Many tea-drinkers prefer to kick start their day with a cup of steaming-hot tea variety – with it usually being the first thing they have on an empty stomach. However, is it safe to have tea on an empty stomach? In this blog, we’ll focus specifically on whether you can have black tea on an empty stomach. Black tea isn’t just the most popular tea variant enjoyed across the globe – it’s also often the main tea in ‘breakfast’ tea blends, enjoyed with biscuits or toast.
The Benefits of Black Tea on an Empty Stomach
- Low Calorie: Black tea (along with other aromatic spices such as cinnamon and ginger) contains extremely few calories. It’s lighter than a full breakfast first thing in the morning, while also being soothing and warming.
- Caffeine Boost: Black teas are among the highest in terms of caffeine content – which when consumed early morning, can help boost sharpness and concentration without increasing your calorie count. Caffeine is also known to lower appetite, which may be useful if you’re
- Antioxidant-Rich: Black tea is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, which are beneficial to a host of natural processes in your body. Consuming black tea on an empty stomach may allow your body to absorb these antioxidants more efficiently. In general, the comparatively low levels of caffeine but high levels of antioxidants make black tea a good way to boost metabolism.
- Stress-Reducing: Black tea contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that can lower cortisol levels – which makes it ideal for regulating stress. Having freshly-prepared tea on an empty stomach can increase your absorption of the L-Theanine.
The Case Against Black Tea on an Empty Stomach
- Increased Acidity: Black tea contains caffeine, which can stimulate the production of stomach acid. It’s hence not recommended to have black tea on an empty stomach since it could cause or aggravate GERD or symptoms of acid reflux.
- Risk of Nausea: Some people may experience nausea or queasiness when they drink black tea on an empty stomach. This may be due to the caffeine content, the tannins in the tea, or individual sensitivity to the tea.
- Nutrient Absorption and Gut Health: Tannins, which are present in brewed black tea, can affect nutrient absorption in the body – specifically by lowering the body’s absorption of iron. They also can alter the gut’s digestive enzymes, and may end up adversely affecting gut health if had in excess. Tannins are usually highest in black tea that has been brewed for too long – e.g. more than 6 to 8 minutes.
In conclusion, consuming black tea on an empty stomach comes with benefits that include increasing metabolism and concentration and lowering appetite and stress. It’s not too harmful to enjoy black tea on an empty stomach, but it’s worth being careful if you’re someone who suffers from GERD, acid reflux, or general gut-microbiome issues. Overall, tea on an empty stomach is a matter of personal preference or habit, and should be safe for most people!
To offset some of the digestive side effects of black tea, you can combine your morning tea with spices or herbs. Spices can reduce the effect of compounds such as tannins and caffeine which are the main culprits for tea’s side effects. Most spices, such as ginger, pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting qualities that can elevate your cup of tea!