Tea is something every Indian loves. The aromatic beverage prepared by putting fresh leaves of Camellia sinensis over freshly boiled water makes one feel rejuvenated. However, one should consume less than three cups of tea a day, according to experts.

The ideal number of cups of tea one should drink each day must be less than three, Anju Mohan, Senior Dietician, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, told ABP Live.

This is because more than three to four cups of tea a day, which amount to 710 to 950 millilitres of the beverage each day, could have some side effects.

Consumption of more than three to four cups of tea each day could reduce iron absorption, and lead to increased anxiety, stress and restlessness, poor sleep, nausea, heartburn, pregnancy complications, headaches and dizziness.

According to Mohan, two cups of tea are good for one on a daily basis.

She also said that the maximum quantity of catechin one must consume in a day is 400 milligrams.

Implications of quitting tea for those habituated to drinking the beverage

If someone suddenly stops drinking tea, dependence may occur, Mohan said.

“Regular intake of tea leads to dependence. Symptoms of withdrawal may include headache, irritability and fatigue,” she added.

Should sugar and milk be included in tea?

Several people are habituated to drinking tea with sugar. However, long term use of sucrose in tea can lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus. People should gradually reduce the amount of sugar in tea, and instead, try new flavours with herbal teas. One can use a slice of lemon or ginger instead of sugar in their tea, Mohan said.

People should not add more than one teaspoon of sugar in their tea, according to Mohan.

Also, people who consume milk tea should use low fat milk with an equal amount of water.

Health benefits of tea

The health benefits of tea are that it has antioxidant properties, and contains less caffeine compared to coffee.

How the components of tea benefit people

A typical cup of green tea usually contains 250 to 350 milligrams of tea solids, of which 30 to 42 per cent are catechins and three to four per cent caffeine, Mohan said.

“Polyphenols, or flavonoids make tea a healthful drink. These chemical compounds act as antioxidants, which control the damaging effects of free radicals in the body,” she added.

Since green tea undergoes minimal processing, it contains more antioxidants than black tea.

Science behind tea benefitting people

Tea contains different kinds of chemicals, but the main ones associated with the taste, aroma and health effects of tea are polyphenols. Tea mainly consists of polyphenols called flavonoids, Mohan said.

Camellia sinensis produces these chemicals not for humans’ benefit but to help the plant fight against predators and stress.

“Green tea is often touted as the healthiest tea. It is full of polyphenols and antioxidants that help to boost brain and heart health. Green tea is considered one of the least processed true teas as it does not undergo oxidation. Leaves are harvested and immediately dried and rolled,” Mohan explained.

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