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12 Best Teas For Gut Health & Digestion

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Tea is rich in polyphenols, which may reduce inflammation and improve the balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. 
  • Types of tea that might boost gut health include green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and herbal teas like peppermint tea. 
  • However, human studies on this subject are lacking, and some types of tea can interact with certain medications.

Tea is the most popular beverage worldwide (after water) and has long been recommended for various health benefits, including better digestion. 

Research shows that certain compounds present in tea can boost gut health and may also help improve chronic digestive symptoms.

Continue reading to learn about the best teas for gut health and how they might ease digestive woes. 

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Is Tea Good for Gut Health?

Tea is rich in polyphenols—beneficial compounds found in plants with antioxidant properties.

Research shows that tea polyphenols can impact gut health in a few ways. 

First, they can improve the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. Second, gut bacteria can digest polyphenols to produce other compounds that benefit digestive health, like short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).

In addition to supporting the gut microbiome, tea may reduce digestive symptoms related to certain health conditions, like irritable bowel disease (IBS).

Types of Teas for Gut Health

There are four primary types of tea that may benefit digestion and gut health:

  • Green tea.
  • Black tea.
  • Oolong tea.
  • Herbal tea.

Green, black, and oolong teas are all made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.

However, the tea leaves are dried and processed in different ways to create each variety.

This can impact the properties of the tea and the types of polyphenols they contain.

Herbal teas can be made from a wide range of plants, consisting of unique compounds and health benefits.

These include teas like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, and dandelion root. 

12 Best Teas for Gut Health and Digestion 

If you want to improve your digestion by drinking more tea, you can find a comprehensive list of the top teas for gut health below. 

Remember to consult your doctor or dietitian prior to making any major changes to your diet. 

1. Green Tea 

Green tea is well-known for its antioxidant properties and health benefits.

It has been shown to decrease inflammation in the digestive tract and may even reduce the risk of colon cancer. 

Research shows that drinking around two cups of green tea daily for two weeks significantly improves the ratio of healthy gut bacteria.

Increasing this to four to five cups of green tea daily has prebiotic benefits, which can help beneficial bacteria in the colon grow. 

2. Black tea

Green tea is more commonly known for its health benefits, but research shows that drinking black tea may have similar effects.

Black tea is rich in certain polyphenols, which are different from the types found in green tea. 

A small 2023 study found that consuming three cups of black tea daily increased the healthy gut bacteria involved in producing butyrate, a compound that improves gut health. 

3. Oolong tea

Similar to black tea, oolong tea can support the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, though more human studies are needed.

The health of the gut microbiome has been linked with metabolism and body weight.

Research suggests that drinking oolong tea may help reduce body fat and improve cholesterol markers in people with obesity.

4. Peppermint Tea 

Peppermint tea is made from the leaves of the peppermint plant and is commonly used in alternative medicine to treat digestive ailments.

Peppermint is thought to help relax the digestive tract, and peppermint oil has been researched as a possible treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

However, human studies on peppermint tea and gut health are limited, and, in some people, drinking peppermint tea may worsen symptoms of acid reflux

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5. Ginger Tea

Ginger root is well-known for its ability to reduce nausea and vomiting.

Ginger tea, made from ginger root, is commonly consumed during pregnancy as an alternative to nausea medications.

Ginger may also support digestion by increasing gastrointestinal (GI) motility and the rate of stomach emptying.

As a result, ginger may help minimize digestive symptoms like upset stomach, gas, and bloating. 

6. Chamomile Tea 

Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal teas worldwide and is made from dried chamomile flowers.

It’s known for its calming effect, but chamomile tea is also used in traditional medicine for treating various digestive concerns. 

Chamomile tea can help relax the muscles of the digestive tract, which may improve GI symptoms such as gas and upset stomach. 

It may also help prevent the growth of H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for many cases of stomach ulcers. 

7. Dandelion Tea 

Dandelions, commonly known as garden weeds, can be made into tea.

The tea can include the whole plant or the leaves or roots alone. 

Dandelions have anti-inflammatory properties and contain compounds that may benefit gut health.

Preliminary research (in animals and test tubes) shows that dandelions can improve symptoms of digestive conditions like ulcerative colitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

8. Fennel Tea 

Seeds from the fennel plant are commonly dried and used as a spice, but they can also be brewed to make fennel tea.

Fennel has long been used as a medicinal herb to treat various digestive ailments.

Research shows fennel oil can improve the quality of life in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Additionally, some countries use fennel as a natural treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

9. Turmeric Tea 

When dried and ground, turmeric root makes a bright yellow spice that can be used to flavor food or to make tea.

Turmeric contains the active compound curcumin

Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make turmeric a possible treatment option for IBS.

A 2022 review found that turmeric may reduce digestive symptoms by up to 60% in adults with IBS.

However, much of the other research on turmeric and digestion has been done on animals. 

10. Cinnamon Tea

Though cinnamon is most commonly used as a spice, it also makes a delicious tea.

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is given as a treatment for IBS in traditional Chinese medicine.

While some people report cinnamon can help decrease abdominal pain related to IBS, this mechanism is not well understood.

Most of the research on cinnamon and digestive health is from animal studies.

11. Matcha Tea

Matcha tea is made by grinding green tea leaves into a powder and whisking it with hot water.

This means you actually consume the tea leaves instead of discarding them like in the case of regular green tea.

As a result, matcha is more nutrient-dense and also contains some fiber. 

A small 2023 study found that drinking matcha tea twice daily for two weeks led to an increase in healthy gut bacteria and a decrease in harmful bacteria.

Participants also had a greater diversity of gut bacteria, another marker of gut health. 

12. Probiotic-Infused Tea

Kombucha, or tea that is fermented after brewing, is a rich source of probiotics often advertised for gut health.

While the research is promising, more human studies are needed to determine it's true impact on gut health.

Additionally, the benefits of these live cultures can vary due to different commercial production methods. 

Some varieties of tea, including Pu'erh and Fuzhuan teas, are made by fermenting the tea leaves with microbes.

While animal research shows that these teas can improve the diversity of the gut microbiome and help boost the amount of healthy gut bacteria, human studies are lacking.

How to Incorporate Tea into Your Diet

Many people like to start and end their day with a cup of tea or drink tea with meals, but you can choose the most convenient time for you.

However, be mindful of the caffeine content for late afternoon evening cups of tea. 

Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of different types of tea with your doctor if you have any health conditions.

Some herbal teas contain ingredients that may interact with certain medications, making them less effective. 

When preparing or purchasing your tea, try to minimize added sugars, as these may negatively impact gut health

How Often Should I Drink Tea?

While there is no official guideline, research suggests that drinking between two and five cups of tea daily may increase the healthy bacteria in your gut. 

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Takeaway

Certain types of tea, like green tea, black tea, peppermint tea, and ginger tea, may improve gut health by supporting the growth of healthy bacteria and reducing digestive symptoms.

Research suggests that drinking two to five cups of tea daily may yield these benefits. 

However, high-quality human research on this subject is lacking.

Regarding herbal tea, most of the research on its health benefits is based on herb extracts or supplements, not teas. 

Talk to your doctor before starting to drink tea for gut health or treating any digestive conditions.

How a Dietitian Can Help

If you have concerns about your gut health or experience chronic digestive symptoms, a registered dietitian can help you optimize your diet to feel your best. 

Find a dietitian specializing in digestive health to learn how to help your healthy gut bacteria thrive through food and beverage choices. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which tea cleanses the gut?

While human studies on tea and gut health are limited, preliminary research suggests that certain types of tea may reduce inflammation, help healthy bacteria grow, and reduce symptoms in the digestive tract.

These include:

What is the best tea for your stomach?

Ginger tea can help fight nausea and may also improve the rate of stomach emptying.

Similarly, chamomile tea can help settle an upset stomach.

Peppermint tea may help your digestive tract, possibly easing symptoms of IBS. 

Remember that peppermint tea can sometimes worsen acid reflux in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What should I drink every day for gut health?

Drinking enough water helps support normal digestion.

Certain types of tea, including green tea, black tea, peppermint tea, and ginger tea, may boost your gut health and reduce chronic digestive symptoms.

However, research on tea and gut health in humans is preliminary. 

Limiting alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages is also important for gut health.

References

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Nourish has strict sourcing policies and prioritizes primary sources, including medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about our medical review process and editorial guidelines.

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