Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer shares if there are health risks associated with drinking tea and coffee.
Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer:
Well I don’t think caffeine is really a health risk. There’s nothing wrong with a cup or two of coffee or tea. In fact, we are finding that like all things that are an extract, whether it’s red wine is an extract, green tea is an extract, cocoa powder is an extract, coffee is an extract, that they actually can, you know, those foods tend to be very, very high in some healthy compounds, antioxidants.
But put that aside, caffeine is, you know, a wonderful way to wake up in the morning, and as long as you keep your intake to a reasonable amount, that’s fine. The concerns I have with coffee and tea, and it doesn’t matter whether they are caffeinated or de-caffeinated, doesn’t matter whether it’s herb tea, black tea, green tea, white tea, red tea, is that those beverages have compounds called tannins. And tannins are fine except that they block a good amount of iron coming in from the diet so that women don’t absorb it.
In particular, I am concerned about women because iron deficiency is one of the number one nutrient deficiencies for women and teenagers. So if you are drinking coffee with breakfast, ice tea with lunch, it’s very likely that you are going to be iron-deficient.
About Elizabeth Somer:
Elizabeth Somer, M.A., is a registered dietitian who has carved a unique professional niche as one of the few, if not only, dietitians who is well-versed in nutrition research. For 25 years, she has kept abreast of the current research, packaging that information into easy-to-read books, magazine articles, lectures, continuing education seminars, and practical news for the media.