There's nothing like sipping a hot cup of green tea: It's soothing, delicious and can give you a much-needed bump of energy. But sometimes the caffeinated drink can lead to bowel issues — indeed, green tea does make you poop sometimes.
Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and has potential health benefits like improved alertness and possible protection against heart disease, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
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These perks are in part due to tea's polyphenols, which are micronutrients packed with antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage, according to a July 2015 review in Inflammopharmacology. And caffeine is behind green tea's ability to enhance your alertness, per the NCCIH.
But the caffeine and certain added ingredients can lead to toilet troubles — in other words, green tea may make you poop.
So, why does green tea make you poop? Here's a breakdown of all your questions about how the brew affects your bowels, including whether green tea or matcha is a laxative, green tea and constipation and if the drink can make your poop a green color.
Does Green Tea Make You Poop?
The short answer is yes, green tea can make you poop.
One potential culprit: Caffeine. It's a bitter substance that occurs naturally in plants like tea leaves, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system to make you feel more awake. But for some people, the caffeine in coffee or tea also makes you poop, per the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD).
Although green tea doesn't have as much caffeine as coffee, it still contains some, ranging from 14 to 60 milligrams per 8-ounce cup (compared to 95 to 200 milligrams per cup of coffee).
While tea and matcha do make you poop sometimes, it can also be the ingredients you add to your drink that are to blame for your trip to the bathroom. For instance, adding artificial sweeteners like sorbitol can trigger diarrhea for some people, according to the IFFGD. And making your tea with milk or cream may likewise cause diarrhea if you have lactose intolerance.
On the flip side, it's possible that decaffeinated green tea is good for constipation, according to the Penn State College of Medicine. That's because drinking plenty of hydrating fluids can soften your stool, and hot drinks may help get your bowels moving.
But although green tea does help you poop, just make sure you're sipping a decaffeinated cup. Too much caffeine can lead to an upset stomach or heartburn, which isn't ideal when you're backed up, per the NLM.
Does Green Tea Cause Constipation?
It's possible that green tea does help with constipation. But can the reverse also be true?
In short, likely not — there's no evidence to show that a cup of green tea can cause constipation.
That said, certain products made from the tea (like green tea extract) may lead to constipation, along with other digestive issues like abdominal discomfort and nausea, according to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.
Does Green Tea Turn Your Poop Green?
If you notice dark green stool after a run to the toilet, you may be wondering what causes green poop.
While there's no evidence to suggest that drinking plain tea can lead to green feces or dark green diarrhea, it's possible that matcha can make your poop green, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
But why, exactly, does matcha make your poop green? Well, the chlorophyll that gives plants (including tea leaves) their color can have the same effect on your stool. This is why vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach can turn poop green, too.
The added food dyes in prepackaged bottles of tea could be another reason why tea makes you poop green, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If you notice green feces along with other digestive symptoms like nausea or vomiting, this may indicate an infection or parasite, like salmonella, E. coli or Giardia, per the Cleveland Clinic. Visit your doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Caffeine"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Green Tea"
- Inflammopharmacology: "Green tea polyphenols and their potential role in health and disease"
- International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: "Common Causes of Chronic Diarrhea"
- Penn State College of Medicine: "Constipation"
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration: "Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss"
- Molecules: "Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Why Is Your Poop Green?"