After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage around the world. Black tea has become an integral part of cultural events and everyday life from the British to the Chinese. Whether green or black, all teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant (otherwise it’s herbal tea). Depending on how the leaves are harvested and processed, the plant produces different types of tea.
Drinking tea is not only a great way to relax, but its chemical properties have a whole host of health benefits. And if you use fresh, loose leaves, you unlock the maximum potential of your tea, both in terms of its benefits and its taste.
In this article, we’ll go over the health benefits of black tea and the potential side effects to keep in mind.
What is Black Tea?
Discovered in China in the mid-seventeenth century, black tea accounts for 90% of the tea consumed around the world. The leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are allowed to oxidize completely before being processed and dried. This turns the leaves dark brown, giving them their characteristic flavor profile.
Black tea develops its unique flavor through the manufacturing process. It comes from the same plant as the other teas, like green tea or oolong tea, the only difference being the degree of oxidation they undergo. Black tea is stronger than other teas and has high caffeine content. However, it’s significantly lower than that of coffee.
What Are the Uses of Black Tea?
Black tea leaves are used to prepare both hot and iced tea. Some types of black teas are best enjoyed on their own, while others are often taken with milk or sugar. It’s also used as a base for many tea blends like Earl Grey, English Breakfast tea, or Masala Chai.
Black teas are one of the stronger tasting teas, with a rich flavor and aroma. However, their exact flavor profile depends on where they were grown, how they were harvested, and how they were processed.
Being the most popular type of tea in the west it serves as an infinite source of discoveries. If you’re looking for where to start, the best place is Viston Tea, where we selected the best teas for beginner tea drinkers.
This is our customers’ favorite black tea. Faithful to the classical Earl Grey formula, it combines Chinese Keemun tea with Bergamot oil. This results in a pleasantly fragrant and light afternoon tea.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Black tea not only offers a rich flavor profile but also some noteworthy health benefits. Here are the most important ones.
Promotes Heart Health
Black tea contains a group of antioxidants known as flavonoids which may help boost your heart health. If you are drinking black tea regularly, it can reduce the risk factors of heart disease.
In a research held in 2009, it was found that people who drank four or more cups of black tea regularly had a 21% lower risk of a heart attack. This was compared to people who consumed less than 1 cup of black tea per day. Figuring out a way to include black tea into your daily routine can significantly improve your heart health.
Contains Antioxidant Properties
Black tea extract contains a group of polyphenols that have antioxidant properties. These antioxidants called flavonoids are known to offer you a variety of health benefits. When you are consuming black tea daily, these antioxidants can help eliminate or reduce damage in your body. This also reduces the potential risk of chronic diseases.
A 2018 study conducted on rats examined the role of black tea and the risk of obesity, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes. The results showed that cholesterol and blood sugar levels were lowered.
Improves Gut Health
The bacteria in your gut play a critical role in improving your overall health. They help reduce the risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The chemical compounds in black tea promote the growth of good bacteria and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria.
Black tea contains anti-microbial properties that kill all the harmful substances in your gut. It strengthens your immune system and repairs the mucous lining of your digestive tract.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Consuming sweetened beverages, especially teas, can raise your blood sugar levels and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. When you consume sugar, your pancreas releases insulin to transport the sugar to your muscles. If you consume more sugar than necessary, it will be stored as body fat.
Black tea is a great unsweetened beverage that helps enhance the use of insulin in your body. In 2002, a test-tube study was conducted to investigate the insulin-promoting properties of tea. The results showed that black tea increases the body’s insulin activity by more than 15 times and regulates your blood sugar levels.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Black tea extract contains chemical compounds known as polyphenols. These compounds help prevent cancer cells from surviving in your body. A 2007 test-tube study showed that black tea plays a crucial role in regulating cancer cell growth and reduces the development of new cancer cells. Another research confirmed that black tea can suppress the formation of hormone-dependent breast tumors.
While black tea should not be considered an alternative treatment for cancer, research has shown that tea can reduce cancer cell survival. However, more research is needed to fully establish the relationship between black tea and cancer cells.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
An increase in your blood pressure levels can significantly raise your risk for kidney failure, vision loss, or heart disease. Alterations in your diet can help you regulate your high blood pressure. A 2012 controlled study found that blood pressure levels dropped significantly in those who drank black tea every day for six months. This includes both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Consuming black tea every day and making other lifestyle changes, such as stress management techniques, can lower blood pressure levels and improve your overall health.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
When bad cholesterol rises in your body, it can build up in your arteries and cause wax deposits. These deposits can clog your arteries and cause cardiovascular disease. Consuming tea every day can help lower the bad cholesterol levels in your body.
A 2003 study found that consuming five servings of black tea per day reduces the level of bad cholesterol by 11% in individuals. The researchers concluded that the chemical components of black tea might improve cholesterol levels in people at risk for obesity or heart disease.
Black tea contains amino acids and caffeine that help improve your concentration and alertness. It increases alpha activity in your brain, which leads to relaxation. Although black tea is the strongest compared to other true teas, it still has a lower caffeine content compared to coffee. Additionally, L-Theanine tames the caffeine, so it doesn’t introduce jitters. This is why you may feel a stable and even flow of energy after drinking tea.
A 2011 study found that black tea significantly improved participants’ self-awareness and accuracy. So if you’re looking to enhance your concentration and energy without consuming too much caffeine, black tea is the best choice.
Improves Oral Health
If you drink black tea daily, you can improve your oral health. The beverage restricts bacterial growth in your mouth and reduces cavities and tooth decay. The chemical compounds in black tea suppress the bacteria that cause cavities and hinder the growth of plaque on your teeth.
Research conducted in 2013 confirmed that black tea restricts bacterial growth and reduces plaque formation.
Improves Hair and Skin
Daily black tea consumption can lead to shiny hair and glowing skin. The antioxidants found in black tea fight free radicals, helping your skin heal faster, evening out blemishes, and reducing puffiness on your face. It relaxes your mind and reduces stress and anxiety, which leads to glowing skin and shiny hair.
A study conducted on mice in 2014 found that black tea helps reduce signs of aging like wrinkles. If you’re feeling burnt out after a stressful day, a warm cup of black tea is just the thing.
Protects Your Brain
Drinking black tea every day may help protect your brain from degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. The high concentration of antioxidants protects your brain cells from damage and degeneration.
When you drink black tea regularly, it helps lower your stress levels resulting in a lower risk of developing psychological illnesses like depression. A study conducted in 2007 found that people who drank three cups of black tea on a regular basis demonstrated lower levels of stress hormones. They felt more relaxed.
Potential Side Effects of Drinking Black Tea
Black tea leaves are brimming with health benefits, which is why we are in love with them. By improving your gut health, lowering stress levels, and reducing the risk of stroke – a single cup of tea can do lots of good.
As with any other beverage, it’s important to be responsible with your tea consumption. While black tea is safe and enjoyable to drink for most people, it can also have side effects for some people.
Consuming large amounts of black tea during the day can upset your digestive system. Since black tea is a true tea like green tea or white tea, it is rich in tannins. These tannins may affect your digestion and absorption of nutrients.
A study conducted in 1998 analyzed that tannins decrease your body’s efficiency to convert absorbed nutrients into new body substances. Therefore, you should avoid excessive consumption of black tea.
Health Risks for Pregnant Women
Just like other caffeinated beverages, pregnant women should stay away from the excessive consumption of black tea. When you are pregnant, your body metabolizes caffeine much more slowly. The caffeine passes through your placenta and may enter your baby’s bloodstream and affect his or her health.
A study conducted in 2007 indicates that drinking more than 2 cups of black tea a day can increase the risk of miscarriage. Some studies also suggest that high caffeine consumption during pregnancy can lead to a lower birth body weight.
Green and black teas are rich in tannins. While they’re a good source of antioxidants, they may also reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron. That’s what a 2017 study found.
If you are iron deficient or eating a meal that contains iron, you should avoid black tea. To get the benefits of black tea without affecting your body’s ability, you should leave an hour between eating food and drinking your tea.
Contains Toxic Elements
All brewed teas, including black tea, contain toxic elements such as lead, aluminum, and manganese. Brewing your tea for more than 3 minutes increases the concentration of these toxic elements.
While generally, they don’t pose any health risks, consuming large doses of these elements can be potentially harmful. Hence, this is a good reason to limit your black tea intake.
Effects of Caffeine
One cup of black tea contains about 50mg of caffeine. This is less than the average cup of coffee (around 100mg) but more than green tea. The recommended daily limit of caffeine is 400mg. Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to side effects:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sudden increased/decreased blood pressure
- Loss of calcium
Black tea is a good choice if you’re looking for a low-calorie, less caffeinated, unsweetened beverage. When brewed perfectly, it has a strong, unique flavor and contains many antioxidants with plenty of health benefits.
But as with other caffeinated beverages, consuming too much black tea can be harmful in the long run. Most researchers recommend not to drink more than 5 cups of black tea a day. This way, you can get all the benefits without suffering from serious side effects.
When you include drinking black tea in your daily routine, it’s important to choose high-quality tea that actually tastes good. You should always buy loose black tea leaves over tea bags.
At Vinston Tea, we tasted hundreds of teas to select only a handful of the best ones for beginners. As a result, we believe it’s the perfect place to begin your tea journey. Once you have your tea, you need to learn to make it correctly.
Let me know in the comments, which black tea benefits are you most interested in?