Green tea, often known as the “miracle herb” in many parts of the world, has a huge number of benefits. Many people all over the world have testified the benefits of green tea in improving their overall health and fitness. From its ability to prevent deadly diseases like cancer and lower blood pressure. It has antioxidant contents that are immensely beneficial for the circulatory system.
Moreover, it is good for weight loss, checking blood pressure and others. However, it has been seen that it is only beneficial for a short term use; long term consumption can cause certain health complications like irregular bowel movements, liver problems, stomach upset and so on.
However, it is rightly said that excess of everything is bad. And, so is the case with green tea consumption also. There are several possible side effects of green tea which can make you think twice before increasing your intake or relying solely on green tea to achieve good health. It is also said, if green tea is consumed in a large quantity, for instance, more than five cups a day then it might lead to health complications. There can be numerous side effects of milder and stronger intensity, such as, headache, vomiting, dizziness, sleep disorder and several others.
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How Can Green Tea Be Bad For You?
How? I mean, how? Firstly, it’s about caffeine. Green tea is, you know, tea. And like any tea, it contains caffeine. That’s something we must accept first. Excessive caffeine intake has been linked to nervousness, shakiness, and anxiety. And people who are intolerant to caffeine suffer further – they experience the symptoms even with little amounts of caffeine. Also, green tea can hurt your body’s ability to absorb iron. Now, that’s a problem. A deficiency of iron can bestow upon you a whole set of serious problems. You don’t want that. Green tea also interacts with certain medications, and the repercussions are painfully unpleasant.
One study conducted sometime in the previous decade suggested that the link between green tea and cancer prevention was weak and contradictory. So is the case with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Another study found a pretty weak link between green tea intake and reduced cholesterol levels. Actually, you get the point, don’t you? Numerous contradictions.
Drinking green tea in excess can result in caffeine overload, which subsequently causes insomnia, upset stomach, tremors, restlessness, etcetera. Of course, this is more prominent in people who tend to consume it in excess all of a sudden. In other words, if you are sensitive to caffeine, you are more susceptible to the side effects. As per studies, up to 400 mg of caffeine in a day is safe for most adults. Which is roughly the amount in 4 cups of brewed coffee or 10 cans of Cola or energy drinks. Or 10 to 12 cups of green tea.
Alright. Now to the real deal. The side effects of green tea, in detail. But before we proceed, there is one thing I want to make very clear – there are no cases of green tea causing issues when consumed in moderation. And, the quality matters too.
1 Harmful Effects of Excessive Caffeine
Although green tea carries less caffeine than other teas still, it does contain caffeine after all. So, if you consume it excessively, say more than 3-5 cups, caffeine can interfere with the normal functioning of your nervous system and cause a mineral overdose.
It can also lead to caffeine intolerance so you may need to increase your intake of caffeine to have same effects as earlier. Moreover, too much of caffeine can cause restlessness, heart palpitations, irritability, inability to sleep, loss of appetite and various other disorders.
2 Not Good for Sensitive Stomach
You should take special care while consuming green tea if you have a sensitive stomach. The compounds in green tea are known to cause gastroenteritis troubles inside the stomach by increasing the production of gastric acid inside the body. This may lead to stomach ache, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and other gut-related disorders.
So, you should avoid taking caffeine on an empty stomach or before meals. If you frequently experience stomach aches after green tea, you can try adding milk and sugar which can reduce its intensity.
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3 May Increase Toxicity Levels
Green tea, if taken on an empty stomach, can induce toxicity in stomach or liver. This latest research on dogs shows that green tea extracts given during empty stomach conditions caused liver, gastrointestinal, and renal, toxicities.
Although these results are yet to be replicated in humans, we still need to take necessary precautions. Moreover, green tea on an empty stomach in humans also can induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea if taken in excess amounts or as a substitute for proper breakfast.
4 Can React with Ongoing Medication
This is perhaps the most dangerous effect of green tea as unknowingly people can start drinking green tea without checking its compatibility with the ongoing medicines and drugs. Phenophyls in green tea can react with certain chemicals and medical drugs. These are highly reactive with drugs like nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, and ephedrine.
They can also react with birth control pills, estrogen pills, depression medication, and other conventional medicines. So you should consult your doctor before starting green tea consumption to avoid any complication due to the reaction.
5 Reduces Iron Absorption in Body
Green tea compounds (catechins) often inhibit the iron absorption process inside the body. This may lead to a reduction in the formation of red blood cells. RBCs carry an important function of transporting oxygen to different organs via hemoglobin in the blood. Less number of RBCs and hemoglobin in the blood can lead to a disease called anemia.
Moreover, if a person is already suffering from anemia, he can find his condition worsen after consuming green tea. To take green tea without this effect, limit the amount of green tea and remember to take iron rich foods with your diet. Also, consume foods rich in Vitamin C which can increase the absorption of iron in your body.
6 Harmful During Pregnancy
A pregnant woman should take special care while consuming green tea. They should limit the amount of green tea to maximum two cups a day (about 200 mg caffeine). Green tea contains catechins, caffeine, and tannic acid which can lead to pregnancy risks and miscarriages.
Especially during early pregnancy, one should completely avoid green tea as excessive amounts may result in neural tube birth defect in babies Even after the baby is born, they should avoid taking excessive green tea until the time of breastfeeding.
7 Can Lead to Calcium Deficiency
Consuming more than 300 mg of green tea extract per day can result in excretion of calcium with urine as waste. This can be a huge problem to people, especially women who often experience a lack of calcium in their body. A prolonged absence of calcium can give birth to related bone diseases such as osteoporosis. One can maintain the level of calcium in the body by taking calcium supplements to compensate for loss caused by green tea.
8 Can Leave Teeth Stains
This is one of the most significant worries for people who love green tea or are looking to start drinking green tea. Green tea does cause staining of teeth due to its strong color and acidic nature. It contains plant compounds called Tannins that further increase the staining by breaking down the teeth enamel. After the enamel breaks down, the staining by colored molecules becomes easier as they can get attached to teeth easily.
However, it is not just green tea which causes staining of teeth. Many other substances are also known to cause teeth stains like black tea, wine, coffee, berries, cola, dark colored fruit juices, sauces, sports drinks and sweets. One can prevent the staining by following a proper schedule of oral healthcare. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth should be a daily part of your program. Brush your teeth immediately after having tea to prevent stains in a more efficient manner.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which are caused due to impairment of optic nerve. Optic nerve connects eye to the brain and can become damaged due to sustained pressure on the eye. Green tea temporarily causes this condition because of caffeine.
Caffeine can accelerate the process of intraocular pressure within minutes of drinking green tea. The pressure can last for at least one and a half hour and can lead to further loss of vision among patients already suffering from glaucoma.
10 Beware of Sweetened Green Tea
Today, due to the immense popularity of green tea, many commercial companies have come up with their brands of green tea. However, most of these brands rarely contain sufficient quantity of green tea extracts which are required to see the benefits.
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On top of this, most contain sweetening agents and artificial additives which can lead to an increase in total intake of calories due to sugar. So, you might think that you are following a healthy diet by including green tea in it, but it may lead to opposite results.
11 Lower Testosterone Levels
High levels of green tea in the blood can reduce the amount of testosterone in males. This is because green tea can lead to an increase in SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin).SHBG is found to be responsible for reacting with testosterone and convert it into dihydrotestosterone (DHT)- a standard compound associated with hair loss.
How to overcome these side-effects of Green tea ?
Among the other side effects of excessive green tea consumption include osteoporosis (it flushes large amounts of calcium from the body through the urine, thereby, weakening bones), hypertension, glaucoma, bleeding disorders and several others.
It should, therefore, be realized that despite all its health benefits and the high nutrients that green tea contains, it should always be consumed in limited quantity. Just like a balanced diet, this should be taken as medicine and not a refreshing drink.
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