Coffee and Tea - Health Risks
Coffee and tea are popular beverages that many people enjoy daily. They have some health benefits, such as improving alertness, mood, and metabolism. They also contain antioxidants and other compounds that may protect against various diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
However, drinking too much coffee or tea can also have some drawbacks. Here are some of the disadvantages of drinking coffee and tea that you should be aware of.
1. They can interfere with iron absorption
Coffee and tea contain tannins, which are plant compounds that can bind to iron in your food and make it less available for your body to use. Iron is an essential mineral that helps your blood carry oxygen to your cells and tissues. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, which is a condition where you have low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Anemia can make you feel tired, weak, and pale.
If you have low iron levels or follow a plant-based diet, you may want to limit your intake of coffee and tea, especially around mealtimes. One study found that drinking a cup of black tea with a meal reduced iron absorption by more than half, compared to drinking water. Another study found that drinking coffee with a meal reduced iron absorption by more than a third, compared to drinking water.
To prevent this problem, you can drink coffee or tea between meals instead of with them. You can also increase your intake of foods that are rich in iron, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and fortified cereals. You can also enhance your iron absorption by consuming foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli.
2. They can cause anxiety, insomnia, and headaches
Coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that can boost your energy, mood, and mental performance. However, too much caffeine can also have negative effects on your nervous system. Caffeine can make you feel anxious, jittery, nervous, or restless. It can also interfere with your sleep quality and quantity. It can also trigger or worsen headaches or migraines.
The amount of caffeine that can cause these side effects varies from person to person. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and may experience symptoms even after a small amount. The recommended maximum intake of caffeine for adults is 400 mg per day, which is equivalent to about 4 cups of brewed coffee or 10 cups of brewed black tea . However, some people may need to consume less than this to avoid adverse effects.
To reduce the risk of these side effects, you can limit your intake of caffeinated drinks or switch to decaffeinated versions. You can also avoid drinking coffee or tea in the evening or close to bedtime. You can also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration headaches.
3. They can affect your bone health
Coffee and tea may have some negative impacts on your bone health. This is because they can increase the amount of calcium that you lose through your urine. Calcium is a mineral that is important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, which is a condition where your bones become weak and brittle.
One study found that drinking more than four cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower bone mineral density in women. Another study found that drinking more than three cups of tea per day was associated with a lower bone mineral density in men. However, these effects were not significant enough to increase the risk of fractures.
To prevent this problem, you can moderate your intake of coffee and tea or choose decaffeinated options. You can also increase your intake of foods that are rich in calcium, such as dairy products, tofu, sardines, salmon, kale, broccoli, and almonds. You can also take a calcium supplement if needed.
Coffee and tea are generally safe and healthy drinks for most people when consumed in moderation. However, drinking too much of them can have some disadvantages for your iron absorption, nervous system, and bone health. To avoid these problems, you can limit your intake of caffeinated drinks or switch to decaffeinated options. You can also eat a balanced diet that provides enough iron, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients for your health.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456