If you enjoy drinking tea, no doubt you think about how it can affect your health. That is especially the case when you drink a few cups of this every day.
Many people avoid coffee because of its acidic nature. Does this also apply to tea? Well, if this question has crossed your mind, you are about to get some well-deserved answers.
With tea, the answer as to acidity is not straightforward. It all comes down to some factors which determine whether the tea is acidic or alkaline. That means that this beverage can fall on both sides of the spectrum.
One primary influence on the pH level is the type of tea. For example, when drinking fruit tea, you are likely consuming a highly acidic product. In this case, you may benefit if you are short of stomach juices.
Some people find that eating acidic substances makes their bowel movements much easier owing to better digestion. Others end up suffering the short end of the stick as they end up with acid reflux, pains and other such effects.
Note that the side effects increase in severity based on your consumption. You could end up damaging your digestive system in the process of enjoying that cup of tea. So caution is of the essence.
Is tea acidic or alkaline?
If you are drinking conventional tea, that is tea with caffeine, then the tea is acidic. However, the acidity level varies based on the type of tea. You see, teas fall into varying categories.
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Some are black, others are green, while others are white, and the list continues. You have likely noticed that tea has an acidic effect on the body. The good thing is that you can reduce this acidity in a few steps. But as for whether this drink has a low pH, the answer is yes.
This acidity owes to the presence of acids in most tea leaves. Thus, when determining how acidic a tea is, you have to look at the type of leaves used in its manufacture.
You may find that the variety in question is more alkaline than it is acidic. When dealing with old leaves which are tender and weak, acidity levels are likely to be high. The tea can have a pH of about 5.5 to 7, which is weak acidity.
That is a bit less than what you would expect in a cup of coffee. However, note that this amount can be lower on the range based on how you make the tea and the leaves you use.
Acidity comes down to the presence of tannic acid, which is also known to stain teeth and clothes. The more of this there is, the more acidic the beverage will be.
That is the case when dealing with conventional caffeinated teas. With herbal options, citric acid is likely to be in play. These types of teas have low acidity and are better than fruit teas.
If you are uncomfortable with the acidity level, you can use a few tips to lower it. These include the addition of water and milk as these are neutral.
How acidic is your tea?
We have talked about the acids present in tea and likely pH ranges of your favourite beverage. How can you tell if the tea is too acidic for your liking? It all comes down to the use of a pH range.
This range runs to 14, with 7 being the neutral point. Anything below this is acidic, and anything above is alkaline. There is a further breakdown in this scale, such than anything below 4 is highly acidic, such as stomach acids.
Anything between 4 and 7 is a weak acid and is likely not to cause any harm when ingested in moderation. You will find that most teas have a range close to 7 pH such that they barely affect your gastrointestinal system.
But some are very acidic and can have levels of up to 3 pH, making them unsuitable for people with sensitive stomachs. Now, when it comes to whether a tea is acidic or alkaline, you have to be specific. That allows you to pick a given type and test it based on this scale before making a decision.
Note that the acidity of some teas can be damaging to your teeth such that they end up stained. If you notice discolouration in your teeth, you can blame it on the tannic acids. However, you can work around this by watching how and when you drink the tea.
For example, steeping the tea for less time reduces the acidic content. Using a straw ensures that you do not expose your teeth to the acids. Also, rinsing your mouth with water after enjoying your tea helps a great deal. You can also reduce how often you have your drink and watch your additives.
What makes your tea more acidic?
Tea’s acidity mainly owes to the tea leaves. However, there are other factors which come into play as follows:
The Phenolic Acids
These are the acids which contribute to the flavour of the tea and have several benefits to human health. If you often have tea, you are likely familiar with its aftertaste, which lingers for quite a while.
That is the effect of these acids, which can be high or moderate based on the kind of tea you drink. People who go for black tea end up consuming quite a large amount of these.
The area in which the tea grows is also of importance. You should look into the soil properties in which your favourite tea grew. The more acidic the soils are, the more likely the tea is to have an acidic effect on your body.
You see, this acidity also influences the microorganisms present in the soil, which can alter the pH level of the tea. That is why acidic soils produce the best black teas while less acidic grounds work great for other kinds of teas such as green varieties.
Did you know that you can affect tea’s acidity by the way you make it? Many people like brewing their tea for long in the hope of getting more flavour. While this works in bringing out the taste, it also adds to bitterness and acidity.
That means that you can have green tea whose acidity level is not that high. But when you brew the drink for long, it can become more acidic. You can avoid this by using less caffeinated options as well as reducing the brew time.
Also, you can go for chamomile and cardamom teas which are less acidic. Even if you brew these for a long time, they will not become more acidic.
Have you ever noticed that tea becomes milder when you use additives? This practice has been around for ages and yields great results. You can use water, honey, milk, sugar and other substances to lower the acidity.
Note that the additive you use can make the acidity worse. Such is the case for people who like using lemon juice in their teas. The results are much more acidic and can increase the risk of stomach issues.
You should also look into other factors such as how many tea leaves you use in making the tea. The more leaves you use, the more acidic the drink will be.
You can also look at the form of the tea. People who use teabags end up ingesting more flavorful and acidic teas compared to those who take loose leaf tea. Work on reducing the brew time and the water temperature and you should be fine.
How much acidity can you handle?
For tea to be safe to drink for most people, its pH should be in the ranges of 5.5. That is slightly acidic and should not pose any problems as long as the consumption is in moderation.
If you feel that your tea tastes bitterer than usual, you are likely to have a more acidic drink.
What pH level does my tea have?
Lemon tea will generally have a level of 3, which is the same as that of blackberry tea. Green tea lies on the alkaline side for the most part with a scale of 7 to 10. Note that the brewing method can lower this value.
Black tea is in the range of 5, while herbal tea lies between 6 and 7. Fruit teas tend to be more acidic than other teas, with the upside of not being bitter.
Let us look at some of these teas in more depth:
This tea contains acidic as well as basic compounds which interact to create an almost neutral drink. Its most prevalent components are oxalate and citrate. Citrate is an organic acid which has a close association with citric acid.
In this tea, its concentration is not as high as that in citrus fruits. Oxalate is present in fruits and veggies. On top of these components, tannic acid is present, which brings about the tea’s bitter taste.
With a pH of about 5 going up, this tea should be safe, even according to dentists. But if you use too many leaves or brew it too long, its pH value drops, making it highly acidic.
These teas are generally sweet and have a pH value of about 3, which points to their high acidity. They are the opposite of herbal teas which are often alkaline. This difference owes to the use of acidic fruits and lots of sugars in their making.
Drinking too much of these teas can lead to the erosion of the tooth enamel as well as the occurrence of stomach issues. Note that their range is quite close to that of battery acid, which is at 1. Think about how this affects your digestion processes.
These do not come from the same plant as black and green teas and contain different compounds. Their pH levels tend to vary a lot. For example, hibiscus has a value of 3, while ginger has 6.
It is thus hard to tell if they are alkaline or acidic as it comes down to the plant type and part in use. You can try gauging the level by feeling how sour or bitter the drinks are. Sour is for acidic foods, and bitter indicates alkaline substances.
Why should you care about acidity in tea?
Tea is known to have many benefits to human health. Not only is it rich in antioxidants which protect people from diseases, but it can also boost your energy levels. However, too much of this drink can have some terrible effects on the human body.
These include heartburn, acid reflux and GERD, which affect some people. If you have concerns as to how this beverage has affected your gastrointestinal functions, reducing or eliminating it is a good idea.
A good example would be where you experience heartburn after taking tea. Here, you can do away with the drink or have it in small doses. If this drink has not affected you, moderation is still essential as it keeps you safe from adverse effects.
Note that in the event of any stomach problems, you should consult a doctor. That allows you to rule out any underlying conditions. You might find that the tea is not the culprit.