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Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. In some countries, tea is part of the culture and is embedded into the social timetable. In such countries, anytime is tea time. Scientists in Ireland disagree, however.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland, in a report named Scientific Recommendations for Food-based Dietary Guidelines for Older Adults, says that older adults (above 65) should not take tea along with their meals. 

The researchers examined the diets of senior adults in Ireland. They included those who are healthy and those with chronic illnesses and need regular care.

Growing number of older adults

The FSAI is currently tasked with updating nutritional recommendations for senior citizens. Older adults account for a good chunk of the population in developed countries. As a matter of fact, before the pandemic, the Census Bureau predicted that with the rising life expectancy, older adults in the US would outnumber children by 2034.

According to the FSAI’s new study, healthy older adults don’t really need special dietary focus; they can have the same diet as young people. However, they require more muscle-building protein, such as meats, eggs, poultry, and fish.

Impact of drinking tea

The scientists observed the intake of 10 specific nutrients, including but not limited to carbohydrates, proteins, iron, calcium, and zinc. It was at this point that they discovered the negative impacts of taking tea along with meals.

The research revealed that tea hinders the absorption of zinc and iron. As a result, older adults who require these nutrients should only take tea in between meals. However, while the researchers recommended spacing out tea-drinking, they also acknowledged the importance of older adults taking plenty of fluids throughout the day. The report recommends 2 liters of fluid for older men and 1.6 for older women.

Weight loss is also a challenge for older adults

The research also shows that weight loss is a very delicate issue for older adults. In fact, the report recommends that overweight older adults with lower health risks should not try weight-loss diets. For obese older adults, the report recommends a careful individual weight intervention program by a health professional to avoid losing too much body muscle, which is a high risk of frailty.