Bloating is not a pleasant experience, and to some people, the condition can be quite painful. It occurs when your gastrointestinal tract fills with air or gas, such that there is a lot of pressure in it. The result is a bloat such that your stomach becomes bigger, and you can see it from outside.
Depending on how bad the bloat is, you can even feel full such that you can hardly eat. That can happen even when you have had little to eat. The discomfort that comes from this condition makes people seek remedies from various sources.
Some of these work, others do nothing to help the situation while others aggravate it. The best way to fight any condition is to figure out what caused it in the first place. And that can have you questioning that cup of tea you have come to love so much. Could it be the cause?
What is bloating?
Before we get into how tea may or may not be the cause of this discomfort, it helps to understand more about this condition. Bloating symptoms tend to be pretty standard, more so when the condition is mild or infrequent. The signs include discomfort, some pain, and the feeling of fullness. Some people also belch a lot and have some rumbles in their stomachs.
Not all bloats will have the same symptoms as some tend to be more severe. In these cases, you would have blood in your stool, lose weight, feel nauseated, vomit, diarrhea, or have a fever. You can even get bad heartburn, and some women may experience bleeding between their periods.
If your symptoms are along this line, you might need medical intervention. You could be having a bad case of the bloat or could have another underlying condition.
Now, what causes this bloating and is tea a likely cause? Well, the filling of the gastrointestinal tract with air owes to the consumption of trigger foods. Some foods are more likely to give you gas as compared to others.
Take the example of a person who is lactose intolerant. Taking milk can give such an individual a bad case of the bloat. The causes can also be behavioral.
Take examples of people who eat too fast or too much, chew gum and smoke. Other causes point to problems in the digestive system. If you are constipated, you are likely to have a backlog that causes the gas. And if you have acid reflux, bloating is likely to occur. For women, bloating comes along with menstrual cramps.
These are but some of the likely causes. And we will get into how tea can also have such an effect on your stomach.
Note that this condition can also be indicatory of other underlying conditions. These include cancers of the stomach and the ovaries, mental conditions such as anxiety, IBS, PID, infections, inflammations, and such others. Thus, if the discomfort is regular and you cannot figure out the cause, you should seek medical help.
Can tea cause bloating?
If you think that tea could be causing the bloating, you are not that far off. That is in reference to fruit teas as well as caffeinated drinks in this line. Herbal teas tend to be more soothing to the stomach and can even work in bringing down the bloat.
You see, while tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, it also has a load of caffeine. Additionally, it is a slightly acidic substance with a pH range of about 4-5. That means that anyone who reacts harshly to acidic foods should think twice about having a lot of tea. Let us look at some of the ways tea can make you bloat.
One, tea has acids, such as tannic acid. Now, think about it in this way. Your stomach has gastric juices that work on the foods you eat, breaking them down for absorption into the body. These acids are important in the system, for without them, no digestion would take place.
However, when you have too many of these acids, you can end up with a big problem – bloating. This condition can also have accompanying symptoms such as belching and slight stomach pains. While they may not look like much, they can be frustrating in the long term.
To make matters worse, the acidity in tea has been shown to contribute to acid reflux. And as we saw under the causes of bloating, this reflux can cause the filling of gas in the gastrointestinal tract.
Your tea could thus be giving you that bloat. The good thing is that you can still enjoy your tea if you make a few changes to how you drink it. For one, you should avoid teas that are high in acidic content. These include fruit teas, oolongs, and black teas.
Alternatively, you can take the high acidic teas but limit your consumption to fewer cups each day. Another option would be to cold brew the tea as this method extracts fewer acids. If the problem does not go away, you should start looking into your diet more.
Secondly, you have to consider the fact that tea is high in caffeine content. However, not all teas will have this stimulant. If you can steer clear of the teas that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, you should be fine.
These teas are also known as real teas and are the most popular of all teas. Their caffeine contents vary such that a cup of black tea can give you as many as 90 mg of the stimulant. That means that the more of this tea you drink, the closer you get to the recommended daily caffeine limit.
Now, the thing is, your stomach may not mind the acids in the tea, but rather, the caffeine. So, as much as you may opt for fewer drinks, you could find that you remain bloated. Caffeine is an irritant to some people, more so those with high caffeine sensitivities.
The ingestion of the stimulant triggers their gastrointestinal systems to expel contents in the stomach. That is otherwise known as gastric emptying. You will find that some people dash to the loo within minutes of having their morning tea.
Taking tea can help you empty your bowels if you have been constipated for a while. You can think of it as having laxative effects to some extent. However, there is a problem in all this, which can lead to the bloating effect.
What can you do to have your cup of tea without feeling bloated? Well, you can reduce the caffeine content. If you have been having black tea, how about going for green tea or another tea with less caffeine content? Better yet, you can opt to drink decaf.
Also, you can reduce your tea consumption and see how that works for you. If you are keen on having your tea, you can have it with an alkaline food that balances the stomach’s acidity. A banana would be a great idea in this case.
Thirdly, you have to think about how you take the tea. Some people insist on having tea as the first thing in the morning. That could be the cause of the stomach upset. You see, tea is rich in acids and caffeine, and these are known to irritate the stomach.
Now, imagine introducing them to an empty stomach. What would they do? They would irritate the stomach, leading to more stomach acid production, hence a bloat. The way forward here would be to have something else first before drinking the tea. It might interrupt your morning routine but can save you from a terrible bloat that frustrates you all day.
So, to answer your question, yes, tea can cause bloating.
Teas that ease bloating
You will notice that we insisted on real teas being the likely causes of bloating. These are full of acids and caffeine, which herbal teas may not have.
However, not all herbal teas work in soothing the stomach. Some can even make the bloating worse. Let us look at some of these soothing teas, what they do, and how you can make them.
This herb is known to ease most stomach ailments and can be an excellent way to reduce bloating and keep the runs at bay. Plus, it also helps with nausea and is an anti-inflammatory substance. If you want to get the most from this herb, you should find fresh ginger.
Making it is quite a simple process. All you need is an inch of the fresh rhizome, two cups of water, juice from half a lemon, and a tablespoon of honey. Slice the ginger before bringing the water to a boil and add the fragments to the boiled water.
Use the lemon at this point and remove the water from the heat. Allow the tea to steep for fifteen minutes before adding the honey and enjoying the drink. That should give you some comfort.
If you want a sweet drink without too many calories, this is the way to go. A cup of this tea gives you about 37 calories. Plus, it does not contain caffeine or any acids that would irritate the stomach.
For this tea, you will need two cups of dried flowers and eight cups of water. If you wish to sweeten the drink, you can add half a cup of sugar.
Boil the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves before removing the liquid from the heat. Add the dried flowers and allow the tea to steep for twenty minutes. Finish up with some lime garnishing.
This herb belongs to the mint family and is known to relieve patients of bloating, indigestion, and some IBS symptoms. On top of that, it can also soothe you to sleep, more so where you suffer anxiety.
Making this tea is simple, and all you need is two cups of water, half a cup of lemon balm leaves, and optional sweeteners. Bring the water to a boil before pouring it over the leaves. Allow the tea to steep for ten minutes or so before enjoying it.
Most people associate this tea with better sleep as it can help people suffering from insomnia to sleep better. But that is not all that it does. This tea can also aid digestion and put an end to bloating.
For this, you will need two cups of water, four teaspoons of chamomile flowers, and a sweetener if needed. Bring the water to a boil before pouring it over the flowers and steeping the tea for five minutes. Straining and serving can then follow.
This tea is rich in antioxidants and is quite flavorful, making it a nice alternative to real teas. It works in alleviating bloating and cramping symptoms.
You need two cups of water and a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds for this. Combine the seeds and water in a saucepan and bring them to a boil. Allow the mixture to simmer for ten minutes before enjoying the tea.
Peppermint and dandelion teas are also effective options when bringing down the bloat.
Should you still drink tea if you don’t want bloating?
Your bloating may or may not be as a result of drinking tea. The best way to figure it out would be to cut back on tea and see if the bloat goes down or not. From there, you can reduce the acidic or caffeine content of the tea or seek medical help if nothing changes. Here is to getting rid of that bloat!