sudden burning feeling in your throat and chest that occurs when the acidic liquid flows from your stomach into your esophagus. Caffeine can cause discomfort and, in some cases, even acidity-related headaches. If you have frequent acid reflux, the valve connecting the stomach with the esophagus is weakened, eventually leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic disease of the digestive system, and even peptic ulcers.
Besides caffeine, green tea also has tannins. Now when your stomach is empty, it starts to build acid, which is a normal reaction of the body. However, when you have green tea on an empty stomach, the gut reacts to these tannins increasing the amount of acid. This causes digestive issues like acid reflux, nausea, and constipation.
Best would be to have green tea with a light snack or after food, never have it on an empty stomach. Additionally, it should be consumed in moderation, not more than two to three cups a day. In case you have any health problems or are allergic, consult a physician before you start having green tea regularly.