Understanding which foods to avoid consuming with tea is crucial (Source: Freepik)

Tea, a beloved beverage enjoyed across India, is often accompanied by a variety of snacks and foods. However, did you know that while some foods can enhance the flavour and experience of a good cuppa, others can have a detrimental effect, diminishing the tea's aroma, altering its taste, or even interfering with the absorption of its beneficial compounds. 

Understanding which foods to avoid consuming with tea is crucial for fully appreciating this age-old beverage. By being mindful of these combinations, tea enthusiasts can ensure they savour every sip while avoiding any unpleasant flavour clashes or potential health concerns.

Here are 6 foods that should always be avoided when consuming tea, as mentioned by dietician Gauri Anand, founder @balancedbitesbygauri:

Citrus Fruits

While adding a slice of lemon to tea can be beneficial, consuming large amounts of citrus fruits alongside tea can lead to digestive issues. The high acidity of citrus can cause heartburn or indigestion when combined with the tannins in tea, which also possess astringent properties that may irritate the digestive tract.

Iron-Rich Foods

Foods such as spinach, red meat, and legumes are rich in iron, which is essential for your body. However, tea contains compounds known as tannins and oxalates, which can inhibit the absorption of nonheme iron (the type of iron found in plant-based foods and supplements). To maximise iron absorption, it’s best to consume iron-rich foods separately from tea.

Spicy Foods

Pairing spicy foods with tea can exacerbate gastrointestinal discomfort. The tannins in tea can irritate the stomach lining, and when combined with the capsaicin in spicy foods, this can lead to increased stomach acidity, indigestion, and heartburn.

It's important not to pair cold foods with hot tea, as the contrasting temperatures can interfere with digestion. (Source: Freepik)

High-Calcium Foods

Foods like certain leafy greens (e.g., kale, collard greens) and fortified products can also interfere with the absorption of catechins. Calcium binds to these antioxidants, reducing their effectiveness and the overall health benefits of tea.

Processed and Sugary Foods

Foods high in processed sugars and artificial additives can diminish the health benefits of tea. The high glycemic load of these foods can counteract the stabilising effects of tea on blood sugar levels. Additionally, excessive sugar intake can lead to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity, which counteracts the benefits of drinking tea.

Cold foods

It's important not to pair cold foods with hot tea, as the contrasting temperatures can interfere with digestion. Eating foods at different temperatures simultaneously can disrupt your digestive system and potentially cause nausea. To prevent this, wait at least 30 minutes after drinking warm tea before consuming anything cold.

Different types of teas and their interaction with food

Anand says, “Black tea is high in tannins, which can interfere with iron absorption and cause digestive issues if consumed with iron-rich or highly acidic foods. It pairs well with mildly flavoured foods and dairy products, although the latter can reduce its antioxidant benefits.”

Green tea, she adds, has a slightly bitter taste and contains a moderate amount of tannins. It pairs well with light, fresh foods like salads and fish. Avoid pairing it with dairy products to preserve its high antioxidant content.

Anand notes that herbal teas are generally caffeine-free and vary widely in flavour profiles and properties. “They are more flexible in food pairing, but it’s best to avoid strong-flavoured foods that can overpower the delicate taste of herbal teas.”

Potential long-term health effects of regularly consuming foods that are not compatible with tea

According to Kanikka Malhotra, consultant dietician and certified diabetes educator, “Regularly consuming incompatible foods with tea might not have severe consequences.”

But, she says that it can lead to reduced absorption of tea's health benefits like antioxidants and iron (from vegetables) as well as digestive discomfort like bloating or heartburn, especially with spicy or acidic foods combined with dairy. 

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2024-06-25T06:12:50Z dg43tfdfdgfd