Chamomile tea is one of the most popular teas out there. When fasting, you need to keep your calories close to zero, so any foods and beverages that take you above that are out. Does chamomile tea break a fast?
Chamomile has no calories, no carbs, and it doesn’t cause an insulin response. Of course, you need to stay away from sugar or milk during your fasting window, but plain chamomile tea is not only safe, but it is also recommended.
So let’s explore this topic more and see how chamomile tea can help you during your fast, what other benefits it has, and whether there are any side effects.
Does chamomile tea break a fast?
Herbal teas, including chamomile tea, do not break a fast. In fact, unsweetened tea is one of the drinks that are recommended during a fast. That’s because it can help curb your appetite and it has a calming effect, something you’ll need if you’re used to relying on coffee during the first part of the day.
If you’re fasting for gut rest, you may need to be careful with chamomile tea. One of its uses is to help digestion. It is recommended in issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, diarrhea, and more. Does that mean it stimulates the gut and breaks a fast that’s aimed at gut rest? There’s certainly a risk. Sadly, there is too little research to give a definitive answer to this question. So if you’re fasting for gut rest, especially if you’re doing it at a doctor’s advice, check with them before drinking chamomile tea.
Does chamomile tea have calories?
No, chamomile tea has no calories, no carbs, and it doesn’t cause an insulin response. So if you’re fasting for weight loss or blood sugar management, you can have your chamomile tea without any worries.
Keep in mind that some brands will list 1-2 calories in the nutritional facts for their chamomile tea. Those are usually due to how the chamomile was processed. In most cases though, even those calories won’t break your fast. But, if you’re worried, stick with pure chamomile tea, that has gone through the least amount of processing possible, to avoid any chemicals and unwanted calories.
Will chamomile tea help intermittent fasting?
Yes, chamomile tea will help with intermittent fasting. Here are a few of its benefits.
1. It helps you sleep better
Chamomile tea has a calming effect on the nervous system, something you often need when fasting. Why is that? Fasting can put a lot of stress on the body, which will mess up your circadian rhythm. Not everyone will feel this side effect, but those who do, know how much it can impact your life: you have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep and you wake up more tired than ever.
Chamomile tea can help you break this unhealthy cycle. It is also a good counter-balance to the coffee or the green tea many rely on during their morning fast.
2. It regulates blood sugar
Another surprising benefit of chamomile tea, which will also help you when fasting is that it may regulate blood sugar. Studies have shown it is particularly beneficial in those with type 2 diabetes, as it improves the glycemic indices.
This effect could be beneficial during your fast even if you don’t have diabetes. Intermittent fasting does help blood sugar management, but some people may need an extra boost. Also, people without diabetes may find it hard to go between periods of not eating and subsequently lower blood sugar levels and periods of eating a lot more, which could come with a quick increase in blood sugar levels. So an herbal tea that helps regulate those levels, could make fasting a lot easier.
3. It can cure headaches
Headaches are a fairly common side effect when you first start intermittent fasting. They usually start in the first part of the day or during your last fasting hours, and they may or may not go away once you start eating. Others find that the headaches appear later in the evening, making it hard to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Of course, the best thing you can do for your health is to understand the cause behind the headaches. Maybe it is hypoglycemia, dehydration, or they may be completely unrelated to your diet.
Regardless of the cause though, chamomile tea could provide some much-needed relief, without all the side effects common pain killers have.
4. It curbs the appetite
Many teas have this effect, and chamomile is no different. For this reason, it is the perfect remedy if you find yourself craving a bedtime snack but you’re already in your fasting window. Chamomile tea will reduce your cravings, it will make you feel fuller and it will help you sleep better.
Does chamomile tea have any side effects?
Side effects are rare and are usually related to allergic reactions. So if you know you’re sensitive to any members of the Asteraceae family, such as dahlia or chrysanthemum, it is safe to assume you’ll be allergic to chamomile as well.
Chamomile tea can also interact with blood-thinning medications. That’s because chamomile is a blood thinner, so it may cause a strong effect when combined with medications.
In rare instances, side effects such as nausea or digestive issues can occur, so this happens to you, it is best to avoid chamomile altogether.
The bottom line
Does chamomile tea break a fast? In most cases, no, chamomile does not break a fast. Concerns may occur around some teas that have 1-2 calories per serving. They are usually not enough to cause an insulin response, but if you’re on a strict fast and want to stay close to zero calories, always check the nutritional label.
Finally, if you’re fasting for gut rest, keep in mind that one of the uses of chamomile tea is aiding digestion. While the evidence is scarce, this does mean there’s a risk it will stimulate the gut, breaking your fast.