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Green tea comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis. It is one of the most popular beverages in the world and many people believe it has some beneficial health effects. Aside from its great flavor and relaxing effect, green tea is also taken for many health reasons:

  • to improve thinking and mental alertness
  • to relieve digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset
  • to help lose weight
  • to reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • to prevent various types of cancer
  • to treat various chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, etc
  • to treat gum disease

How It Works

The health benefits of green tea come from the antioxidant effects of the polyphenols it contains. These molecules are believed to prevent and reduce inflammation, which is usually associated with many chronic diseases. Green tea also contains caffeine, which helps improve mental alertness and enhance urinary function.

Side Effects

Drinking moderate amounts of green tea is most likely to be safe for most adults.

However, some may experience stomach upset or constipation.

The side effects of green tea are usually associated with drinking too much of it. Most of these side effects are due to its caffeine content. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised not to drink more than two cups of green tea in a day, since this has been linked to an increase in likelihood for miscarriage.

In other adults, drinking more than five cups of green tea daily can result in mild to serious side effects, which include headaches, sleep problems, nervousness, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremor, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, heartburn, ringing in the ears, confusion, and convulsions. Consuming very high doses (10-14 grams) can be fatal.

Other known side effects of excessive green tea intake include:

  • reduced absorption of dietary iron
  • worsening of anemia
  • anxiety and irritability
  • frequent urination
  • increased risk of bleeding
  • increased blood sugar levels due to caffeine
  • worsening of symptoms related to Irritable bowel syndrome
  • increased eye pressure, which can occur within 30 minutes of intake and lasts for more than an hour
  • increased blood pressure in people with hypertension
  • liver damage
  • osteoporosis or weak bones due to increased elimination of calcium from the body

To enjoy the health benefits of green tea and avoid its side effects, it is best to take it moderately (two to three cups per day). People who are allergic to any of the components of green tea are advised not to drink it at all.

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