“Will tea keep me awake? Will tea make me thirstier? Will my teeth get stained if I drink tea?” these questions are common and you may have asked them yourself at some point. So, in honor of all the great inquiries about tea and its effects on health and the body, here are a few frequently asked questions about tea and their answers.
1. Will tea keep me awake?
This question is a reasonable one for sure. Tea has caffeine just like coffee. So tea must keep me awake the same way the caffeine in coffee does, right? Well not quite. And this all has to do with the way the caffeine in tea functions.
The caffeine in tea is affected by many different factors such as the climate and terroir where it has been grown and the water you use to brew it with, among scores of other variables. But aside from this, the caffeine in tea is also curbed by the effects of L-theanine. L-theanine is the amino acid that gives tea the calming, relaxation effect it is renowned for. So while you may be receiving a good amount of caffeine from your tea, it won’t give you that same explosive, jitter inducing feeling that coffee might.
In addition to this, the caffeine in tea takes a bit longer to kick in compared to coffee. One shot of espresso and you can feel it in an instant, but tea can take much longer to begin to diffuse its caffeine into our bodies. Coffee can also give one that nasty crash, whereas tea will allow one to coast on their caffeine for much longer, and the L-theanine can cushion any jitters.
When it comes to tea and sleep, of course an individual’s reaction to caffeine comes into play. But for the most part the relaxation and stress relieving effects of L-theanine should be able to put many at ease as they begin to wind down their day. If an individual’s body reacts strongly to caffeine, then perhaps choose an un-caffeinated herbal or floral tea instead.
2. Will tea dehydrate you?
Another reasonable one for sure. Especially because caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes the body to flush out a bit more sodium and water through your urine. So tea dehydrates you, right? Dr. Daniel Vigil of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles explains, “When you drink a cup of coffee or you drink a glass of iced tea, you are necessarily taking in a volume of fluid along with that dose of [caffeine]”.
So, let’s say you drink a whole liter (it’s possible, I’ve seen it done!) of green tea, (okay, maybe it was me!), our bodies can then absorb the water equivalent to the amount of water in that drink. Thus, while it is always wise to hydrate throughout the day, there is no fear of your tea dehydrating you! In fact, the more tea you drink, the more you may become hydrated.
If you are worried about your tea not bestowing enough fluids, try opting for an iced variation! As the ice melts, you can be sure that you are getting an extra dose of water with your tea, too. Or, another alternative option would be to use more water compared to your tea leaves when brewing your next cuppa.
3. Will tea stain your teeth?
Unlike the first two, unfortunately, this one is an affirmative. Tea will stain your teeth. The tannins, a chemical compound found in tea and wine is one of the major culprits of teeth staining. As tooth enamel is porous, these pores catch and absorb lots of tannins. An excessive amount of tannins can, well, tan your teeth. Too much tea with not enough brushing can lead to your teeth having a brown coloration, with stronger teas packing even more of a staining punch.
These tannins are a double edged sword because while they stain teeth they are also beneficial to the rest of the body. Tannins contain lots of antioxidants that can help protect our bodies from cell damage. It is such a shame they leave a bad impression on our teeth, however! In order to enjoy tea to your heart’s content, while also keeping your pearly whites nice and pearly, make sure to brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly. Though, that’s good advice whether you drink lots of tea or not!
For those who want to keep tea as a part of their daily diet, but are concerned about tannins causing staining, perhaps try white tea. White teas have an excellent taste and usually possess less tannin than darker teas like black or pu’erh tea.
4. Can tea cause constipation?
Here is another one, similar to tea effecting sleep that has dual answers. Does tea cause constipation? While tea isn’t a cause of constipation per say, the caffeine in some teas, especially black tea, may exacerbate constipation. For the most part, consuming a warm beverage, one that supplies the body with fluids and the relaxation and digestive functions tea has can help ease constipation. As a major cause of constipation for some individuals is stress and anxiety, the relaxing effects of L-theanine can potentially help ease these mental distractions that plague those suffering from constipation.
So, for this question, the answer is also largely determined by how an individual’s body reacts to caffeine. If caffeine causes a person to be more constipated, then perhaps opt for an un-caffeinated herbal tea instead.
The Truth of Tea
When it comes to tea, just like any other beverage reputed to have health benefits, fact and fiction abounds. Tea is certainly an amazing and wonderful drink, and one that can bestow a plethora of physical and mental boons. Our handy list here has hopefully shed some light on many of the myths and truths about tea. If you are ever concerned about tea and its effects on your mind, body or general health, always consult a physician or trained medical professional. The world of tea is vast and mysterious, and the more we question, the more we can definitely know. So keep on questioning and maybe we can discover more and more amazing facts about the wonderful drink that is tea!
- “Mythbusting: Green Tea and the Effect of Caffeine.” Two Rivers Green Tea, Admin Https://Www.tworiversgreentea.com.au/Wp-Content/Uploads/footerlogo_07-1.Png, 15 June 2018, www.tworiversgreentea.com.au/mythbusting-green-tea-and-the-effect-of-caffeine/.
- Barr, Sabrina. “Tea Stains Teeth More than Coffee, Expert Claims.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 18 Apr. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/tea-teeth-worse-coffee-discolouring-enamel-stain-dentist-a8309951.html.
- Cunha, John P. “15 Foods That Cause Constipation (Caffeine, Chocolate, Alcohol).” MedicineNet,
- “Does Tea Affect Constipation?” COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/540185-does-tea-affect-constipation/.
- Ducharme, Jamie. “Are Coffee and Tea Dehydrating?” Time, Time, 16 Mar. 2018, time.com/5192272/coffee-tea-dehydrating/.
- “Is Tea a Diuretic?” Matcha, 26 Nov. 2018, matcha-tea.com/matcha/is-tea-a-diuretic.
- Johnson, Jon. “9 Herbal Teas for Relieving Constipation.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322624.php.
- “Which Teas Can Be Used for Constipation Relief?” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/tea-for-constipation.