The word on the street is that green tea is a health-boosting drink for it is rich in antioxidants. That means green tea can help prevent cell damage and protect you from heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. So, at first look, this drink can provide several benefits. But, is it safe for pregnant women? The short answer is yes and no. Read on to find out why.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Apart from what was already mentioned above and the fact that it tastes good, green tea loaded with antioxidants has plenty of benefits, which include:
- Improved brain function
- Improved response and alertness
- Weight loss
- Protection against cancer – a few of which are breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer
- Strengthen immune system
- Lowered risk for dementia
- Protection against oral bacteria
- Reduced bad breath
- Better life expectancy
This long list of pros is enough to get people signing up for their stocks of green tea. But, the question remains: is green tea safe during pregnancy? Here are the risks:
Risks of Drinking Green Tea During Pregnancy
1. It’s a Folic Acid Absorber
Green tea is known to reduce the folic acid that is absorbed by your body. Folic acid is an essential nutrient that pregnant women need to take to prevent their babies from neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida).
Studies show that drinking green tea around the time the baby is being conceived leads to higher risks of the child getting neural tube defects. So, if it’s just going to absorb all the folic acid that you have been consuming, best if you watch how much you’re drinking.
2. It’s still caffeine
Yes, green tea has many benefits. It is a stimulant, which, of course, is one of its well-known benefits and is also one of the reasons why pregnant women should be careful with the amount they are drinking.
The effects of green tea during pregnancy can lead to several concerns. Babies, for instance, take longer to metabolise caffeine. Plus, drinking high levels of caffeinated drinks can lead to miscarriages, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, and childhood acute leukaemia.
3. Iron blocker
Pretty much like how other teas work, green tea can make it difficult for you to absorb iron from non-meat foods. So, if you’re going to be eating some steak or tuna, best if you go for water instead of green tea.
Green Tea During Pregnancy: How Much Is Too Much
Image Source: iStock
So, you know the risks of drinking green tea. But, should you completely take it off your diet? The answer is no – not really.
Many doctors say that drinking green tea during pregnancy is safe as long as you are taking into account how much caffeine you are taking in per day. The safe number is one to two cups of green tea. If you really can’t resist taking another cup, then you control your intake of other sources of caffeine within the day. More than 200 mg of caffeine is not recommended.
If you want to take more precautionary steps, you can try steeping your tea for 30 seconds, then removing the water, and adding water again. This added step lessens the amount of caffeine in your green tea.
Negative Effects of Drinking Coffee and Other Caffeinated Drinks During Pregnancy
Why Drinking Electrolytes While Pregnant Is A Good Idea For Women
Nutrients and Vitamins Needed By Mums During Pregnancy
What Alternatives Can Pregnant Women Try
You can also opt to not drink green tea at all. So, instead of this notoriously healthy drink, you can go for any of the following:
When in doubt, drink water
. Water ensures all of the nutrients coming from your food are distributed all over your body and most importantly to your baby.
Drinking plenty of water also ensures that you stay away from more calories and sugar. The more you stay away from calories, the better you are at reaching your target pregnancy weight. Plus, less sugar means fewer chances of getting gestational diabetes
And, water doesn’t have to be boring. You can add some slices of cucumber or lemon if you are getting tired of the taste of plain water.
We all know milk is good for babies. So, if it’s good for babies, it’s good for mums. For one, mums need about 1,000 mg of calcium – per day. And, there is nothing else easier to fill that requirement better than milk
. By gulping in glasses of milk all day, you can help grow your baby’s bones and teeth. Calcium also helps keep your circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems going.
Milk is also a protein, which aids in supporting your baby’s growth. So, got milk?
3. Ginger tea
Are you prone to having stomach issues? Ginger tea. Are you always getting nausea? Ginger tea. These common pregnancy symptoms can be relieved with some delicious and steamy cup of ginger tea. The best way to consume it is to make your own; it’s the safest too. All you need to do is boil some water and steep some freshly sliced ginger into it.
According to Healthline, pregnant women can consume up to 4 cups (950 mL) of ginger tea a day.
4. Fruit and Veggie Smoothies
Not only are they healthy, but they are a smart solution for picky pregnant mums out there who can’t consume their veggies as voluntarily as other pregnant mums do. The only watch-out when you’re making your smoothies is the sugar level. So, instead of adding sugar to your drink, use water, milk, or yoghurt.
We recommend these smoothie recipes
that will surely give you your fill. So, is it still a downer that you cannot drink as much green tea as you want while you’re pregnant? Once you’ve finished making your Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake, we’re sure the cons of green tea will easily be a thing of the past.
Image source: iStock
Wondering what food and drinks are safe for pregnant women to consume? Check out our Food & Nutrition tool in theAsianparent app. Download it now!
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.