The ritual of drinking a cup of tea in the morning and a cup at night isn’t just for comfort. A practical reason tea is often used to bookend the day is because it accompanies meals and helps ease the stomach into digestive activities after a night of fasting. Some teas are even able to help improve your general digestion or alleviate digestive problems.
Several herbal teas are good for digestive issues such as peppermint tea, ginger tea, dandelion root tea, and green tea. Kombucha is a fermented tea that can also be very useful for digestive problems because it helps populate the GI tract with beneficial bacteria.
If you tend to have a sour stomach first thing in the morning before taking food or you end up with indigestion after heavy meals in the evening, tea can help make your stomach feel better. Read on to learn more about which teas are good for digestion and which symptoms they can treat.
How Does Tea Help with Digestion?
When it comes to aiding digestion, tea can help with several different issues in the GI tract. Here are some of the symptoms of poor digestion that can be alleviated through various herbal and caffeinated teas:
- Bloating/flatulence: Excess air in the intestines and stomach results from certain chemical reactions during digestion, and this bloating can cause abdominal cramps and discomfort. Some medicinal teas can help alleviate excess gas, and there are several herbal teas that are good for bloating.
- Sour stomach/indigestion: Sour stomach and indigestion can occur when the stomach produces too much gastric acid in response to a meal (or the lack of one). Certain herbal teas can soothe a sour stomach, and their neutral or basic pH can help reduce excess acidity that leads to indigestion.
- Diarrhea/constipation: For intestinal problems, probiotic teas like kombucha are the best choice to regulate the bowels. By encouraging a healthy gut flora, these teas help regulate digestion and excretion. Caffeinated teas are better for people with constipation since caffeine acts as a mild laxative.
People who have digestive issues, especially after rich or heavy meals, should try making a habit of taking a cup of tea before or after eating. This can help prevent discomfort and problems with digestion later.
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Best Herbal Teas for Digestion
If you’re having difficulties with digestion, there are several different herbal teas that can be used to treat the problem. Unlike over-the-counter medications, these teas are usually mild in effect and come with almost no side effects. They’re also chock full of healthy nutrients and essential vitamins for whole-body health.
Here are some of the best herbal teas you can take for digestive issues:
- Peppermint tea: The menthol in peppermint is a common ingredient in medications such as Pepto-Bismol to soothe digestive issues. Peppermint tea also improves bile production and calms the smooth muscles in the stomach, preventing stomach cramps. It can also help food pass through the GI tract more efficiently.
- Ginger tea: Ginger is a popular remedy among sailors for motion sickness, and this herb has a proven track record of reducing nausea. Ginger tea also helps aid digestion by increasing the production of saliva.
- Dandelion root tea: Dandelion root helps stimulate the performance of the liver and increases the production of digestive bile. Dandelion root tea can also help alleviate excess gas and bloating. Dandelion root tea can also be taken as a tonic to help increase a person’s appetite.
These herbal teas are very mild and since they’re designed to aid digestion, the chances of them causing stomach upset after drinking them are low. However, if you want to drink a more traditional tea to aid digestion, caffeinated teas can also do the trick.
Caffeinated Teas for Digestion
Both black tea and green tea can aid digestion, but green tea is slightly better for digestive issues than black tea. Here are a few of the main reasons why:
- pH: Black tea tends to be slightly acidic, worsening gastric reflux and a sour stomach. Green tea has a more alkaline pH, making it easier on the stomach when it’s already sensitive.
- Gentler caffeine effect: While black tea and green tea both have caffeine, an active ingredient that can aid in digestion, the caffeine in green tea is released into the bloodstream more gradually. This gives it a milder laxative effect than black tea.
If you prefer the taste of black tea to green tea, black tea is still great for digestion. The chemicals in tea help reduce bodily inflammation and mental stress. Regular consumption of tea can improve a wide range of digestive problems related to both of these health issues.
Probiotic Teas for Digestion
Another type of tea that is consumed to help with digestion is probiotic tea. These teas have a live bacteria culture added made of yeasts and other beneficial bacteria that can help improve digestion after being introduced to your GI tract. Without these beneficial bacteria, harmful bacteria have a chance to get a foothold. This can lead to inflammation and disease.
Humans naturally grow this population of beneficial bacteria in their digestive systems. However, these bacteria can be destroyed if you take antibiotics or other substances which may alter your gut flora. Taking probiotics can help add those beneficial bacteria back and prevent illnesses related to a build-up of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Here are two great options for probiotic tea to help treat digestive issues:
- Tea bags with probiotics added: Green tea is a popular tea variety with added probiotics, but several herbal teas with probiotics are available too.
- Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea that has had a beneficial bacteria culture added to it. This leads to a tangy and slightly carbonated drink. Kombucha is a healthy tea option for those who prefer their tea cold.
Establishing a health level of beneficial bacteria in your GI tract can go a long way towards improving your general digestion. With self-care and maintenance of healthy habits like drinking digestion-friendly teas on a regular basis, you may find yourself dealing with digestive problems less and less.
Drink Tea for Digestive Health
Several varieties of tea are good for your digestion, so try out a few of them to see which one is most effective for you.
Try drinking the teas recommended above whenever you have an upset stomach or just as a preventative measure, and you might be surprised at how much your digestion improves over time.