Ananya Subramanium, a copy editor, loves to consume endless cups of green tea on a regular basis. She believes that green tea helps calm her nerves, manage weight, and improve brain function. She continued drinking green tea regularly even after she got pregnant with her first child. However, her parents advised her to cut down on green tea saying that too much of anything is bad. Ananya disagreed and argued that green tea could do her no harm.
But, is it advisable to consume green tea during pregnancy?
What is Green Tea?
Green tea has become a popular alternative to the regular black tea and coffee. Believed to have originated in the Yunan province of China by Buddhist monks, this fresh and energising beverage has been used for centuries for its numerous health benefits. Of late, it has become increasingly popular across the world.
Green tea comes from the same tea plant as regular black tea – Camellia Sinensis. It is only the variety of the tea plant and the way the leaves are processed that determines whether the end-product is green or black. The process through which green tea is obtained allows for it to remain unoxidized (hence the high antioxidant content) as opposed to regular tea.
Benefits of Green Tea:
- Laden with antioxidants and nutrients. These antioxidants can lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.
- Rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This powerful antioxidant is more effective than Vitamin C.
- Believed to improve brain function and reduce cholesterol.
- Known to delay health deterioration caused by illnesses like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Green Tea During Pregnancy:
Green tea is made from Camellia sinensis leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation applied when processing Camellia sinensis into oolong tea and black tea. Go through the below video that looks at 13 benefits of drinking green tea.
That green tea is beneficial for the health of an individual is well-known, but can it be consumed by expecting mothers? Let us look at it.
Owing to the many medicinal properties of green tea, it is a healthier alternative to other caffeine-induced stimulants. However, do keep in mind that green tea also contains small amounts of caffeine as it is not a herbal tea. During pregnancy, it is advisable to keep the following factors in mind if you tend to enjoy this refreshing drink a bit too often.
- Limit your intake of green tea since large amounts of caffeine are a strict no during pregnancy.
- Restrict your daily intake so that your consumption of caffeine is less than 200 mg. Each cup contains about 40 – 50 mg. So, one should not consume more than 4 cups a day.
- Do check product labels for caffeine content before consumption as some variants might contain an increased level of caffeine.
- Caffeine is a diuretic – a substance that promotes the increased production of urine. So, make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- As your pregnancy progresses, the body finds it increasingly difficult to break down caffeine. Too much caffeine content in the body can cause heartburn.
- If you feel that the caffeine content in green tea is causing trouble sleeping, do stop it altogether.
- Make sure you choose a well-reputed brand, which is properly packaged and that there are no other added herbs that could have harmful side-effects.
- Too much of caffeine during pregnancy is known to cause miscarriages, low birth weight, birth defects and even stillbirth.
- Green tea can also affect the absorption of iron, another vital nutrient during pregnancy.
- Green tea is known to boost immunity levels in the body. Since one’s immunity is considerably low during pregnancy, green tea is a healthy option to keep away illnesses.
- It can help regulate sugar levels, which prevents the risk of gestational diabetes.
- High EGCG levels affect absorption of folic acid and lower folate levels. Since folic acid is an essential nutrient required during pregnancy, ensure that you include folate-rich foods in your diet like green leafy vegetables. Folic acid deficiency is known to cause neural tube disorders.
So, do you think green tea consumption during pregnancy is a YES or a NO? Well, it all depends on the quality of the green tea, the quantity you drink and the frequency of consumption.
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