The aromatic beverage is an integral part of social and cultural life for many people. It is enjoyed throughout the day; morning, afternoon or evening, by people of all ages and backgrounds.
It is often accompanied with snacks or meals. But do you know some combinations can be toxic to your body, or limit absorption of nutrients? Ann Wairimu lists some foods and drinks you may want to avoid while taking your tea.
1. Iron rich vegetables
Eating iron-rich vegetables along with tea limits iron absorption in the body. This is because tea contains tannins and oxalates compounds, which block the absorption of iron from iron-loaded foods. These compounds can bind iron with them, which prevents their absorption in the blood. Black tea contains the highest amount of tannins, but it is also found in green tea and white tea. So, avoid eating plant-based iron rich foods such as nuts, green leafy veggies, whole grains, and beans with tea. Avoid consuming tea on an empty stomach too.
2. Lemon juice
Do not consume lemon juice immediately before or after drinking tea. Tea leaves when combined with lemon juice can make the tea acidic and might cause bloating. Lemon tea can also cause problems such as acid reflux and heartburn if consumed on an empty stomach in the morning. If you already suffer from acidity, it is best to avoid this tea altogether.
Foods that contain turmeric should be avoided while drinking tea as this too can cause stomach problems such as gas, acidity or constipation. Turmeric and tea leaves are not compatible with one another and might clash, causing a disruption.
4. Cold food
Never pair any cold food with hot tea as it can disrupt the digestion process. Consuming foods of different temperatures together can weaken the digestive process and might make you nauseous. Avoid having anything cold for at least 30 minutes after drinking warm tea.
5. Acidic foods
Foods that are high in acidity, such as citrus fruits, can interfere with the absorption of catechins (antioxidants)found in tea. If you consume acidic foods at the same time as tea, it can reduce the amount of catechins that your body can absorb.
Both tea and yogurt are acidic in nature and might cause digestion problem. Also having tea right after eating a meal that included curd may upset your stomach.
On the other hand, milk or cream can neutralise the polyphenols in tea, reducing their antioxidant benefits. However, this effect is less pronounced in black teas, and some people enjoy the creamy flavour of milk or cream in their tea. So, it’s a matter of personal preference.
7. Sweet foods
While sweet foods such as cakes, biscuits, and chocolate may complement the flavour of tea, consuming too much sugar can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to energy crashes and other health issues. It’s best to consume sweet foods in moderation and pair them with a tea that has a complementary flavour.
8. Fried or greasy foods
Fried or greasy foods can be heavy and hard to digest, which can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable. Tea can help aid digestion, but pairing it with heavy foods can negate this benefit.
Most nutritionists recommend against consuming fruits along with your cup of tea. Not only are fruits cold, but they are also nutrient-rich. Having fruits with tea can lead to acidity and other digestive issues.
You need to leave a gap of at least 30 minutes between a meal and a fruit snack. Especially, you should avoid eating fruits right after eating your meal. One of the most common arguments for this statement is that it may result in the fermentation of the food, which may hamper your digestive system.
10. Spicy or strong-flavoured foods
Foods that are highly seasoned, spicy or strong-flavoured can overpower the delicate flavour of tea, making it difficult to fully appreciate the tea’s aroma and taste. Examples of such foods include garlic, onion, hot sauce, curry, and chili.
In general, it’s best to choose light, savoury snacks or delicate pastries that won’t overwhelm the flavour of the tea.
Foods that are high in fibre or protein can also help slow down the absorption of caffeine, preventing jitters and crashes. Ultimately, it’s up to you to experiment with different food and tea pairings to find what works best for your taste buds and body.