We know an infinite number of benefits of tea. This drink quenches thirst, reduces cholesterol level, normalizes heart function, and even has the effect of slowing the aging process. But few people know its side effects. They may be surprising and even dangerous. Let’s review the six side effects of tea.
British otolaryngologist and plastic surgeon Henry Sharpe believes that drinking hot tea can harm the nasopharyngeal vessels. Steam from hot tea dilates vessels and often provokes nosebleeds.
In addition, there is an assumption that hot tea may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Fortunately, not everyone agrees with this. In any case, the optimal temperature of the drink is considered to be 122-140 °F.
The New England Journal of Medicine has published stories of several patients affected by the habit of drinking strong tea. There is a case of a 47-year-old woman which for 17 years has been drinking tea brewed from 100-150 tea bags. Her teeth hurt constantly and in a relatively short period of time she lost almost all her teeth and got a brittle bone disease. These are symptoms of skeletal fluorosis. This disease is caused by excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones which contains in large quantities in strong tea. Nutritionists recommend consuming no more than 4–5 cups of tea per day.
In 2013, the Canadian Journal of Toxicology published the results of a study of a large number of samples of tea bags from different regions of the planet.
Toxicologists found heavy metals in the samples such as lead, aluminum, arsenic, and cadmium. They assume that metals enter tea leaves due to soil contamination since plantations are often located next to non-environmentally friendly coal-fired power stations.
The concentration of metals in the drink depends on the brewing time for tea. If the tea bag is in water for 15-17 minutes, the level of toxic substances rises to unsafe levels. Scientists concluded that the longer the tea is brewed, the more metals are washed out of the leaves into the water.
Herbal teas often accumulate toxins produced by certain types of flowering plants. These toxins negatively affect the whole body and significantly harm the liver. In 2015, the American magazine Food Chemistry published the results of a study of 44 samples of herbal teas intended for infants, pregnant and lactating women. Scientists found toxins in 86% of samples.
Actually, the dose of toxins contained in tea is practically safe for an adult but it’s dangerous for infants, as well as pregnant and lactating women. Due to the low body weight, the baby and especially the unborn baby are more vulnerable to toxins that come to them from the mother.
Studies at the University of California in 2011 proved that tea interferes with iron absorption. If you regularly drink tea after or during meals, you can get iron deficiency which is fraught with unpleasant consequences such as skin deterioration, lethargy, and even iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, doctors recommend not to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner with tea.
Tea contains more caffeine than coffee. Pulse increases, blood flow accelerates, adrenal glands secrete more adrenaline, and the central nervous system becomes agitated. Therefore, drinking tea before bedtime is not recommended since it may cause insomnia.