Not so green? Side effects of Green tea

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Do you start your day with a hot cuppa of green tea? Do you swear on it’s health benefits. If given a chance, you would even deliver a sermon on how wonderful it is for your body. But like an old saying goes, ones man’s food is another man’s poison. You may wonder or even be taken aback to know that Green Tea have side effects too. Do your sugar levels or blood pressure not come down to normal inspite of switching over to green tea from your normal masala chai…? Then you are at the right place and this article is just for you.

Green tea is one of the oldest herbal teas known to man. It is considered healthy and has become popular as an effective and healthy drink for effective weight loss. But as they say anything in excess is not good, similarly having green tea more than 5 cups per day can lead to severe side effects. We need to understand limitations of any food we intake.

Green tea like any other tea too contains caffeine which causes severe side effects if taken than more than required amount. If we drink more than 5 cups per day, it increases the amount of caffeine intake. Green tea is safe only if consumed in moderate amounts. Green tea extracts is possibly safe for most of adults if taken orally or applied on skin for a short period of time.

But for some people, green tea can cause stomach upset and constipation and also liver damage in very rare cases. Side effects can range from mild to serious depending upon the amount of intake of caffeine and also person’s health. Some of side effects include:-

  • Mild to severe headache
  • Nervousness
  • Sleep problems
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Heart burn
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in ears
  • Convulsions
Green tea is a favourite beverage of working women
Green tea is a favourite beverage of working women

Who must not consume Green Tea and Why? These are the side effects of green tea:

Green tea can cause certain problems when taken in excessive amount or in people who suffer from certain aliments as follows:-

Stomach Problems: The tannins present in green tea increase the secretion of stomach acids which cause stomach ache, nausea or lead to constipation. That’s why it’s recommended not to drink tea on empty stomach. So the best time to consume green tea is after or in between meals. In a study conducted in 1984, it was concluded that tea is very strong stimulant of gastric acid.

Iron Deficiency / Anemia: Green tea is known to reduce absorption of iron from food. So drinking green tea may make anemia worse.

Caffeine Caution: Like other teas, green tea too contains caffeine and excessive caffeine intake can lead to nervousness, anxiety, abnormal heart rhythm and shakiness. People who have a natural low tolerance to caffeine will suffer from these symptoms even if they intake green tea in small amounts.

Osteoporosis: High caffeine consumption can also hinder calcium absorption affecting bone health and increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

Pregnancy and breast feeding: If you are pregnant or breast feeding, have green tea in small amounts – about 2 cups per day. This amount of green tea provides 200mg of caffeine. Fatal dose of caffeine is 10-14 gms (150-200 mg/kg). So consuming more than 2 cups of green tea per day can increase risk of miscarriage and other negative effects. Also since caffeine passes through breast milk, it can affect the nursing infant. So if you are pregnant or breast feeding it’s better to limit intake of green tea.

Green tea not safe for Pregnant women
Green tea not safe for Pregnant women
  • Anxiety disorders: Caffeine in green tea can make anxiety disorders worse.

Heart condition: Caffeine in green tea can cause irregular heartbeat.

Diabetes: Caffeine in green tea affects blood sugar control, so if you are suffering from diabetes and drink green tea regularly, it’s better to keep monitoring blood sugar regularly.

Diarrhea and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Caffeine in green tea when taken in large amount can worsen diarrhea and also symptoms of IBS.

Glaucoma: Pressure inside eye increases within 30 minutes and lasts for at-least 90 minutes after drinking green tea.

High blood pressure: People with high BP might complain of an increase in their BP due to caffeine in green tea. But this might not happen if the person is used to the regular intake of green tea or other products containing caffeine.

Liver disease: Green tea extract supplements have been linked to several cases of liver damage.

Women on birth control pills should not drink green tea. The body breakdowns the caffeine in green tea to get rid of it. Birth control pills can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking birth control pills can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat other side effects.

Kids should not be given green tea.

Kids should not be allowed to drink Green tea
Kids should not be allowed to drink Green tea

In short, anything taken in moderate amounts is definitely good, but when taken beyond the limitations can cause severe damage. Does it mean you have to quit drinking your favorite cuppa? No, not at all. But limiting the intake to 2-3 cups per day will definately be a wise move. Or consulting your doctor about the amount of intake can get you the required health benefits.

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