Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tea: The Iron Killer? / Nigel Prestatyn

My partner has forever been telling me not to drink tea after my meals, that I should drink coffee instead if I want a beverage. Well, coffee aside, what is the harm of drinking tea? I often stop taking these things without necessarily understanding them. Often relying on my partner’s own brilliant insights into these matters. But this time I thought I would check, to see if her suggestion, like tea, held water (pun intended).

I  does seem that drinking tea after a meal does in fact stop iron entering your body. So what’s specific about tea, and not say coffee. Is it okay to drink coffee? Well Tea contains tannic acid chemicals which bind to the iron in food and absorb it.

Well surely I can spare a little iron? I’m not anemic or in any category that would require me to maintain levels of iron. Of course this is very much an issue which should be of concern to women of a certain age. When that ‘time of the month’ comes around, there is very much a drop in iron levels due to the loss of blood, and so avoiding tea after food would be beneficial for people in this category.

So a little bit of iron lost via absorption through tea is no big deal. I guess. But holds on don’t I always complaining of feeling tired, don’t I complain of not having enough energy to complete all the tasks I have in the day? Can I actually afford to lose any iron? The answer is no. why bother with tea when I can have coffee.

Let’s be clear, the iron absorbed from your food is of a certain type. Drinking  tea with red meats, poultry or fish does not significantly decrease the amount of iron your body receives. These animal products contain the heme form of iron, which is easily absorbed by your body. In contrast, the non-heme iron in plant foods is more difficult for your body to use and more likely to be inhibited by black tea.

So look after to your vegetables, treat them with respect, and absorb all their beneficial irons!

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