Saturday, 16 April 2011

Is tea bad for you?

Had a ton of great responses to my horror story about my kettle from a few days ago. Thanks for all of that. It really is fulfilling to entertain.

So two things happened this week that got me off on another tangent, and somehow I think this'll be appreciated here. Rather than work my way up to it, I'll ask the question here at the outset:

Is tea bad for you?

We often hear about how green tea can cure cancer or halitosis or Tourette's. For every potential life-saving property that's attributed to tea-drinking, there's someone else out there insisting that the science doesn't back up the claims. I'm glad there are people arguing this, but I'm really out of my depth when any of these topics come up.

My response, when the topic of health benefits of tea arises, is to very clearly say that I really don't know. I love drinking the stuff. If there are additional advantages, then I'm all the happier.

But what if all this tea I'm drinking is actually detrimental? Ooh, now this might get interesting.

My friend Art has had some rather monumental health issues that've led him to assess everything he's always thought about nutrition and diet. Anytime he sends me anything, I take it seriously. Partly out of solidarity for him and his struggles. Partly because he finds good stuff. When he locates anything tea-related, I know it's coming my way.

So the blogpost he sent me is from Lindsey "Vee" Goodwin of Vee Tea and it's all about Tea and Iron. It might be two and a half years old, but it seems like all of this still stands. Let me be perfectly clear: she does not say that tea's bad for you.

She does however talk about the effect of the tannins in tea on both anemic and vegetarians, and recommends that those people drink less tea or avoid the black or highly-oxidised Oolong tea that have a lot of tannins. Please don't take any of this from me. Go click on the link, and read what she has to say about it.

She does ask at one point, “You want me to drink LESS tea and plan my meals around my tea-drinking! You must be crazy!” So I wanted to throw this out as a hypothetical:

What if you found out drinking too much tea was, in fact, bad for you? Would it impact your tea drinking in the least? I write quite a bit about black tea. Would I be willing to alter which tea I drink for the sake of my health?

The other thing that happened was much more frivolous. My dentist informed me that it was very self-evident that I was a heavy tea drinker. She said it as if it was an admonition, but I glowed with pride. It's just cosmetic, isn't it? What would you sacrifice for the sake of tea?

But she did convince me to lay off the black tea for the rest of the day. Might sound like it's not much of an inconvenience. I have plenty of really nice Oolong and green tea, but once my black tea was wasn't a pretty sight.


  1. Too much of anything is bad for you...I've read about tea inhibiting iron absorption before, and it definitely has been validated by science, and is a matter of concern for people at risk of iron deficiency. I'm actually hoping to write an article on this topic too, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Stay tuned!

  2. I was curious if the 'Is tea bad for you?' would get more responses, but maybe those who came and looked didn't see the danger as being so monumental.

    There was a bit more noise over at the mirror blog on, but still...this post apparently didn't freak anyone out.