Green Tea Benefits for Stomach Problems

By Melanie Avila

People have been steeping and drinking tea for thousands of years, and after water it is the world's favorite beverage. In comparison to black and oolong tea, green tea has the highest levels of polyphenol antioxidants a compound which neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals are damaging byproducts released in the body that can cause cancer, heart disease and other illness. In addition to potent antioxidants, green tea has a variety of health benefits and drinking two to three cups per day can relieve or prevent many stomach problems.

Woman having a cup of tea
credit: pecaphoto77/iStock/GettyImages

Tip: If your not a fan of the bitter taste, green tea extract capsules are available.

Digestion

Clinical studies have shown that green tea stimulates the digestive system. The presence of caffeine makes it a beneficial weight-loss aid because it helps the body burn calories faster, yet it's gentler on the stomach than coffee. Additionally, it's theorized that the polyphenols in green tea speed up the digestive process, increase metabolism, burn fat and help the body break down food more easily.

Flatulence

Drinking green tea is a safe and inexpensive way to neutralize gas in the digestive system caused by food intolerance. It can also relieve pressure from bloating, thus eliminating the pain that often accompanies gas.

Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Glass of green tea on coaster, close-up
credit: ULTRA F/Photodisc/Getty Images
cup of green tea

Green tea helps reduce the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. People with IBD are at an increased risk for colon cancer, which early studies have shown that green tea may help prevent.

Stomach Cancer

The polyphenols in green tea have been found to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the stomach. Some studies suggest that when all factors (age, gender, education and alcohol consumption and smoking) have been accounted for, those who drink green tea are nearly 50 percent less likely to develop stomach cancer than those who do not.

Warnings

While green tea has many health benefits, those benefits sometimes come with risks. Too much caffeine can cause increased heart rate, irritability and insomnia, and overdoses can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal spasms. People with kidney disorders, heart problems, stomach ulcers or anxiety should not drink green tea, nor should women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, green tea can have negative interactions with many medications, so check with your doctor if you have conditions that require treatment.