When in Kenya, there are several things you can’t avoid. For instance, eating ugali, learning Swahili, eating matoke and drinking tea. They say, when you go to Rome do as the Romans do; I presume that when you go to Kenya do as Kenyans do. However, does that mean that you blindly do what others are doing? See, 92% of Kenyans take tea but only 1.5% of them ask themselves why tea? Tea is sweet, affordable and something that we Kenyans take pride in since we actually grow it. Also, it’s what many use as a sign of welcome in our homes (Asanti kwa kututembelea. Karibu chai). However, we are mostly told about the health benefits of tea but little are we educated about its side effects. Does it have side effects? Yes. Can it be bad for ones’ health? Yes. What are these health effects?
1. It may cause osteofluorosis.
This is a condition whereby bones get weakened or rather damaged due to the fluoride contained in the tea leaves. Especially, the older tea leaves since they contain higher levels of fluoride. Thing is, when this condition starts to creep in, the bones begin to creek or one begins to feel as if the bones are aching. Many tend to associate this with old age yet aging may not always be the reason.
2. Negative side effects of caffeine.
Naturally, tea contains caffeine thus when consumed in large amounts, it may cause increased alertness and increased energy. Both of these maybe benefits of caffeine but they can lead to issues like difficulty in sleeping, increased heart rate, depression, anxiety and all these may lead to severe health problems . On top of it all, caffeine is addictive. Hence, by taking many cups of tea one may end up getting dependent on it without realizing.
3. Increased risk of esophageal cancer.
‘I love my tea smoking hot.’ This is something that most tea lovers are used to saying. Allow me to burst your bubble if you’re this type of person. Research shows that people with a habit of drinking hot tea especially 1-3 minutes of pouring it in the cup are at a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. This is cancer that occurs in the tube which runs from the mouth to the stomach, the esophagus. Therefore, the lot who love hot tea are at a higher risk of developing this cancer in comparison to those who love warm or cold tea.
4. Increased risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer grows in a gland that’s located at the base of the bladder in the male reproductive system. According to research, men who drink a lot of tea (6-7 cups in a day) are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, prostate cancer is among the leading causes of death in men.
Too much of anything is poisonous; even tea. As much as it is invigorating and healthy, if taken in excessive amounts it can be hazardous to one’s health.