Green tea contains many compounds which are beneficial for your health, including antioxidants. In addition, green tea has been used as a natural treatment for a number of health conditions, including sunburns, overweight and cholesterol level control. While moderate amounts of green tea are generally considered safe, green tea can interact with certain medications. These include contraceptives like birth control pills.
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Green Tea Benefits
Green tea is different from other varieties of tea, including the more traditional black tea. Because green tea is made from the tea leaves before they are fermented, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it contains more polyphenols than other varieties of tea. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant, which may fight the negative effects of free radicals on the body. According to UMMC, the average cup of green tea contains between 50 to 150 mg of antioxidants. Green tea also contains another coveted substance: caffeine. The average amount of caffeine in a cup of tea, according to the March of Dimes, is 48 mg. However, this amount can vary based on the brand and type of tea, as well as how it is prepared.
Caffeine and Fertility
Caffeine may affect fertility. While this may not be of concern if you are using birth control, it could be a potential issue in the long run. According to the March of Dimes, moderate amounts of caffeine, or under 300 mg daily, should not negatively affect your fertility. In other words, once you are ready to start a family, the green tea you consumed while on birth control should not pose a problem unless you drank it excessively. About 10 cups or more of green tea daily, equaling 500 mg or more of caffeine per day could pose future fertility problems, according to the research reviewed by March of Dimes.
Green Tea and Birth Control
Caffeine is not only a fertility issue. While caffeine will not impact the effectiveness of your birth control pills, your birth control pills may alter the way caffeine is used by your body. According to UMMC, taking birth control pills can increase the effects caffeine has on your body. In other words, that cup of green tea may act more like a cup of coffee, which has more caffeine than tea. In addition, the caffeine from green tea may stay in your body longer than it normally would if you take birth control pills. The possible side effects of too much green tea consumption when you take birth control pills include jitteriness and a rapid heartbeat. These symptoms can persist longer than normal if the caffeine does not exit your body in the usual time frame.
Despite the caffeine issue, you don’t have to limit your green tea consumption when you take birth control pills. You can still reap the same benefits by choosing lower caffeine or caffeine-free varieties, and by moderating your intake. In fact, UMMC recommends those choosing green tea for its health benefits opt for decaf. The issues relating to caffeine also relate to hormonal birth control, such as pills or the patch. Other types of birth control, such as barrier methods, don’t require you to monitor your caffeine intake any more than you normally would. For more specific guidelines on using green tea while you are on birth control, talk to your doctor.