ICMR advises avoiding Tea or Coffee before and after meals

ICMR advises avoiding Tea or Coffee before and after meals

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised avoiding tea or coffee one hour before and after meals due to their caffeine content and the presence of tannins. The ICMR, along with its research wing, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), included this recommendation in their latest set of 17 dietary guidelines for a balanced and healthy diet.

Caffeine, found in tea and coffee, stimulates the central nervous system and can lead to physiological dependence. A cup of brewed coffee contains 80–120mg of caffeine, instant coffee has 50–65mg, and tea contains 30–65mg. The ICMR suggests moderating consumption to keep caffeine intake below 300mg per day.

Tannins in tea and coffee can interfere with iron absorption in the body. When consumed close to meal times, tannins bind to iron in the digestive tract, forming a complex that the body finds harder to absorb. This can lead to decreased iron levels, potentially causing iron deficiency and related conditions like anemia. Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, breathlessness, headaches, weakness, rapid heartbeat, pale skin, ice cravings, brittle nails, and hair loss.

Additionally, the ICMR noted that drinking tea without milk can promote blood circulation and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and stomach cancer. However, high levels of coffee consumption are linked to high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.

The ICMR’s other dietary recommendations include reducing oil, consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and seafood, avoiding protein supplements, and limiting sugar and salt intake.

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