You probably know that green tea has an array of active compounds that promote health – from calming theanine to antioxidant EGCG and heart-healthy tannins and cancer-fighting flavonoids.

But there’s another active compound in tea that produces some very unpleasant effects. Fluoride.

Fluoride is a toxic substance that can negatively impact multiple organ systems. It has been linked to hypothyroidism, skeletal fluorosis, brittle bones and teeth, gastrointestinal inflammation, and more. And because tea leaves accumulate more fluoride than any other edible plant, enjoying this otherwise healthy beverage could put your health in jeopardy.

To reduce your exposure to fluoride, here are a few things you can do:

1. Steep Less. The longer you steep, the more fluoride you’ll reap. In fact, in one study, after tea was steeped for 10 minutes, the measurable amounts of fluoride (and aluminum) almost doubled.

2. Go for White. While all true teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, the amount of fluoride varies with the different “colors.” Green tea contains the most, black tea is next, and white tea contains the least. Instant tea mixes have been found to contain very high levels of fluoride.

3. Opt for Extracts. Many tea extracts, like Body Ecology Diet’s Green and Black Tea Extracts and Chi Green Tea Extracts, are free of fluoride.

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Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet.
Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.