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Drinking tea with meals, is it dangerous?


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Written by: Annisa Dinda Kurniati/ Nutrition 2015

lpmcampus.ukm.ums.ac.id- (07/01)Drinking tea is a habit for most of the people in this world. People think tea is the best company for any meals, heavy meals or even just to be side by side with snack. Tea becomes a favorite because it has exclusive smell and taste.

Besides, some people also believe that tea contains many advantages for health. Since very long ago, people believed that tea has an ability to reduce many illnesses such as fever, cough, rainy-nose, diarhea, et cetera. Recording to research, this belief is so much more than just a myth.

A research done by Song, Lee and Seong in 2005 proved that tea has a real power to reduce influenza. Greater than that, Yang and Mandau’s research in 2010 proved that tea is capable of reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and even cancers.

Many scientific evidences of tea’s benefit encouraged many scientists to do further researches about tea’s substances. Based on those researches, we finally knew that most of its benefits are brought by a substance called tannin. Tannin is a substance which takes role on tea’s bitter taste and even its good smells.

However, does tannin always give us good impact? Besides known as a benefit carrier, tannin also well known as the inhibitor of plant-based iron such as tofu, tempeh, and spinach. The absorption process of plant-based iron is extremely influenced by the appearance of its inhibitor and enhancer.

When the inhibitors make no appearance and the enhancer take place on its absorption process, the plant-based iron will be absorbed to its maximum level. In otherwise, when the inhibitor appears on its absorption process, it can be sure that the plant-based iron cannot be absorbed well.

Hence, when we drink tea at the same time with meal, there is a big chance that the tannin will inhibit the plant-based iron’s absorption. Then, is it dangerous? When the plant-based iron absorption is interrupted continuously and without any effort to balance it with consuming animal-based iron, this person will have the higher risk of anemia.

Because one of the important roles of iron is to form the red blood cells (erythrocytes), so when someone is lack of it over and over again, he or she will has a high risk to be an anemic. However, what is anemia? Anemia is a state where someone’s red blood cells or Hemoglobin (Hb) is lower than normal

Is anemia dangerous? Of course, yes! The effect of anemia such as weakness and listless can caused an organ dysfunction. When anemia occurs, the most significant effect of it is the decreasing of productivity. These examples are absolutely not a good thing, aren’t they?

Hence, to avoid those disadvantages brought by tea, we better off taking 2 – 3 hours break between consuming meal and the tea. Start from now on, we should order another beverage when we eat. The beverages which are good to consume while having meal is guava juice or orange juice.

Why? It is because guava and orange contains vitamin C which is good to help the absorption of plant-based iron. Consuming iron adequately and avoid its inhibitor will avoid us from anemia. So, let’s change our habit!

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