Ask I drink regular tea at work all day long. Is that good for me?
by Wendy Morgan, RD, LD

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There are several things you need to consider:

First, exactly how much tea are you consuming daily? I would recommend writing down your tea intake for a few days to get an accurate amount.

Secondly, what kind of tea are you drinking? Is it home brewed or is it bottled tea? Is it sweetened? If so, what kind of sweetener? If it is refined sugar, how many calories are you drinking?

Next, you need to be aware that tea contains compounds that may not be beneficial in large quantities.

Tea contains oxalates which could contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Tea also contains tannins which can interfere with the absorption of iron. Tannins could interact with certain medications, check with your pharmacists.

Tea contains caffeine, not as much as coffee. But depending on the quantity of tea you drink daily, you may be consuming more than 500 mg a day which can cause irritability, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and headaches. Some medications negatively interact with caffeine.

Finally, tea does contain flavanoids and other antioxidants but the studies on teas effects on heart disease are inconclusive. You should not rely on one source for antioxidants, but should be eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains for a variety of vitamins, antioxidants & phytochemicals. By limiting your self to one type of drink you are missing out on the health benefits of water, the calcium of fat-free milk or soymilk and the vitamins and minerals unsweetened fruit juices.

Ask is intended for consumer education only. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider with questions regarding your personal health or medical condition.