Who Should NOT Drink Green Tea? What Else Has Similar Health Benefits?
Green and white teas are known for their health benefits, but for some people drinking tea can be dangerous because it can interfere or react with certain medicines. Others might do well to avoid it or drink small amounts if they are particularly sensitive to caffeine. Some women may need to avoid it around the time of their period.
These problems aren’t hugely common, and green and white tea is safe and healthy for most people, but if you’re in the small minority of people who could find tea irritating or even dangerous, you should be aware, and know that there are other things you can eat and drink for similar health benefits.
What Other Drinks and Foods Have The Health Benefits of Green and White Tea?
If you can’t drink green and white tea but you want to get the same health benefits, there are quite a lot of things that you can enjoy instead. Fruit juices are excellent sources of antioxidants, and if it’s the anti-aging benefits you want, eating lots of whole fresh fruit or making yourself a fresh fruit smoothie every day will help, as will eating lots of veggies. As with green tea, some fruits should be avoided if you’re taking certain medications (people on warfarin should not eat grapefruit, for instance, or other foods containing a lot of vitamin K) but there should be plenty of other fruits you can eat, and if your doctor hasn’t already talked to you about what you can and can’t eat, make sure that he gives you a list at your next appointment.
If you want to ward off strokes and heart attacks, or want to keep your memory and focus in tip-top shape, berries are the way to go – whether you munch a punnet of strawberries every day or put a handful of blueberries on your porridge in the morning for a double hit of superfood for breakfast. Both oats and berries have great antioxidants and fibre that can sweep away the toxins that build up to make you a bit fuzzy-headed, and they can help keep your cholesterol levels down and your arteries clear.
If it’s weight loss you have your eye on, you might try a different sort of tea than green or white – ask your doctor if your medication is ok to take with puerh (or pu-erh) tea or black tea – these don’t have some of the substances that are in green and white tea, but have still been found to have some weight loss benefit, and even some protection against chronic diseases as well.
If you want a calming, relaxing drink, some fruit or herbal ‘teas’ might be right up your street. Fruit teas aren’t really ‘teas’ at all, and are properly called ‘tisanes’, but most people and shops call them ‘teas’ for convenience. Ginger tea is warming and soothing and also helps the digestive system; chamomile is calming, and there are hundreds of others with delightful flavours – look in your local health food store or see if any online tea merchants stock a flavour that tempts your taste buds.
Turmeric tea. People taking Warfarin or other blood thinners, or who are taking medication for diabetes or stomach acid should be wary of having turmeric, but a little bit might be all right – ask your doctor if it is safe for you to have some of this spice, and what amount is within your ‘safe range’. Turmeric offers health benefits that are quite similar to green tea, and has antibacterial properties and protects against a range of chronic diseases.
To make turmeric tea, simmer a couple of teaspoons of the spice in hot water for a few minutes and drink. Some people prefer to stir it into cold milk and then gently bring this mixture to a simmer, and others like to add a little honey or a few other spices like cloves and ginger for extra warmth. The spice granules will separate from the liquid and sink to the bottom of the cup, but you can either keep stirring these into the liquid between sips or you can strain then out with a muslin cloth – much of the goodness of turmeric will have absorbed into the liquid so you won’t be losing out.
So Who Should Avoid Drinking Green Tea?
If you are taking medication
This is the big one. Different teas can interfere with different medicines, whether prescription or over-the-counter. These can range from any blood thinner (since green and white teas thin the blood, combining them with Warfarin, aspirin or any other anti-coagulant can cause haemorrhaging, which can be serious, and even fatal) to some anti-psychotic medicines, to some cough medicines, and many others. If you are taking medication or planning to, check with your doctor for contra-indications with tea before you mix the two.
If you are already taking certain supplements or on a special diet
Some supplements act as blood-thinners – cod liver oil, and high-dose turmeric capsules to name but two. Combining several blood-thinning agents – whether through taking tablets, drinking health drinks, or just through a strict or unusual diet – can cause some problems. Again, check with your doctor or pharmacist, and read about the possible side effects or dangers of anything you take in large amounts.
Tea contains low amounts of caffeine (about 5-40mg per cup compared with 60-120mg per cup of coffee), and it is balanced out with the theanine in tea, which is calming. But for those who are extra-sensitive to caffeine, drinking several cups of tea can still make you tense, and drinking it before bed will definitely keep you awake. If you are sensitive but still want to drink green tea for health, try drinking it only in the mornings and limit your intake to just one or two cups a day.
Some Women Around The Time Of Their Period Should Not Drink Green Tea – Possibly!
This may only be anecdotal advice, but many mothers in countries that drink a lot of green tea tell their daughters not to drink it immediately before or during their period. Some women do find that they are extra sensitive to caffeine around this time, and others might have sweet or chocolate cravings that might indicate a need for some extra energy, and yet others still might find that a milky drink is more comforting, but whatever the reason, you might want to test whether green tea is really right for you at this time of the month by limiting your intake and watching carefully to see if it makes you feel better or worse.