What is Black Tea?
Black tea is a low calorie, a non-sweet beverage with a moderate amount of caffeine. It is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis tree. It is essential to know that high-quality black teas are made from two leaves and a bud only. You can read more about the two leaves and a bud technique.
Black tea is usually the most oxidized tea type amongst common teas such as oolong, green, and white. Its taste varies from light to strong, and the color can be orange/amber in most cases.
Even if you have never tried black tea before it is always good to try it and see the changes yourself.
1. Antioxidants and free radicals
Do you know why free radicals harmful to you? Because they are highly reactive toxin substances that attack and damage important living cells such as DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. This can cause a lot of damage to your body. If you are interested read more about what happens when free radicals are not neutralized.
Black tea contains a substance called polyphenols, which are natural substances found in tea. Polyphenols in tea are flavonoids, catechins, theaflavins, and tannins. Don’t worry about all the chemical names. The important thing is these substances generate a lot of antioxidants.
All these naturally occurring antioxidants react with toxic free radicals and neutralize the damage to our bodies. Our bodies need a daily minimum of 8,000 – 11,000 units a day, and drinking tea is the best way to do that without compromising your diet.
Summary: Chemical elements found in black tea contain antioxidants in abundance. Free radicals are highly reactive toxic substances that damage your body. Antioxidants found in tea help neutralize free radicals and also help boost your health.
2. Lower risk of diabetes
Diabetes or high blood sugar is a significant public health problem in the 21st century. With increased morbidity, diet habits, and increasing age, diabetes affected people are growing by the day.
The most common diabetes is called type 2 diabetes, and it occurs when the body is unable to regulate the glucose level. This could lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, eye disease, and nerve damage.
Numerous studies have shown that black tea can increase insulin activity and help manage blood glucose levels. Polyphenols in tea can help protect against inflammation and type 2 diabetes. It is both useful for healthy people trying to regulate glucose levels as well as for diabetes patients trying to control the level of blood sugar.
Summary: Black tea helps manage blood glucose levels in healthy humans, and it can also help increase insulin activity in diabetic patients.
3. Reduce blood pressure – Hypertension
We can all agree that high blood pressure is scary. According to WHO(linked), high blood pressure causes close to 7.5 million deaths globally. This is about 12.8% of the total deaths.
High blood pressure can be caused by several factors such as obesity, stress, alcohol, smoking, genetic history and etc. The strain on our blood vessels due to hypertension can lead to all of the following.
- Heart attacks
- Kidney damage
- Blurred or loss of vision
- Dementia and memory loss
Studies have been conducted worldwide to determine the effectiveness of black tea to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It has been evident in most studies that drinking black tea every day can help lower blood pressure significantly.
Summary: High blood pressure is a leading cause of death worldwide but is preventable. Daily black tea consumption over some time has shown to reduce hypertension, according to numerous studies.
4. Black tea and cholesterol
There are 2 types of cholesterol in our bodies. One is called LDL (Low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol, and the other is HDL (High-density lipoproteins) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is classified as “Good” and LDL as “Bad, as LDL cholesterol can cause strokes. What happens is, when you have too much of LDL, it gets deposited on the walls of your blood vessels and arteries. This blocks the flow of blood to your organs from the heart and can result in heart attacks.
Studies have also shown that black tea can reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels. One study showed that LDL cholesterol decreased by 7.5% in test subjects. This is significant as it reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases as per the findings. It is vital to know, though that more studies are required to come to a consensus among the medical community.
Summary: Low-density lipoproteins(LDL) cholesterol can lead to the narrowing of blood vessels that result in heart attacks. Black tea can reduce harmful LDL levels though more evidence is needed for universal acceptance.
5. Cancer and black tea
Have you heard different theories about black tea and cancer? We have heard of many, and the medical community and experts are divided on the matter. It is difficult to come to a consensus due to this. The important thing is to look at what’s in black tea that can help reduce the risk of cancer.
Antioxidants like polyphenols have shown to inhibit tumor growth and also protect against damages caused by Ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer. Many studies support the above, but at the same time, the medical community believes that more studies are required.
Summary: Conclusions of black tea on reducing the risk of cancer is not universally accepted. Though numerous studies have shown antioxidant properties of tea can reduce the risk.
6. Black tea has caffeine but less than coffee.
The most important thing people miss is the fact that black tea has caffeine in it in addition to antioxidants. Coffee, on the other hand, has twice the amount of caffeine than black tea.
Black tea usually has 47 mg of caffeine per 8 oz on average. The amount depends on several factors, such as the type of black tea, brewing time, and temperature. Most importantly, one should know how to check the quality of tea as there are numerous cheap teas. It is always good to ask the buyer for the chemical composition of the tea to make sure you are buying high-quality tea. If you are wondering about coffee vs. tea, you can read on “Opposing cups: Obvious superiority of tea over coffee?”.
Caffeine acts as a natural stimulant and helps in combating tiredness. It may also reduce the risk of liver, throat, and mouth cancers according to some studies. Although many in the medical community are divided on the matter and advocate more research.
Moderate to high dosages of caffeine can cause nervousness, irritability, increased heart rate, and even insomnia. Because of this, it is crucial to be mindful of your daily caffeine intake.
Summary: Black tea has 47mg of caffeine per 8 oz on average, which is about half the amount found in coffee. Caffeine acts as a natural stimulant and may also help in reducing the risk of some cancers. Adverse side effects of caffeine include nervousness, irritability, increased heart rate, and insomnia.
7. Stress relief and feeling relaxed
If you are looking for something to unwind yourself and feel relaxed after a long day, then black tea can help you. Black tea contains a substance called L-theanine, which is found naturally in tea plants that can help you relax. L-theanine is an amino acid that is not produced by the human body but found abundantly in green and black teas.
Scientific evidence suggests that L-theanine intake can result in a reduction of the heart rate, which would help deal with stressful situations.
Summary: L-theanine is an amino acid compound found naturally in tea. Evidence suggests that it can help with stress relief by reducing the heart rate.
8. Improve focus and alertness
L-theanine is again a contributory factor here. It is found to be a factor in higher-level cognitive activity and has also shown to interact with caffeine to enhance cognitive activity. More studies are required to draw universally accepted conclusions for the combined effects of caffeine and L-theanine.
What we know for sure is the daily consumption of tea containing L-theanine can increase brain activity and help us stay focused throughout the day.
Summary: L-theanine amino acid in black tea helps increase cognitive activity and helps you stay focused throughout the day.
Scientific evidence is clear about one thing, black tea is a beverage of immense health benefits. Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Caffeine, and other naturally occurring compounds such as L-theanine come with a variety of health benefits.
The presence of antioxidants in abundance can be considered as the biggest reason to drink black tea daily. Free radicals cause irreparable damage to living organs in the body due to its toxicity, but daily tea consumption can easily help you meet the daily antioxidant requirement.
Other health benefits of black tea are reduced risk of diabetes, reduced blood pressure, reduced LDL cholesterol levels, and the reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Black tea also has caffeine(47mg per 8 oz on avg), which acts as a natural stimulant and helps you stay focused and alert throughout the day. Since black tea has around half the caffeine amount as in coffee, you may not need to worry about the adverse side effects of caffeine intake.
Black tea’s role in reducing the risk of cancer is a divisive topic among scientists, though numerous studies have found evidence to support the claim. More research is needed to come to a universal consensus about the role of black tea in reducing the risk of cancer.
As a consumer, you need to be sure that you have access to high-quality black teas. Cheap black teas are abundant in the market that cannot provide health benefits. Daily consumption of high-quality black teas, on the other hand, can boost your health and help you stay healthy.
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