We’re just about a month into summer now and it’s pretty much the peak of iced tea season. In the United States, iced tea still makes up the overwhelming majority of tea consumed. Of course, that’s with good reason, as you surely know if you’ve ever downed a glass or five on a sweltering day.
So it’s all good, right? We’re cleared to spend the summer swilling as much iced tea as our little stomachs can possibly hold? Well, apparently this might not be the case for everyone. Now, if you’ve followed the news about all of the many and diverse health benefits attributed to tea (many of them published in these very pages) you might have formed the impression that tea is a miracle elixir that can do no harm.
The miracle elixir part might be overstating things a bit and tea is probably not likely to do you much harm – unless you’re prone to kidney stones. Now before you go rushing to the tea cabinet to destroy everything, a few clarifications are in order.
First of all, if you’re a woman, you’re less likely to be affected by the malaise of kidney stones, regardless of the cause. If you’re a man in your forties or older, then you’re in one of the highest risk groups. You should also keep in mind that it’s primarily the iced variety that’s the cause of tea-related kidney stones and, by some accounts, it’s primarily black tea that’s the most risky.
So do you rush to the refrigerator now and toss out all of your iced tea? Speaking as a nearly 50-year old male who drinks a considerable amount of black tea year-round and has never been plagued with a kidney stone (knock wood), I’d have to say not so fast, though a measure of caution is always in order. It’s helpful to stay well hydrated in general and lemons, whether in your tea or however you take them, have been found to be helpful in reducing the risk of kidney stones.
For other ideas on how to avoid this painful malady and for more on the tea/kidney stone connection, refer to this article.
Make sure to check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks. It’s much more pleasurable than passing a kidney stone!