If you have done some homework on whether or not black tea is good for your stomach, you might be a bit confused. The truth is that there is some conflicting evidence as to whether or not you should imbibe. Let’s take a look at the evidence for and against drinking black tea for stomach problems!
On the Plus Side
Black tea does have some definite benefits. Although it is made from the same plant as green tea, the leaves of black tea are allowed to ferment before they are processed and this changes the kind of flavonoids they contain.
The two most active flavonoids in the tea are thearubigin and theaflavin — and both of them can bring you some distinct health benefits. According to the Live Well site, there are definite digestive benefits to black tea:
- It has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce painful symptoms of issues like Crohn’s disease.
- It has antioxidant properties which can help to repair and soothe the linings of the digestive tract.
- It can help to regulate digestive enzymes like amylase and lipase, which can help patients with conditions such as pancreatitis.
- Because it contains large amounts of water, tea can help digestion simply by keeping someone hydrated.
There are also other perks to drinking black tea. This includes a decreased risk of having a heart attack. They can also decrease the risk of ovarian and other forms of cancer, kidney stones, Parkinson’s, and high cholesterol. It can also boost the body’s metabolism and helps with energy and alertness.
On the Minus Side
Before you start swigging that black tea, however, there are a few things you should know.
First, black tea contains caffeine (duh!). And while caffeine is something that most people feel like they need to pep them up and get them through the day, caffeine is something you have to watch out for if you have a tendency towards upset tummies. Caffeine increases acid production in the stomach, acts as a diuretic (which can increase risk of dehydration) and can exacerbate symptoms if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
You should also know that apart from digestive problems, too much caffeine can cause other unwanted side effects, including anxiety and restlessness, headaches and an irregular heartbeat.
Black tea also contains compounds called tannins, which give the tea its characteristic bitter flavor but can also lead to nausea or upset stomach.
What to Do?
The thing to do if you are a black tea fan but are also worried about stomach problems is simply to enjoy the tea without going overboard. Research shows that for most people, 200-300mg of caffeine (from any source) is safe. Depending on the kind of tea you drink and how long you steep it, this can be anywhere between 4 and 10 cups a day.
However, if you do have stomach problems (such as a history of irritable bowel syndrome) or if you are pregnant or have a history of irritable bowel syndrome or other stomach complications, it is better to talk to your doctor first before indulging yourself!