There is a question that haunts us tea lovers: how much is too much? Is it possible to overindulge our drinking habits and put ourselves a risk? Or, on the other hand, can drinking many (many, many) daily cups of tea actually be good for us?
Some people say no more than two, whilst others recommend up to ten. It’s a debate that’s raged for a long time, and will probably continue to do so for a long time to come. But that’s not to say there aren’t opinions and ideas out there that we can use to inform ourselves and make good habits.
On the contrary, there’s been a number of studies conducted into tea consumption by volume and its potential benefits and pitfalls. So looking at some of these, let’s see if we can figure out just how many cups of tea we should be drinking!
The Dutch Say Six
According to research findings out of the Netherlands, drinking several cups of tea per day may reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
The study was carried out by researchers from the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (both located in the Netherlands). And they found that consuming more than six cups of tea per day was associated with the lowest risk of CHD events.
Interestingly enough, they also found that drinking one to three cups was also linked to lower risk of CHD death. So (according to this study at least) drinking 1-3, or more than 6, cups of tea every day seems to be the way to go.
Watch Your Caffeine Intake
One consideration that needs to be made when talking about tea is, of course, caffeine. Some people recommend that caffeinated tea intake (that’s any tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which includes green, black, white, and oolong) should be limited to no more than five cups per day. Whereas caffeine-free teas, such as herbals and fruit infusions, can be enjoyed in slightly larger quantities.
This is mainly due to concerns over excess caffeine consumption, which can result in increased heart rate, sleep disruption, and restlessness. So when thinking about your daily tea habits, it might be worth taking into account how much caffeinated versus non-caffeinated tea you’re drinking.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, drinking 2-3 cups of green tea per day can help you glean the full antioxidant benefits of its polyphenol contents. Decaf blends will, of course, allow you to drink more without worrying as much about the caffeine. However, it’s worth noting that decaffeinated green tea does contain fewer polyphenols than its caffeinated counterpart.
Drink Your Herbs
Incorporating naturally caffeine-free herbal blends into your daily tea routine is an excellent way to safely consume more cups of the good stuff.
Nutritionist Naomi Mead, in an interview with Good Housekeeping, recommends drinking 3-4 cups of tea per day. (Mead furthermore suggests that those who experience trouble sleeping should avoid caffeinated drinks after 2 pm.) But for tea-fiends whose daily fix isn’t so easily satiated, territories beyond the 4 cup mark may be best explored with the help of herbals.
Chamomile, peppermint, sage, ginger. There’s a whole host of wonderful options. And not only does drinking a variety of herbal teas provide myriad health benefits, but it means you can enjoy more hot brews, more of the time, with less of the guilt and worry!
In the end, it’s difficult to prescribe an exact amount of tea to consume on a daily basis. It all depends on the individual and the type of tea. But as a general rule, at least based on the recommendations and research we’ve come across, a maximum of around 6 cups per day (with just 2 or 3 of them being caffeinated) seems like a reasonable amount to aim for.
But again, it’s important to point out that this is by no means a set in stone number. Nor is it an official recommendation. It’s just something of a benchmark. Totally subjective. Take it or leave it. Just whatever you do, don’t stop drinking tea! (And remember to always consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your dietary habits.)