The other day I was at an event sharing Belight Tea, when a lady hesitated to take sample and told me,
“I get a stomachache when I drink green tea. Sometimes, I even feel nauseous.”
Indeed, that is not an uncommon occurrence with green tea. In fact, I, too, have had the stomach discomfort and nauseous feeling from drinking green tea. For me, and most people I’ve heard this from, the only issue seems to be when drinking it on an empty stomach.
The upset stomach results from the tannins found in green tea, which can slightly aggravate the stomach lining, particularly when too much is taken too fast on an empty stomach.
Tannins, however, are not usually a bad thing. In fact, tannins are the polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants that give green tea its reputation as being good for you. In addition, tannins lend bitterness, astringency, and complexity to all types of tea.
(Tannins are also found in wine, fruit, some spices, walnuts, almonds, and other herbal infusions.)
You may be wondering, if tannins are so common, ‘why do I only experience stomach discomfort when drinking green tea?’
I’m assuming this only happens when drinking tea on an empty stomach… The reason is, because your body and digestive system haven’t been primed for food, they haven’t gone to the work of secreting digestive enzymes and otherwise coating and preparing the stomach for food. Therefore, when you dump that many tannins into your stomach, it can be a bit sensitive. For example, if you drink black tea with milk in the morning, the milk helps to neutralize some of the tannins as well as coat the stomach, thus decreasing discomfort.
My advice to prevent the upset stomach that comes drinking green tea would be to avoid drinking it on an empty stomach, or if you must, drink much slower, and/or take a digestive enzyme with your first sip.
Have you experienced an upset stomach when drinking tea? What’s your solution?