Side Effects of Tea... Some Potential Risks to Watch for

We can't help but wonder about the side effects of tea, even though talk about the benefits of tea abounds...

Although tea is experiencing a revival and its popularity is growing at an astounding rate, it's still important to be aware not only of its health benefits, but of the potential risks and health effects of tea, as well.

Here are more research discoveries about possible tea side effects you may want to be aware of.

Keep an eye on your caffeine intake

All teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant (black, oolong, pu-erh, green, and white teas) naturally contain caffeine. While caffeine is well-known for its benefits (such as increased energy, alertness, and concentration), if your caffeine intake climbs too high or if you're sensitive to caffeine, you may experience some caffeine side effects.

Common caffeine side effects include increased heart rate, anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, dehydration, immediate-onset diarrhea, excessive urination, PMS, panic attacks, depression, tremors, and more.

And keep in mind that caffeine is a drug, so if caffeine is a mainstay in your diet, be careful if you decide to cut back or eliminate it altogether. 

Side Effects of Tea

Reduce your intake slowly, or you may experience some withdrawal symptoms - like headaches, irritability, nausea, or grogginess.

If you are watching or cutting back on your caffeine intake, consider a naturally caffeine-free herbal tisane, such as Rooiboscinnamon, or hibiscus tea. Remember, though, yerba mate (even though it is an herbal tea) does contain caffeine.

A link between tea and prostate cancer?

A Scottish study published in 2012 by researchers at the University of Glasgow linked heavy tea drinking to a greater risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Over 6000 men aged 21 to 75 years took part in this study. After preliminary data (including tea consumption) was collected from 1970 to 1973, the study participants were followed until 2007 (37 years later).

Side Effects of Tea

Results revealed a link between drinking tea and the risk of prostate cancer. Those who drank the most tea (over 7 cups daily) had a 50% greater risk of developing prostate cancer than those who sipped little or no tea (0 to 3 cups daily). Drinking 4 to 6 cups of tea each day didn't significantly increase the risk over a daily consumption of 0 to 3 cups.

The majority of tea drinkers in this study drank black tea.

Keep in mind, a 'link' does not necessarily mean that heavy tea drinking causes prostate cancer or that prostate cancer is one of the possible side effects of tea - it means that an association between the two was found. In other words, additional factors - such as age, stress, family history, changes in lifestyle, diet, etc. - may have influenced study results, as well.

You can find the research abstract here, and be sure to read this interesting critique of the study.

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As a whole new generation discovers tea in its many varieties and flavors, this beloved beverage is sure to continue to grow in popularity around the world.

Even though 'true' teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant abound in flavor, aroma, and health benefits, it's still important to stay informed about any potential side effects of tea. 

Use your common sense when drinking tea - don't consume excessive amounts, steep and cool tea (or any hot beverage!) slightly before that first sip, and monitor your caffeine intake - and you'll be doing your part in protecting yourself against any possible side effects from this beloved brew.

Tea and Caffeine

Wondering how much caffeine is in your favorite cup of tea? Click here to learn more about tea and caffeine.

And, of course, check with your healthcare provider about safe amounts of tea for you.

More about Tea

What is Tea? - Learn more about the second most widely consumed beverage worldwide... tea! An introduction to and some basic facts about this beloved drink.

Camellia Sinensis - The simple tea plant - Camellia sinensis - gives us black, oolong, pu-erh, green, and white teas! Learn more about the tea plant - where it is grown, how tea is processed, and some of the health benefits this amazing plant can provide. 

Health Effects of Tea - Tea can provide so many wonderful benefits for good physical, mental, and emotional health... but there are a few potential side effects and risks associated with drinking tea, too!

Tea and Caffeine - Did you know that teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant contain caffeine? If you love black, oolong, pu-erh, green, or white tea, drop by to learn more about caffeine in tea.

Making Tea - Some tips and guidelines for making the perfect cup of tea, including an infographic with brewing and serving suggestions for teas and herbal tisanes.

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