Avoid Tea, Coffee Before And After Meals, Says ICMR | Know Why

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)'s recent guidelines did not suggest a complete cut down on tea or coffee. Instead, it asked everyone to stay cautious about the caffeine and tannin content in these beverages. Tannin is capable of meddling with iron absorption in the body while a higher level of caffeine can cause high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat.

Representational Image | Photo: PTI

Releasing a series of 17 dietary guidelines for Indians, the top medical research body of the nation, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently has pushed the citizens towards following a balanced and diverse diet along with healthy living.

Amongst the guidelines, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), a research wing under ICMR, explained that the consumption of tea and coffee should be kept in moderation. Furthermore, they have asked everyone to avoid having coffee and tea at least one hour before and after a meal.

Guidelines on tea, coffee: What did ICMR say?

Consdiering the popularity of both the hot beverages amongst Indians, the ICMR warned people against having them right before or after a meal."Tea and coffee contain caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system and induces physiological dependence," the ICMR researchers wrote.

However, the guideline did not suggest a complete cut down on tea or coffee. Instead, it asked everyone to stay cautious about the caffeine content in these beverages.

"Moderation in tea and coffee consumption is advised so that caffeine intake does not exceed the tolerable limits (300mg/day)," they wrote, stating the daily limit of caffeine a person can have.

Tannin in tea, and coffee affects iron absorption

Besides caffeine, the reason behind the direction is the presence of a compound called tannin in the beverages which is capable of meddling with iron absorption in the body.

Tannin has the potential to bind to iron in the digestive tract to form a complex that is harder for the body to absorb which in turn affects the absorption rate of iron that enters your bloodstream from the conusmed food.

A decreased rate of iron absorption leads to iron availability in your body which in turn interferes wit the process of making haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Besides haemoglobin production, iron also plays an important role in energy production and overall cell function. Lower iron levels can lead to iron deficiency and conditions like anemia.

High consumption of coffee is also associated with high blood pressure and abnormalities in heartbeat

The ICMR guidelines also stated that having tea without milk can have added health benefits like promoting blood circulation and can help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and stomach cancer.