Benefits of Drinking Black Tea
You will find below the detailed information about the health benefits of black tea, the most common type of tea consumed in the world, and the main ingredient of English tea, Persian tea, Russian tea, and Turkish tea.
Black tea is made with the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves of Camellia sinensis are exposed to different fermentation processes and each process produces a different type of tea. There are six types of teas derived from Camellia sinensis leaves: white tea, green tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, black tea, and dark tea. Of all these teas, black tea is the most common one, consumed almost all over the world, and accounted for 85% of total tea consumption. Black tea is actually what we mean by the word “tea” in western world. It is the main ingredient of the world’s most popular teas such as English tea, Persian tea, Russian tea, and Turkish tea.
So, let’s go down and learn what black tea really is, then go deep into its benefits, and finally the considerations when consuming it.
What is Black Tea?
As mentioned before, there are six different types of tea that are derived from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, produced by different fermentation processes. These processes include some steps such as withering, oxidation, heating, rolling, pressing, wrapping also called yellowing or heaping, additional drying, microbial fermentation, and aging. Depending on the type of tea to be produced one or more of these steps are used in processing Camellia sinensis leaves.
In the process of making black tea, Camellia sinensis leaves are fully oxidized after withering. Tea leaves are cut to expedite the oxidation process. The oxidation process reduces the bitterness and increases the sweetness of the leaves. The leaves are dried out after fully oxidized, and then packaged for tea drinkers.
Black tea is the infusion derived from the black tea leaves steeped in hot water. What is called black tea in western world is called red tea in the Far East where tea has emerged. The westerners named black tea after the color of the leaves whereas the far eastern world named it after the color of the infusion.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Tea was used as a medicinal drink in ancient China due to its health benefits. Almost 30% of the black tea is composed of polyphenols which have antioxidant properties. The polyphenols in black tea are mainly flavonoids, catechin, epigallocatechin gallate, thearubigin, and theaflavin.
As for nutritional value, black tea contains vitamins A, D, B12, and minerals such as sodium, potassium, manganese, and fluoride. It is a zero calorie beverage if consumed without sugar. It also contains caffeine which is a natural stimulant.
With all this content, black tea is one of the beneficial beverages that is widely consumed all over the world today. Below are the health benefits of black tea when it is consumed in the right amount and manner.
Black tea is beneficial to cardiovascular health:
The group of antioxidants that black tea contains, flavonoids are beneficial to cardiovascular health and consuming black tea regularly helps reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and obesity. Several studies showed that drinking 3-4 cups of black tea a day decreases the risk of having a stroke by 21% and the risk of heart attack by 44% compared to those who drink 1 cup a day. Black tea also reduces the level of LDL cholesterol known as bad cholesterol by 11%.
Black tea supports bone structure:
Phytochemicals found in black tea support bone structure in the body, contribute to bone density, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. The benefits of black tea to bone structure can be improved more by adding a few drops of lemon juice in it.
Black tea lowers blood sugar levels:
Polyphenol content in black tea helps increase insulin level and regulate blood sugar level so consuming black tea regularly reduces the risk of diabetes.
Black tea is beneficial to oral health:
Polyphenol content in black tea also reduces the formation of plaque on teeth and restricts the growth of bacteria that cause gum disease and dental caries by preventing development of enzymes that cause stickiness.
Additionally, black tea is not acidic and does not cause dental erosion. Therefore, it could be a great alternative to soft drinks that are the main culprit of dental erosion.
Having said that, it is also important to note that black tea leaves stains on teeth so it is important to brush your teeth after drinking tea. You can also use teeth whitening kits to avoid it.
Black tea supports digestive system and improves gut health:
Tannins found in black tea have a healing effect on stomach and intestinal diseases. They aid digestion and calm down inflammation in the guts. Thanks to its high polyphenol content, black tea also helps maintain a healthy gut balance by inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria such as salmonella while promoting the growth of good bacteria. Black tea’s content with antimicrobial properties kills harmful substances, and helps repair the lining of the digestive tract, which improves intestinal bacteria that have a significant role in overall health and immunity.
Black tea supports immune system:
As mentioned above, intestinal bacteria in the gut have a significant effect on the immune system. Black tea helps have good bacteria in the gut and prevents bad ones from growing so supports the gut health and the immune system. It also improves immunity with its alkyl-amine antigens, especially when drunk with honey. Black tea is also a hot beverage which boosts metabolism to fight common cold and influenza as well as remove viruses responsible for common cold or influenza settling in the throat.
Black tea helps lose weight:
Black tea does not directly affect weight loss but some of its effects such as improving bacteria balance in the gut and lowering triglyceride levels and visceral fats support weight loss. The best feature of black tea in terms of weight loss is the amount of calories it has. One cup of black tea (8 fl oz or 237 g) has only 2 calories. Therefore, black tea is almost completely safe to drink on a weight loss diet without worrying about the calorie intake unless you do not add anything into it such as milk, honey, sugar etc.
Black tea provides antioxidants:
Due to its high polyphenol content, black tea actively supports a fruit and vegetable diet followed to prevent DNA damage caused by tobacco and other toxic substances. The antioxidant properties of polyphenols also help decrease the risk of chronic disease such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Please keep in mind that adding some drops of lemon to the cup of black tea increases the antioxidant absorption capacity of our body.
Black tea is beneficial to skin, hair, and nails:
Black tea is rich in vitamins B2, C, and E as well as some minerals including potassium, zinc, and magnesium. All these vitamins and minerals contribute to skin, hair, and nail health. Black tea also helps reduce “mimic wrinkles.” You can apply black tea under your eyes to get rid of dark circles, too.
Black tea reduces stress levels and improves concentration:
Black tea also provides relaxation and reduces the stress level. It is also very helpful to maintain concentration for a long time. That amino acids and the caffeine in black tea boost alertness in the morning and strengthens the brain functions. It also stimulates the heart, kidneys, and respiratory system.
Black Tea & Caffeine
Similar to coffee, black tea has caffeine, too. In fact, the amount of caffeine in black tea leaves is technically higher than that in the coffee beans. However, since the black tea leaves we use to make tea is less than the amount of ground coffee we use to make coffee, we take in less caffeine while drinking tea. The amount of caffeine in black tea leaves generally amounts to 3% of the weight of dry leaves, which doubles the caffeine in coffee beans. However, a cup of brewed black tea (8 fl oz) contains 55 mg of caffeine whereas a cup of brewed coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine, which almost doubles the tea.
Things to Consider When Drinking Black Tea
To benefit from black tea, it is important to consume it in the right amount and manner. Drinking too much tea may cause some problems such as anemia, insomnia, palpitations, iron deficiency, high blood pressure, or blood clotting. Therefore, black tea consumption should be limited to 3-4 cups a day. Seniors, pregnant women and children should drink less.
As for the manner to drink tea, it is important to drink tea without sugar to avoid health problems that sugar may cause. Sugar also has a lot of calories and makes tea lose its usefulness for a weight loss diet. On the other hand, adding some drops of lemon to the cup will enhance the benefits of black tea. Additionally, black tea should be consumed right after it is brewed. Waiting too much will decrease its nutritional value and deteriorate the taste.