What are the health benefits of black tea?
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but different ways of harvesting and processing the plant produce different types of tea.
After harvesting, black tea leaves go through a process of wilting, bruising, rolling, and oxidationTrusted Source.
Oxidation occurs when the leaves remain exposed to the air for a long time. Enzymes break down the chemicals in the leaves, producing their brown coloring and familiar smell.
The process for making green tea is similar, but it does not involve oxidation. Oxidation may give black tea nutritional benefits that are not present in green tea.
For example, the nutrients in black tea may reduce the risk of several cancers, protect the heart against atherosclerosis, and help maintain healthy blood pressure.
In this article, learn more about the benefits of drinking black tea, as well as the nutrients it provides and the possible risks.
Black tea may have similar benefits to green tea. However, many studies have looked specifically at black tea, and how the oxidation process may impact health.
A key area of interest is black tea as a source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants help combat free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body that result from both natural processes and environmental pressures.
The body can remove free radicals, but if too many build-ups, they can damage or change cells in the body.
These changes can contribute to the development of many diseases and conditions, such as atherosclerosis and some cancers.
Antioxidants can help remove free radicals, and tea is one source of antioxidants.
The antioxidants in black tea are different from those in green tea, due to the oxidation process. Green tea mainly contains catechins. During oxidation, these convert into thearubigins, theaflavins, and flavonols.
These may give black tea different benefits to green tea.
Black tea also offers a variety of health benefits because it contains antioxidants and compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Here are 7 health benefits of black tea, all supported by science.
Antioxidants are known to provide a host of health benefits.
Consuming them can help remove free radicals and decrease cell damage in the body. This ultimately may help decrease the risk of chronic disease.
Groups of polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins, are the main sources of antioxidants in black tea and may promote overall health.
2. May Lower “Bad” LDL Cholesterol :
The body contains two lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body.
One is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the other is high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL is considered the “bad” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol to cells throughout the body. Meanwhile, HDL is considered the “good” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol away from your cells and to the liver to be excreted.
When there is too much LDL in the body, it can build up in the arteries and cause waxy deposits called plaques. This can lead to problems like heart failure or stroke.
Fortunately, some studies have found that consuming tea may help reduce LDL cholesterol.
One randomized study found that drinking five servings of black tea per day reduced LDL cholesterol by 11% in individuals with slightly or mildly elevated cholesterol levels.
Results showed a significant decrease in LDL levels in those who drank black tea, compared to the placebo, without any undesirable side effects. Researchers concluded that black tea helped improve cholesterol levels in individuals at risk for heart disease or obesity.
3. May Boost Heart Health:
Black tea contains another group of antioxidants called flavonoids, which benefit heart health.
Along with tea, flavonoids can be found in vegetables, fruits, red wine, and dark chocolate.
Consuming them on a regular basis may help reduce many risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels, and obesity.
4. May Improve Gut Health:
n fact, some studies have suggested that the type of bacteria in your gut may play an important role in reducing the risk of certain health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even cancer.
The polyphenols found in black tea may help maintain a healthy gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria, such as Salmonella.
In addition, black tea contains antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful substances and improve gut bacteria and immunity by helping repair the lining of the digestive tract.
However, further research is needed before a strong conclusion can be made regarding the role of black tea and immune function.
5. May Help Reduce Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure affects approximately 1 billion people worldwide.
It can increase your risk of heart and kidney failure, stroke, vision loss, and heart attacks. Fortunately, changes in your diet and lifestyle can lower your blood pressure.
A randomized, controlled study looked at the role of black tea in decreasing blood pressure. Participants drank three cups of black tea daily over six months.
Results found that those who drank black tea had a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo group.
However, research on the effects of black tea on blood pressure is mixed.
A meta-analysis of five different studies involving 343 participants looked at the impact of drinking black tea for four weeks on blood pressure.
Although results found some improvements in blood pressure, researchers concluded that the
findings were not significant.
Drinking black tea on a daily basis, as well as incorporating other lifestyle modifications like stress management strategies, may benefit those with high blood pressure.
6. May Help Reduce the Risk of Cancer:
Over 100 different types of cancer exist, and some are not preventable.
Nevertheless, the polyphenols found in black tea may help prevent cancer cell survival.
One test-tube study analyzed the effects of the polyphenols in tea on cancer cells. It showed that black and green tea may play a role in regulating cancer cell growth and reducing new cell development.
Another study analyzed the effects of the polyphenols in black tea on breast cancer. It showed that black tea may help overcome the spread of hormone-dependent breast tumors.
Although black tea should not be considered an alternative treatment for cancer, some research has demonstrated black tea’s potential to help reduce cancer cell survival.
More research in humans is needed to more clearly determine the link between black tea and cancer cells.
7. Easy to Make:
Not only is black tea good for you, but it’s also simple to make.
To make black tea, first, boil water. If using store-bought tea bags, simply add a tea bag to a mug and fill it with hot water.
If using loose leaf tea, use 2–3 grams of tea leaves for every six ounces of water in a strainer.
Let the tea steep in the water for 3–5 minutes, depending on your taste preference. For a stronger tea, use more tea leaves and steep for a longer period of time.
After steeping, remove the tea leaves or tea bag from the water and enjoy.