Q: I have hypothyroidism, and have heard that green tea is not good for someone with that disease. Is that right? Apparently, it slows down the thyroid from working and it is already so sluggish. – Sandi
A: Fluoride can displace iodine, an important nutrient required by the thyroid, interfering with its absorption. While this is problematic for someone with thyroid disease, depending on where you live, the fluoride in your municipal water supply (if you drink the water) is a much bigger issue than the fluoride in green tea, but here is some information for you:
- The plant that tea is made from accumulates fluoride in its leaves over time, so the oldest leaves contain the most fluoride. White tea is made from younger leaves and buds and contains the least amount of fluoride. Green tea and black tea are made from older leaves and contain more fluoride than white tea.
- Drinking one or two cups of green tea a day won't do any harm, but to minimize any potential problems with iodine absorption, your best bet is to drink white tea made with bottled, distilled, or reverse osmosis water (they do not contain fluoride).
- Goitrogenic foods, including soy products (such as tofu) and mercury (including the mercury in dental amalgams and in fish) also interfere with iodine absorption and are more likely to pose a problem than drinking green tea.