In many cultures including India, tea is an integral part of people’s daily routine. There’s no perfect morning without a cup of ‘chai’ and elders, in particular, cannot do without it. While it has several benefits, it also comes with many downsides, especially if you drink it on an empty stomach. We spoke to Dr Manoj Kutteri, CEO and Medical Director of Atmantan Wellness Centre, Mumbai, to understand both sides.
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Benefits Of Tea
Dr Kutteri says, “Tea is very high in antioxidants and hence, is one of the best drinks to prevent oxidative damage in our body.”
According to the doctor, consumption of green tea especially has various health benefits. Herbal teas such as ginger tea, peppermint tea are highly beneficial in improving digestion. Cinnamon tea, green tea and hibiscus tea are great to improve the nitric oxide production in our body and also helps to tonify the cardiovascular system, he says. In simple words, it improves the function of blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and also lowers cholesterol levels.
The various antioxidants and natural chemicals in tea help to enhance the body’s immune system. The polyphenols and flavonoids present in tea can help beat stress and manage anxiety.
Should You Have Tea On An Empty Stomach?
Most people prefer having tea in the morning, right after waking up or with breakfast. But the question is, should you have tea on an empty stomach?
Dr Kutteri says, “Consumption of tea on an empty stomach may have positive and negative effects depending on the type of tea we drink. Caffeine-free herbal teas are good to be taken in the early morning for the purpose of cleansing and detoxifying our systems. However, teas that are high in caffeine can cause severe digestive problems, including heartburn and reflux.”
On the contrary, the doctor says drinking herbal teas provide a “sense of mental clarity, improved alertness, metabolic kick, sharpening of thoughts and increased energy levels”. Regular tea that contains caffeine should be taken post meal, emphasises the doctor.
Common Side-Effects Of Drinking Tea On An Empty Stomach
Drinking tea on an empty stomach can cause several health issues. According to Dr Kutteri, tea, being a beverage that can cause hydration in the body, is not the best drink to start your day with. The major side-effects are related to digestive health. These include:
- Increased acid secretions
- In severe cases, ulcers
Healthy Alternatives To Regular Tea
If you love tea in general and also want to maintain your health and fitness, switch to healthier options. According to Dr Kutteri, such alternatives are the tisanes or herbal teas such as cinnamon tea, hibiscus tea, lime and ginger tea, fennel tea, tulsi and turmeric tea, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom tea.
“These healthy and freshly made teas will help in boosting metabolism, digestion, and overall health. Alternatively, one can also have lemon water with honey or ash gourd juice with turmeric or water with apple cider vinegar,” the doctor adds.
A lot of people love having tea, which does have potential benefits. But having tea on an empty stomach may not be the best choice, especially if they contain a lot of caffeine. You can always switch to green tea or other herbal teas that are a good way to detoxify your body. Remember, at the end of the day you must do what’s good for you and your health.