Tea often causes digestive problems. These include heartburn and constipation. Green tea and black tea both have many health benefits, but they also can aggravate acid reflux. And tea-drinkers have higher rates of constipation.

Tip:Drinking tea has health benefits, but is also associated with heartburn and constipation.

Tip 2:Green tea prevents esophagus damage. It has been shown to reduce the damage associated with heartburn.

Tip 3:Black tea is similar to green tea. It is good for you—but it has fewer health benefits.

Green tea. I enjoy a hot cup of green tea. All too often, though, this results in heartburn developing. Is green tea known to cause heartburn? And could green tea be associated with chronic heartburn, GERD?
Heartburn. I found a study done in Japan, where green tea is more commonly consumed. The researchers do not explain why tea causes heartburn, but they show that drinking green tea is associated with a higher rate of chronic heartburn.

Factors associated with GERD included a high BMI (body mass index), hiatus hernia, fewer hours of sleep, lack of exercise, and drinking green tea.

Lifestyle change influences on GERD in Japan

The key point from the study was that GERD was actually caused by a whole set of mostly common factors. Having a high BMI, lacking sleep, not exercising enough, and drinking green tea are common.

So:It is possible that if green tea triggers heartburn for you, it is the result not just of green tea but of another factor.

Esophagus damage. Green tea sometimes causes heartburn, but it also reduces the damage caused by heartburn. In one study, green tea—and a catechin mixture derived from green tea—was used to prevent the development of cancerous cells.

Note:Green tea was found to prevent the growth of Barrett's esophagus cells, the first step to the development of esophageal cancer.

Green tea consumption has been shown to exhibit cancer-preventive activities in preclinical studies. Polyphenon E is a well-defined green tea-derived catechin mixture.

Polyphenon E inhibits the growth
The study found that green tea is chemopreventative with regards to the damage from chronic heartburn and Barrett's esophagus. In simple terms, green tea can both provoke heartburn and prevent further damage from heartburn.

These results provide insight into the mechanisms by which [polyphenon] E inhibits growth of Barrett's and adenocarcinoma cells, and provides a rationale for using this agent as a potential chemopreventive and therapeutic strategy for esophageal adenocarcinoma and its precursor, Barrett's esophagus.

Story. I have long been interested in the health benefits of green tea. But it has caused me to experience heartburn. Over the years I moved entirely away from drinking green tea. And I lost the many health benefits it provides.
I recently revisited green tea. If I eat some food first, I have no heartburn afterwards. So now I do not have it upon waking up—instead I have it after breakfast or after lunch. I do not have it at night because of its caffeine.

Tip:Another form of green tea is matcha. This is typically tea that comes in powdered form that must be mixed together to be consumed.

And:Matcha has the same health benefits as green tea. If green tea causes you heartburn, matcha might be worth trying.

Black tea. I enjoy drinking black tea. It has health benefits. But black tea tends to cause me to have acid reflux. When I drink it with just sugar, it tends to cause me problems. There is a way to reduce this heartburn problem with tea.

Tip:When I mix milk, half and half, or cream into my black tea, it rarely causes me acid reflux and heartburn.

Tip 2:Dairy products act as buffering agents on the stomach. For unknown reasons, the dairy in the drink prevents heartburn.

Healthy? Many things that cause heartburn are not healthy. Tea, both green and black, is known to be healthy. It is worthwhile to find a way to drink tea even if it does cause heartburn. Using milk or cream is one option.

Opinion:Black tea, with its known health benefits, is worth keeping in your diet if you can find ways to reduce the heartburn it causes.

Next, we look at the health benefits of black tea. It may have less significant benefits than green tea. This is because black tea has fewer polyphenols and less theanine. The quality of the black tea is important as well.
Green versus black tea. I sought to compare green tea and black tea health benefits by using public medical research. I quickly found out that black tea has similar benefits as green tea, but reduced.

Numerous scientific publications now attest to the health benefits of both black and green teas, including clinical and epidemiological studies. All tea contains beneficial antioxidants... High-quality green and white teas have them in greater concentrations than black tea.

Green tea and theanine: health benefits
Cancer. Next, I tried to determine the major health benefits of black and green tea. I found that the most significant research is about cancer. The antioxidants in tea reduce cancer risk.

Modern studies in both Asia and the West have provided encouraging results indicating that drinking green tea contributes to fighting many different kinds of cancers including stomach, esophageal, ovarian and colon.

Risks. Esophageal cancer is associated with heartburn and GERD. Research says that green tea reduces the risk of this particular form of cancer. Therefore, green tea is beneficial to people who suffer from chronic heartburn.Heartburn Is SeriousGERD Diagnosis

Tip:Black tea causes heartburn for some. It has benefits similar to those of green tea.

But:It may have reduced benefits due to lower concentrations of antioxidants. Please note that high-quality teas have more antioxidants.

Constipation. Tea has many health effects. I have often struggled with constipation. I also love to drink tea of all varieties. Could tea cause constipation? I wondered if tea could help my constipation or make it worse.
Tea seems to cause constipation. As usual I looked up some medical references about this subject. I found that people who drank tea tended to report more constipation. Coffee on the other hand was associated with less constipation.

The consumption of rice and coffee was inversely associated with and that of confectioneries and Japanese and Chinese tea was positively associated with a prevalence of self-reported constipation.

Dietary intake in relation to self-reported constipation
This means that coffee is possibly a better drink if you suffer from constipation. Tea might contribute to constipation. It is hard to say from the medical research. But varying your choice of beverages could have a positive effect.
IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that result in uncomfortable bloating and abdominal pain. Constipation and diarrhea may be involved. Could irritable bowel syndrome be related to tea consumption?

We found the irritable bowel syndrome prevalence not to be related with educational status, smoking, daily tea and coffee consumption, alcohol intake, menstrual periods or weight loss.

Irritable bowel syndrome prevalence
Tea does not cause IBS. Neither tea nor coffee consumption were related to people having irritable bowel syndrome. Even alcohol use and smoking were not associated. Tea-drinking seems not to have much to do with IBS.Coffee Affects Constipation

Note:Tea-drinkers suffer more from constipation than others. Coffee-drinkers on the other hand suffer from less constipation.

Tip:Reducing tea consumption and increasing coffee consumption could help with constipation.

Summary. Tea has proven health benefits. If you get heartburn from tea, try drinking it only after eating a meal. Alternatively, try adding milk or cream to black tea. This may make it easier on the stomach.