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Green Tea and IBS: Effectiveness, Benefits & Side Effects on IBS

Green tea is one of the widely consumed herbal teas worldwide due to its refreshing taste, detoxifying properties, and antioxidant abilities. It is clinically proven to help a wide range of health conditions.

But, is green tea a good match for irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS?

Green tea is generally considered safe for intestine and bowel health because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But green tea also contains variable amounts of caffeine and tannins, both of which can irritate the stomach and lead to IBS flare-ups. Therefore, drinking green tea in excess, when you have bowel disorders, can worsen the symptoms of IBS.

Read this guide, in which you will find information about how green tea can help or be harmful for people with IBS, and which version of green tea is best for bowel disorders.

Table of Content

Is Green Tea IBS-Friendly?

IBS

Green tea is generally safe and possibly therapeutic for people suffering from IBS. It has a unique profile of uncommon plant-based nutrients and minerals, including catechins, polyphenols, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), flavonoids, potent antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins. These nutrients work individually and in conjunction to improve bowel movement.

Sipping a cup of hot green tea daily helps reduce gut inflammation, heal the erosions in the gastrointestinal lining, prevent IBS flare-ups, and generally reduce IBS symptoms. You may find that you get better control over your IBS symptoms. These benefits of green tea have been shown by scientific research (1) (2).

Nevertheless, green tea also contains some caffeine and tannins, which, when consumed in excess, may cause bowel irritability and irritation of the digestive lining, contributing to an increase in IBS symptoms.

As a whole, green tea is safe and effective for helping manage IBS symptoms, but you should always consume it in moderation.

Does Green Tea Contain Caffeine?

green-tea-and-ibs

Green tea contains caffeine, but its caffeine content is much less than black tea or coffee. Compared to coffee, which contains 95-165 mg of caffeine in 8 ounces, green tea contains 30-50 mg per 8 ounces. It provides a mild stimulant and energetic effect but is less likely to cause negative effects in people sensitive to caffeine.

Is Green Tea High or Low FODMAP?

Green tea is a low-FODMAP beverage. Green tea facilitates bowel movements and aids in better absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract.

fodmap

Why Should You Avoid Green Tea If You Have IBS?

Caffeine and tannins in green tea may trigger IBS symptoms in some patients. Although there is only a small amount of caffeine in green tea, some people are very sensitive to caffeine and these people may find that green tea triggers IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, or a ”weird” sensation of discomfort in the stomach.

Not sure how it works? Let me make it easier for you:

Green Tea and Diarrhea

Green tea is generally safe for people suffering from diarrhea, but when consumed in large quantities, this results in the intake of a large amount of caffeine. This can cause diarrhea in some people with IBS. Symptoms can include a rumbling sound in the stomach, watery stools, dehydration, and fatigue (3).

Green Tea Can Irritate Your Bowel

Green tea can sometimes irritate your bowel. This tea contains tannins, which can affect the absorption of various nutrients from the intestine. Malabsorption of food contributes to constipation (hardening of stools causing pain or delay in defecation).

Green Tea Can Flare Up IBS Symptoms

Drinking more than 4 cups of green tea per day can aggravate IBS symptoms. However, if you drink decaffeinated green tea, it is less likely to trigger your IBS symptoms.

Green Tea Can Raise Stomach Acidity

Green tea contains tannins, which can trigger the stomach to secrete more acid. The highly acidic environment in the stomach can irritate the stomach lining, causing heartburn, inflammation, and indigestion.

Do All Types of Green Tea Make IBS Worse? 

As a matter of fact, there are a number of kinds of green tea available in the market. Some contain higher amounts of antioxidants, caffeine, or nutrients, while others lack these compounds.

Highly processed green tea is generally not recommended for people with IBS, but some versions, such as decaf green tea and matcha tea, are incredibly beneficial for people with IBS symptoms.

Variations of Green TeaNormal Green TeaMatcha Green TeaMint Green TeaJasmine Green TeaDecaf Green TeaGreen Tea Extract
Caffeine Content (1 regular cup)30-50 mg38–176 mg12-30 mg15 – 60 mg2 mg600 mg
Does it have Tannin?Yes (high amount)Yes (high amount)Yes (high amount)Yes (relatively moderate amount)Yes (low amount)Yes (high amount)
VerdictSafe for IBS in moderationOkay for IBSGood for IBSSafe and effective for IBS conditionsExcellent for IBS and digestion healthOnly safe in moderate amounts

Is Matcha Green Tea Good for IBS?

matcha-green-tea

Matcha is the finely ground form of high-quality and fully grown processed green tea leaves. Matcha green tea promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria and provides an anti-inflammatory effect on the stomach and intestinal lining, helping ease the symptoms of IBS.

However, we recommend you limit your consumption because it also contains caffeine, which can be negative for intestinal health.

Is Mint Green Tea Good for IBS?

Mint green tea is good for IBS conditions. It acts as an antispasmodic agent [helps to control involuntary stomach movements (cramps, spasms, pain)].

Drinking a cup of mint tea helps significantly relax the gut sphincter, preventing gas buildup in the gut and increasing burping, which helps to manage the IBS symptoms and prevent a recurrence.

Is Jasmine Green Tea Good for IBS?

Jasmine green tea is good and safe for IBS conditions. Unlike mint or matcha tea, it has a relatively lower amount of caffeine while being rich in powerful antioxidants. It helps digestion and healing of the digestive lining. Moreover, jasmine green tea is highly anti-inflammatory, which helps to soothe the intestine lining and ease bowel movement.

Is Decaf Green Tea Good for IBS?

Decaffeinated green tea is considered good for gut health. Decaf green tea is a caffeine-free (still containing small content of caffeine) version of tea. It is lower in nutritional profile than regular green tea, but it helps the stomach promote digestion and ease bowel movements.

As for IBS, decaffeinated green tea will not cause any problems. Instead, it helps to ease its symptoms. Nevertheless, always choose high-quality decaf green tea for IBS cure and gut health.

Is Green Tea Extract Good for IBS?

green tea extract for IBS treatment

Taking green tea extracts in the tea may help relieve the IBS symptoms and promote stomach health. Extracts of green tea leaves are usually available as tablets, capsules, or liquids. It drives directly from the green tea leaves, with a concentrated composition of polyphenols, antioxidants, and other nutrients. It readily dissolves in your body and gives you benefits.

How Much Green Tea Can You Take in a Day with IBS?

Generally, it is safe to drink 8 cups of green tea in a day. However, if you are diagnosed with IBS, gastritis, or a chronic stomach condition, you should reduce your intake to 4 cups (3) or 2 cups for better precautions.

How Much Green Tea for Pregnant Women Per Day?

A pregnant lady should limit her caffeine content to 200 mg per day. In this case, she can drink 1 or 2 cups of green tea in a day.

Moreover, note that soft drinks, chocolates, tea, coffee, and some medicines contain caffeine. So, make sure to track your caffeine intake while you’re pregnant.

Best Tea to Drink When You Have IBS 

Besides green tea, chamomile tea, turmeric tea, and peppermint tea also help to ease IBS symptoms. Here is a quick lookup of the best tea for digestion health and their effect on the stomach.

TeasPeppermint TeaAnise TeaFennel TeaChamomile TeaTurmeric TeaGreen Tea
Caffeine ContentCaffeine-freeCaffeine-freeCaffeine-freeCaffeine-freeCaffeine-freeModerate to High
Tannin ContentLowLowLowLowLowModerate to High
VerdictGood for IBSHelps IBSOkay for IBSExcellent for IBSOkay for IBSOkay in moderation 
benefits-of-green-tea

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint oil or herbal tea is an effective remedy for many stomach difficulties. It is clinically proven to help manage symptoms of IBS, reduce flare-ups, and facilitate bowel movements (4).

Peppermint tea acts as an antispasmodic agent that helps bowel muscles so that stools can pass more easily. Moreover, it helps to reduce bloating, indigestion, flatulence, abdominal pain, and other gastrointestinal conditions.

Anise Tea

Anise tea or anise extract is helpful in the treatment of constipation related to IBS. It is packed with essential micronutrients and antioxidants.

It helps reduce stomach acidity and provides an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut lining, which protects the gut from erosive damage and facilitates stool movement. In addition, it helps treat stomach cramps, heartburn symptoms, indigestion, and ulcer.

Fennel Tea

Fennel tea is good for easing the symptoms of IBS and promoting gut health (4). It is traditionally used to help with bloating related to IBS and to facilitate defecation in adults.

Fennel tea is available in stores as pre-made tea bags. The nutritional profile of fennel tea is also better than green tea.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is exceptionally good for IBS diarrhea, pain, constipation, nausea, and bloating. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea after every meal accelerates bowel movement and acts as a relaxant for the intestinal and rectum muscles.

However, it is relatively high in FODMAP agents. Therefore, it is better to consult your physician or dietitian before adding chamomile tea to your IBS-friendly diet.

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric is generally used as a spice or taken as a dietary supplement capsule. But, you can also use it to make tea. Turmeric tea has a healing effect on IBS and other stomach disorders.

With the regular consumption of turmeric tea or turmeric capsules, you can experience significant relief in stomach pain, constipation, irritable bowel movement, and stomach discomfort.

How Do I Get My IBS to Calm Down?

IBS-remedies

Following are the few best methods to calm the IBS flare-ups and alleviate symptoms:

  • Drink a non-caffeinated beverage
  • Give your tummy a gentle heat (preferably with a heating pad, or bottle with hot water)
  • Walk swiftly for 10 minutes
  • Try to relax either with yoga, or other activity
  • Stay away from the IBS-triggering food and drinks
  • Take prescription medicines to lower your pain or to thin out the feces content in the bowel.

FAQs

How Can I Cure IBS Permanently?

IBS cannot be cured permanently because it is a chronic incurable disorder. However, you can manage its symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes. Also, there are many prescription and over-the-counter medicines which can help improve your IBS symptoms.

Can I Drink Green Tea for Constipation?

Yes, you can drink green tea for constipation. It helps to relax your intestinal muscles, relieve stomach cramps, and soften stools, easing bowel movement.

Will Green Tea Make Me Stay Awake?

Yes, green tea can make you stay awake. Green tea contains caffeine in small amounts, which helps you to stay awake when consumed in large amounts. However, please do not rely on green tea to keep you awake if you are feeling fatigued while driving or operating heavy machinery.

How Much Green Tea for People with Anxiety Per Day?

People with anxiety or stress can drink up to 4 to 6 cups of green tea daily. However, exceeding this limit may increase anxiety as green tea does contain a significant amount of caffeine.

Why Does Sweet Tea Exacerbate My Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Sweet tea may exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome because sugar triggers IBS flare-ups and exaggerates its symptoms. Therefore, it is better to avoid sugar or take it in moderation if you have IBS.

What Will Happen if I Drink Green Tea Every Day?

Green tea is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and essential minerals, which help fight the effects of free radicals, may help you lose weight, improve digestion, and promote overall wellness.

Conclusion

I hope by now you know how green tea and IBS interact with each other. Green tea has traditionally been used for helping manage a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions.

However, don’t drink it in excess, as some of its contents may irritate your gut lining and cause aggravation of your IBS symptoms.

That’s all for today!

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