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Green Tea & Iron Absorption -- Is it safe to drink?

post #1 of 8
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I've been reading that green tea limits non-heme iron absorption (in plant based diets, not animal-derived iron) and this really concerns me, since I have low iron anyway.



Its been said that a little lemon can mostly counter this effect.. but I'm still not sure that its safe to drink in larger amounts. (I drink 2-4 cups per day)



Does anyone have insight into this?
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post #2 of 8
I drink two cups a day, and I've read that too. It's the tannic acid, or tannins in the tea. It's also found in coffee though. Between tannins and caffeine, it does reduce iron absorption. But I'm not entirely sure if it would make that huge of impact to a person; but our sources of iron being non-heme, it's probably worth looking into.



Personally, I think there are so many amazing benefits to drinking green tea that it would be worth the risk, if it being that big of one. I just make sure I get plenty of legumes and such, as greens like spinach is not a good source because of the oxalates it contains. And plenty of vitamin C to increase absorption!
post #3 of 8
I've read that putting milk (of any type) or lemon juice can help neutralize the action of the tannins, although I have to say I don't know whether it neutralizes the iron-absorption-blocking ability of the tannins. I think specifically it might just limit the attack of the tannins on the mucous membrane in your mouth that results in that dried out feeling you get from oversteeped black tea or a red wine, for example. Like you, I'm typically lower in iron so I've moved my daily litre or so of tea away from meals by about an hour, just in case.
post #4 of 8
Luxxi, add some lemon juice into your green tea. I always have some lemons or oranges on hand to squeeze a bit of vitamin C into my green tea.



I'll quote one of my nutrition manuals (written by R.D.s).



Quote:
Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid)



This water-soluble vitamin supports collagen synthesis and wound healing, strengthens blood vessels and helps the body absorb iron in plant foods. It's antioxidant powers may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cataracts and macular degeneration. It may also guard against osteoporosis. By supporting the body's immune system, vitamin C may lessen the severity and duration of the common cold.



** On a side note, if you don't have the money to have that much vitamin C rich foods laying around just to spray in tea, you can maybe buy one of those squeeze bottles of lemon juice (used for cooking?) for really cheap. They last a while if you squirt a 1/2 a tsp in each cup of green tea.
post #5 of 8
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocente...chemicals/tea/



"Flavonoids in tea can bind nonheme iron, inhibiting its intestinal absorption. Nonheme iron is the principal form of iron in plant foods, dairy products, and iron supplements. The consumption of one cup of tea with a meal has been found to decrease the absorption of nonheme iron in that meal by about 70%. To maximize iron absorption from a meal or iron supplements, tea should not be consumed at the same time."



References:



http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...?dopt=Abstract



http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...?dopt=Abstract
post #6 of 8
If you aren´t iron deficient, you can still have your tea. Yes - green tea also absorbs non-heme iron, but to a lesser extent than black tea. Drink your tea well off meal times. Eat lots of vitamin C with your meals to enhance absorption.
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post #7 of 8
I drink green tea all the time but I also try and get a lot of vitamin C AND I wont drink green tea before/during eating something with high amounts of iron in it (e.g. I drink green tea in the morning and then after a few hours I will have some trail mix)
post #8 of 8
I wonder when the optimal time to drink it would be then...because I always have a cup after breakfast, and a cup after supper. Never before or during, after I've eaten my meal. It seems to really help with digestion.
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