Facts and Fiction Surrounding Green Tea

When Hyun Jee Suh (22) was studying for the LSAT exams she habitually drank several cups of cold green tea a day after having heard it was good for dieting and for healthy skin and also that it was better than water.  But after ten days of this regimen her stomach ached and her digestion was poor.  Choe Seong-hee of Dong-eui University’s Department of Food and Nutrition advises that that’s what happens if you drink too much of the faddish drink on an empty stomach.  Basically, another instance of “too much of a good thing.”

Should I take my tea hot or cold?

Eastern medicine specialists advise hot green tea over cold because its “cold” elements already bring down body temperature. For people of the “Minor Yin” body type, who get cold easily, it’s best not to drink green tea when they experience indigestion after eating cold food. In Eastern medicine, different medicines have been used to treat diseases depending on “body type,” of which there are four — Major Yang, Major Yin, Minor Yang and Minor Yin. Lee Chang-hun of Kyung Hee University’s Kangnam Korean Hospital says people with bodies with a lot of heat should also avoid cold green tea.

Is more tea the better?

One or two cups is fine.  If you drink more than that the acidic tannin in green tea can irritate an empty stomach, just like drinking orange juice can irritate some peoples stomach. Tannin can prevent the stomach lining of some people with gastro-intestinal disorders (such as gastric ulcers) from repairing itself.  Oxidized oolong or black tea make the tannin insoluble so they are fine.  Moreover, too much caffeine can mean you lose too many minerals in your urine since this is the method by which the body excretes them.

What happens when green tea and milk combine?

Because tannin merges with inorganic materials, it can interfere in the absorption of calcium. The effects are not of a scale that should worry you, but you shouldn’t let growing children drink green tea right after they’ve eaten calcium-rich food. Mothers should avoid mixing green tea into their babies’ powdered milk, and pregnant mothers and babies under five months should avoid it because their capacity to discharge caffeine is lower.

Is tea good for constipation?

The effects of green tea made from soaked leaves and from powder are different. In the case of tea from leaves or tea bags, only the minerals seep out into the water. The dietary fiber that eases constipation remains in the leaf itself and does not enter the body, so it has no effect on constipation.

Is green tea beneficial for losing weight? 

A cup of green tea contains zero calories, and it naturally decreases the amount of cholesterol stored in the body. The caffeine and amino acids stimulate the brain and increase your body’s metabolism so it can lead to weight loss. Yet no matter how good a food is it is best not to consume too much of it. The best policy is to maintain a healthy diet and use common sense when judging consumption.

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