How much tea is too much?

Any tea lover has asked himself this question after drinking the umpteenth cup of tea of ​​the day: how much tea can you drink a day? Am I passing?

In this article, we tell you what is the right amount of tea to drink each day because although tea is a healthy drink, any excess can cause health problems. Let’s go there?

What is tea and what nutrients does it provide?

The first thing we must analyze to determine how much tea is too much is what are the substances that drinking tea provides.

As we well know, tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. In fact, the curious thing is that all varieties of tea are made with the leaves of the same plant, only they undergo different processes.

Thus, a white tea and a green tea will have a minimum oxidation that contrasts with the exhaustive oxidation of black tea and with the fermentation of pu-erh.

However, in general terms, tea provides salts and minerals in small doses, such as calcium, fluoride, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, as well as caffeine, a substance called theine when we speak of the tea In addition to theine, tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that relaxes the nervous system and, therefore, would compensate for the stimulation of caffeine, providing a relaxed and long-term attention span, unlike what happens with the coffee.

A special section deserves polyphenols (flavonoids, theaflavins, catechins), molecules with antioxidant potential, that is, they act by fighting free radicals to prevent, thus, the oxidative damage that produces premature aging and all kinds of degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.

How much tea can you drink a day?

Now, how can we know how much tea is too much? Could any of its components be harmful to health? Let’s analyze the recommended daily dose of each of its components.

Daily dose of salts and minerals

The reality is that the contribution of salts and minerals from a cup of tea is negligible, which is why it is almost impossible to exceed the recommended daily dose of any of these nutrients by drinking a couple of cups of tea (or even more) .

Take sodium as an example. The World Health Organization indicates that we should not exceed 2 g/day and 100 mg of black tea would have approximately 3 mg.

It is easy to determine, therefore, that at the nutrient level there would not be a maximum amount of tea to be ingested so as not to exceed the recommended daily doses.

How much caffeine can we ingest per day?

While caffeine can be part of a healthy diet without any drawbacks, too much of it could put your health at risk.

The problem with caffeine is that the appropriate or maximum amount varies from person to person depending on their weight, the medications they take, and even their sensitivity to this exciting substance and the rate at which it is metabolized.

As a general rule, it is recommended not to exceed 400 mg/day, including coffee, mate, tea, chocolate and any food or drink that contains this substance.

In the case of consuming too much caffeine (or suffering from sensitivity to it), the following disorders could appear:

  • Anxiety and nervousness.
  • Acceleration of the heart rate.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nausea and/or upset stomach.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling of sadness.
  • Seizures, in the case of a consumption of more than 1,200 milligrams, something that would be equivalent to between 50 and 100 cups of coffee in a day.

Based on this analysis, it is clear that a determining factor in establishing the maximum daily tea intake is thus the amount of caffeine. Although caffeine is only toxic in large doses (you would have to drink more than 50 cups of coffee), the negative effects described can appear with much less.

One complicating factor in knowing exactly how many cups you can drink is that each type of tea can vary in its caffeine concentration. Quantifying it is not possible unless you do an analysis, so the only thing that can be done in a practical way is to proceed with caution. 

A good general recommendation would be not to exceed 4 cups of tea a day.

Can You Consume Too Much Antioxidants?

Although some research has raised some concerns about the excessive consumption of antioxidant supplements, there is no evidence that the intake of fruits, vegetables or beverages rich in these substances may be dangerous in any way. Therefore, there would be no need to worry about exceeding a recommended dose.

Tannins and health

Tea is also rich in tannins, polyphenolic compounds that give it a certain astringency. There are varieties of tea with a greater or lesser amount of tannins, as is the case with caffeine.

Some research has indicated that tannins could affect iron absorption; For this reason, the consumption of tea is not usually recommended for people suffering from iron deficiency anemia.

Tannins can also cause stomach pain or nausea in people who are sensitive to them.

In general, consumption of up to 3 cups of tea per day should be safe for most people in this regard.

In conclusion, the maximum recommended intake of tea will vary not only according to the type of tea chosen but also in relation to the person who consumes it. A pregnant woman, whose maximum recommended caffeine intake per day is 200 mg, is not the same as a person with sensitivity to tannins or a person who has never experienced any complications.

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