Tea, which contains antioxidants and antibacterial agents and may improve metabolism, has numerous beneficial effects on the human body. There is considerable confusion, however, about the supposed acidic properties of certain teas. Some people incorrectly believe that tea contains tannic acid, a harsh substance used in tanning leather, but tea actually contains tannic polyphenols that do not act as acids.
Buying and Brewing Your Tea
Buy tea leaves or bags of caffeine-free or low-caffeine tea. Start preparing a low-acid cup of tea by selecting the correct tea at the store. Tea containing a significant amount of caffeine can cause the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid. While this type of acid is essential to digestion, too much of it can cause discomfort. Choosing a caffeine-free or low-caffeine tea is a good way to limit acid production.
Read the label carefully. The label of any given type of tea may contain information about the caffeine level, but this is not always accurate, especially with international brands. There is also a wide range of opinion about the level of caffeine actually present in various types and brands of tea. The link below in Resources provides accurate information about the caffeine levels in various teas. Avoid tea with citrus additives. These can cause an acidic reaction comparable to that of caffeine. Lemon and orange teas are popular, but they contain these additives. Even the caffeine-free citrus teas may cause acid to build up in the stomach.
Select a glass container to brew the tea. Glass, as opposed to plastic or metal containers, allows for a tea free from any additives from the containers.
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Fill the container with the best water available. Tap water varies widely in purity and taste. Water purified by reverse osmosis is usually good tasting and fresh, and will yield the best cup of tea. Spring water can have too strong a taste of its own to be ideal for making tea.
Brew the tea using either leaves or a tea bag. Avoid over-steeping. Brewing the tea for too long can make it not only strong tasting, but also bitter and harder on the stomach.
Add a small amount of milk and sugar. A 1983 study of tea performed by the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences found that the acid stimulation effects of tea can be cut significantly by adding milk and sugar. Milk should lightly color the tea. Add no more than one cube of sugar.
Avoid drinking caffeinated or citrus tea on an empty stomach.