Tannins are compounds found in high amounts in tea and coffee, as well as wine, cacao and raw spinach.
They are responsible for providing the bitter and astringent taste in some of these foods and beverages; and are potent anti-oxidants.
The down side of tannins is that they act as an ‘anti-nutrient’ which significantly interferes with iron absorption. When consumed with a meal, tea may reduce iron absorption by up to 70%, and coffee by up to 40%. Tannins are contained in black, green and white tea, with the highest concentration in black tea leaves.
To reduce the negative impact of tannins, it is recommended that tea and coffee is consumed away from main meals.
This article was written by Kate Morgan – Tutor Naturopathy and Nutrition.