Can I Drink Black Tea On An Empty Stomach? [Caution]

I am one of those people who loves tea and who consumes tea every day. But one thing I experienced was that when I drink black tea on an empty stomach, I experience nausea. This is when I really need to know if there is anything wrong with consuming black tea on an empty stomach. If I know that, I can enjoy a fresh cup of black tea in the morning without worrying.

Is it okay to drink black tea on an empty stomach?

Yes, you can drink black tea on an empty stomach. However, it can cause nausea or acidity in the stomach if your gut’s sensitivity to tea is high. If you have a less sensitive stomach, you will be completely okay with black tea on an empty stomach; otherwise, avoid drinking black tea in the morning.

Why black tea cause nausea?

When I drink black tea on an empty stomach, I feel nauseous. Not only myself, but you might also have experienced this feeling after drinking black tea on an empty stomach. 


The reason is that black tea has a compound called tannins[1]K. T. Chung, T. Y. Wong, C. I. Wei, Y. W. Huang, and Y. Lin, “Tannins and human health: A review,” Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr., vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 421–464, 1998, doi: 10.1080/10408699891274273.[2]J. M. Landau, J. D. Lambert, and C. S. Yang, “Green Tea,” in Nutritional Oncology, Elsevier Inc., 2006, pp. 597–606.. Tannins give the bitter and dry taste that you feel after drinking tea. Black tea is the most significant source of tannins from many different tea types, whereas green tea has the lowest amount.

People with a sensitive digestive system will react to tannins more and will experience nausea. But those who are not susceptible to tannins that much will not experience nausea and can drink black tea without a problem.

So, in my opinion, drinking black tea on an empty stomach does not harm you if you are one of those people who does not feel nauseated.  

How can I avoid feeling nauseated after drinking black tea on an empty stomach? 

There are some things that you can do to avoid feeling nauseated after drinking black tea. You can add some milk to your tea.

When you add some milk to your black tea, Milk proteins and carbohydrates will bind together. Therefore adding milk will minimize the irritations caused to your digestive system by tannins[3]G. Hussain et al., “Putative roles of plant-derived tannins in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatry disorders: An updated review,” Molecules, vol. 24, no. 12. MDPI AG, Jun. 13, 2019, doi: 10.3390/molecules24122213.

Also, you can avoid nausea by limiting the number of teacups you drink at one time. Because people with more sensitive digestive systems experience nausea just by drinking 1-2 cups of black tea. But other people will not share any adverse effects even when they drink 5 cups of tea. 

Apart from being appalled, there are two more disadvantages of having a cup of black tea the first thing in the morning.

  1. Reducing the iron absorption from meals by tannins

Tannins in black tea or any other tea can lower the amount of iron we absorb from meals[4]N. M. Delimont, M. D. Haub, and B. L. Lindshield, “The impact of tannin consumption on iron bioavailability and status: A narrative review,” Current Developments in Nutrition, vol. 1, no. 2. Oxford University Press, pp. 1–12, Feb. 01, 2017, doi: 10.3945/cdn.116.000042.. This usually happens if you drink black tea on an empty stomach and then eat your breakfast after drinking that energizing black tea.

Reducing iron absorption happens because tannins in tea bind with iron that we take from our meal. This occurs mostly to irons we receive from plant sources such as dark green leafy vegetables.

Binding iron with tannins is not a massive issue for people who already have healthy iron levels. Still, tea can affect people with low iron levels.

How not disrupt iron absorption?

What you can do is leave a 2-hour gap between your tea time and main meal. This way, tannins in black tea will not interfere with iron absorption.

  1. Heartburn

Drinking black tea on an empty stomach can cause heartburn. Heartburn can happen due to caffeine in tea, usually by consuming a large amount of tea.

Drinking too much caffeine can send acids in the stomach to the esophagus by relaxing the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach[5]S. Lohsiriwat, N. Puengna, and S. Leelakusolvong, “Effect of caffeine on lower esophageal sphincter pressure in Thai healthy volunteers,” Dis. Esophagus, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 183–188, Jun. 2006, doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2006.00562.x.. Caffeine can also increase acid production in the stomach. 

How to avoid heartburn?

If you are consuming tea in large quantities on an empty stomach or at other times of the day, you might feel heartburn.

But some people will not experience heartburn even when they drink large quantities because their response to food is different from others. 

If you are a person who feels heartburn after drink black tea, we suggest consuming less amount of black tea at a time good for you.

So, What is the best time to drink black tea?

Here is the thing, you can drink black tea on an empty stomach if you do not feel nauseated.

You might also have seen many people who drink black tea on an empty stomach without any problem.

It’s your choice to drink black tea on an empty stomach considering your sensitiveness.

black tea

Another best time to drink black tea is two hours before or after the main meal. This is to avoid the reduction in iron absorption. You can drink your tea with some snacks such as a granola bar or a cookie. 

Although drinking a cup of black tea on an empty stomach has these downsides, there are many health benefits of drinking black tea.

Not only downsides, there are a lot of benefits

You will get these benefits when you drink black tea on an empty stomach or at any time. Following are 9 health benefits of drinking black tea;

  1. Black tea is rich in antioxidants and will prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes[6]A. Rietveld and S. Wiseman, “Antioxidant effects of tea: Evidence from human clinical trials,” in Journal of Nutrition, Oct. 2003, vol. 133, no. 10, doi: 10.1093/jn/133.10.3285s.
  2. Black tea is good for heart health because of the flavonoids in black tea[7]E. J. Gardner, C. H. S. Ruxton, and A. R. Leeds, “Black tea – Helpful or harmful? A review of the evidence,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 61, no. 1. Eur J Clin Nutr, pp. 3–18, Jan. 2007, doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602489..
  3. Some studies have found that tea can lower LDL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol[8]M. J. Davies et al., “Black tea consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults,” in Journal of Nutrition, Oct. 2003, vol. 133, no. 10, doi: 10.1093/jn/133.10.3298s..
  4. Black tea increases the growth of good bacteria in our gut and inhibits harmful bacteria’s growth in the intestine[9]D. Hervert-Hernández and I. Goñi, “Dietary polyphenols and human gut microbiota: A review,” Food Rev. Int., vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 154–169, Apr. 2011, doi: 10.1080/87559129.2010.535233.
  5. Some researchers have found that black tea can lower blood pressure[10]M. Hodgson, V. Burke, and I. B. Puddey, “Acute effects of tea on fasting and postprandial vascular function and blood pressure in humans,” J. Hypertens., vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 47–54, 2005, doi: 10.1097/00004872-200501000-00012.
  6. Black tea can also lower the risk of stroke. People who are drinking more than 3 cups of black tea per day have a 21% reduced risk of stroke than people who consume less than one cup of black tea per day. However, you must be cautious about how many cups of tea that you drink[11]S. C. Larsson, J. Virtamo, and A. Wolk, “Black tea consumption and risk of stroke in women and men,” Ann. Epidemiol., vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 157–160, Mar. 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.12.006..
  7. Black tea can lower blood glucose levels[12]R. A. Anderson and M. M. Polansky, “Tea enhances insulin activity,” J. Agric. Food Chem., vol. 50, no. 24, pp. 7182–7186, Nov. 2002, doi: 10.1021/jf020514c..
  8. Some studies have found that drinking black tea can prevent cancer[13]T. Der Way, H. H. Lee, M. C. Kao, and J. K. Lin, “Black tea polyphenol theaflavins inhibit aromatase activity and attenuate tamoxifen resistance in HER2/neu-transfected human breast cancer cells through tyrosine kinase suppression,” Eur. J. Cancer, vol. 40, no. 14, pp. 2165–2174, Sep. 2004, doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2004.06.018.
  9. Black tea might increase your focus and attention[14]Bryan, “Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: Caffeine and L-theanine,” Nutrition Reviews, vol. 66, no. 2. Nutr Rev, pp. 82–90, Feb. 2008, doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.00011.x.

What are the other drinks that are good to drink on an empty stomach?

As long as you don’t feel nauseated after drinking black tea, there will be no harm in consuming black tea on an empty stomach. Following are 5 drinks that you can sip on an empty stomach.

  1.  Water: Water can provide you with hydration. It will also flush out the toxins that have built up while we are sleeping.
  2. Lemon water: lemon juice will give you most of the vitamin C you need throughout the day.
  3. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) water: Although this is an uncommon choice, ACV can boost your metabolism. One tablespoon of ACV for one glass of water will be the right choice.
  4. Green tea: green tea is a good source of antioxidants, and it can boost your metabolism. It may also help to burn body fat.
  5. Vegetable juice: This will make the fatigue go away. You can make juice from leafy greens such as kale and spinach.


In conclusion, drinking black tea on an empty stomach will not harm you. If you do not feel nauseated, then you can drink it in the morning.

However, if you feel nauseous, avoid drinking it first thing in the morning.

Instead, you can opt for some other healthy drink other than black tea as the morning drinks such as water, lemon water, apple cider vinegar, green tea, and vegetable juice.