Tea and Gut Health

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Noonie
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:06 pm

I've read several times on different sub-forums here about how tea can positively or negatively impact your gut/stomach. I would like to better understand the reasons for this, possible impact from different types of tea, etc.

I don't have the best bowels (won't go any further! lol), and I think it kind of runs in the family because my wacky family on my mom's side loves talking about these things.

I see a nutritionist/natural path for this and I've had a food sensitivity test done (tests for inflammation from over 100 foods). I unfortunately have many foods in the 'red' zone so it does show the sensitivity of my gut. Green and black tea were also tested, but I don't rely on that to account for all the variations of tea we know of. And the person I see isn't a tea expert at all, so had never heard of pu'erh, let along know the difference between your and aged sheng.

Over the years I've drank many different types of tea. I've never had a reaction on a consistent basis from any type of tea. But that's not to say that some of these don't actually bother me, or do slow damage to my stomach lining or something...it's that I have a bunch of other foods that cause me issues and it's very difficult to determine what food/beverage may be causing some bloating, pains or other gut and stomach issues.

I've read or come across favourable comments about shou pu'erh, aged oolong, and aged sheng. Young sheng sticks out as having negative comments (I have it a few times a week, though I've went months without and had the same issues on/off during that time).

Anyway - whether you know the science, may have a similarly sensitive gut like me and wish to share your experience, or have links you can point me to...any help is welcomed :mrgreen:
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Shine Magical
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Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:09 pm

Based on my experience, if a person has a sensitive stomach I wouldn’t recommend they drink tea at all. I think it’s a stronger drink than most give it credit for.
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TeaTotaling
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Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:23 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:09 pm
Based on my experience, if a person has a sensitive stomach I wouldn’t recommend they drink tea at all. I think it’s a stronger drink than most give it credit for.
To each their own.

Tea is high in tannins. Possibly, drinking it after a meal might be beneficial. Less leaf, higher water ratio might help.

My only recommendation is to do your own research, look at the facts, and seek the truth.

Break the conditioning, it's enlightening.
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StoneLadle
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:06 am

Vegans I've heard, take to tea badly... But Buddhist monks, don't.. perhaps there are more fermented food stuffs in the Asian diet leading to better gut bacteria overall...

And by fermented, things like ham, bacon, smoked salmon, dry aged beef... All good... Especially when combined with more fermented stuff like soy sauce... Cheese... Kimchi...

There's something weird going on here and I blame raw young PE muahahahaaa
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cbrace
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:40 am

StoneLadle wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:06 am
And by fermented, things like ham, bacon, smoked salmon, dry aged beef... All good... Especially when combined with more fermented stuff like soy sauce... Cheese... Kimchi...
There's some confusing information here. Bacon and the other meat products you mention are not fermented; they are cured with various kinds of salt, and that is a different process.

Soy sauce and cheese are fermented, but the are aged, and by the time you consume they have few if any remaining active cultures. The fermentation process is used primarily for flavor and conservation.

Kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir are fermented products that usually are consumed fresh, and hence contain large quantities of active lactic acid cultures, the consumption of which is widely believed to be highly beneficial to gut health. I for one consume one or more of these foods every day.

Now, regarding the questions raised in the OP. As I'm sure you know, we are all slightly different biologically, our bodies react slightly differently to different foods. If you are working with a holistic doctor to improve your particular situation, what you and your practitioner are learning about the way your particular digestive system currently works would probably be more useful than anecdotal information shared by others here. There are protocols (GAPS, SIBO) for determing by process of elimination the foods that "disagree" with you. By temporarily avoiding them you should be able to rebuild your digestive health and slowly reintroduce them. Whatever genetic dispositions you may have need not be seen as wholly deterministic. If you are allergic to certain foods, that probably can't be changed, but that should not stand in the way of developing excellent gut health, IMO. It's a question of time and dedication.

I would recommend browsing some of the articles by functional medicine practitioner Chris Kresser: The Gut Microbiome.

Good luck with your quest.
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StoneLadle
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:14 am

oh yes you're right, i missed out on the word cured when i was talking about such foods from the western pantheon... you can't really ferment meat after all.... but curing does make it more easy to digest, unless you eat a ton of bacon each day, which I'd love to do... sorry about the confusion, but i was typing on my phone and I really should use the preview function more...

active or not i don't know, but soy sauce continues to age and develop in the bottle... as does cheese... so... dunno where you coming from there... is there a kill ferment process similar to kill green?


i received most of my dietary guidelines as kid growing up in Malaysia in an ethnic Chinese household and do not really look to the west for information on such matters but find the confusion quite entertaining... food fads are fascinating, and in particular health foods, i mean, the west can't even decide if eggs are bad for you or not and one moment sodium no good, one moment good... i'll just forego the crap and just remember what I been told...
carogust
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:24 am

Sometimes fermented products (yogurt, crappy sauerkraut) are pasteurized (heating the product up), which kills the bacteria. IDK if this is done with soy sauce, but it might/should say on the package. Heating the soy sauce up during cooking has the same effect.

Fermented products typically peak in their microbe amounts, and I believe soy sauce, yogurt and such are well past that point. Changes in taste might be due to other processes, like oxidation etc.
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wave_code
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:00 am

cbrace wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:40 am
Soy sauce and cheese are fermented, but the are aged, and by the time you consume they have few if any remaining active cultures. The fermentation process is used primarily for flavor and conservation.

Kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir are fermented products that usually are consumed fresh, and hence contain large quantities of active lactic acid cultures, the consumption of which is widely believed to be highly beneficial to gut health. I for one consume one or more of these foods every day.
I'm certainly no expert, but having dealt with a lot of non-gut specific but systemic chronic health issues and having spent quite some time getting things sorted out, I will say diet had a very important impact. I find foods which are fermented, regardless of whether the fermentation is followed by aging or is still full of active cultures, are much better for me. I eat a lot of things like miso, kimchi, tofu, tempeh, soy sauce, lots of legumes, keep dairy on the reasonable/low side mainly consuming cheese, very very little to no meat especially pork, local farm eggs, not so much processed wheat like cheap dried pasta and store bought bread, so on... as for things which involve fermentation or some sort of similar microbial process or even just preserved and aged foods, I did feel like they were both easier on my body and generally made me feel better - I think part of this could be that the more foods like that I ate the more low quality and processed foods they would replace in my diet too. Not to mention I find they taste better :D Say eating a dish made out of tofu vs eating a highly processed soy burger- the fermented tofu I find gets on with me just fine, and while a soy burger won't make me sick it does make me feel overly full and sluggish, as one might expect eating a giant pile of wheat gluten would. But of course we are all different.

I do think with all of that though its no surprise I prefer fermented and older teas- liu bao, shu, old sheng, other hei cha. I find they agree with my body better than some other teas. While finding the really good and interesting versions of them aren't as easy maybe try looking into some more non-green Japanese teas. I've also found them to be favorites that also work well for me. While some of it isn't tea in the strict definition like buckwheat tea, there seem to be a lot of options that are macrobiotic friendly if you want to try going down that road. I believe things like sannenbancha and types of kukicha are also often aged for a few years - I don't know if any sort of actual microbial activity occurs there or not, or if its just a traditional thing, if theres any real change in flavor, or if it is strictly to meet macrobiotic or other dietary requirements.
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StoneLadle
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:48 am

@wave_code my kind of diet yo!!

I just ate a pile of fish , raw and cooked, with a pile of kimchee and site fried cabbage and a heavy dose of sweet potato shochu and looking forwards to some 80s raw 7582 when I get home!! Power!!
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StoneLadle
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:49 am

Jesus I hate auto correct on my phone... Stir fried, stir fried... S T I R... using this opportunity to train my keyboard... Stir stir stir
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TeaTotaling
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Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:19 am

StoneLadle wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:14 am
i mean, the west can't even decide if eggs are bad for you or not and one moment sodium no good, one moment good... i'll just forego the crap and just remember what I been told...
There is a strong cognitive dissonance hovering over the USA. It affects humanity as a whole, some break free and discover the truth, others blindly follow the blind. If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch.

Generally, I find the struggle in the US to be facilitated by corporations, mainstream/social media, and sellouts.

People are sold Lipton Tea as a healthy beverage, and told eggs and salt are unhealthy. It just requires a little more research on the individuals part. One might come to find sourcing plays a vital role in product quality, and health potential.

Also, Western cuisine and medicine are not designed to keep people healthy. In the midst of a "pandemic" I rarely hear the importance of supporting one's own immune system. Such a novel idea. Clean food and water, vitamins and minerals promote health. Synthetic treatments do not.
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joelbct
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Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:12 pm

StoneLadle wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:06 am
Vegans I've heard, take to tea badly...
Where did you hear that?

I've been vegan since 2003, and a daily tea drinker since 2001.

Never had the least problem from either, in fact quite the opposite- nothing goes down better after a hearty meal of rice and legumes or tofu, and soy sauce, hot sauce, curries, olive oil, etc, than a good cup of tea.

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, and most of the world's population subsists primarily on plant staples, so it would be surprising if the two were in any way maladaptive.

As for actual strong scientific evidence on tea and health, there isn't much. Lots of research gets conducted, though, and there's certainly tons of anecdote and marketing.
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StoneLadle
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Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:43 pm

@joelbct not sure because I really don't pay attention much to them. I'm glad you're ok.
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