Black tea is one of the most beloved drinks or beverages in the world, and almost 80% of humans consume it. The impressive health benefits of black tea include its ability to boost heart health, lower stress, reduce high cholesterol, improve oral health, boost bone health, increase alertness, and prevent diarrhea and digestive problems. It also improves blood circulation, treats high blood pressure, and reduces asthma. It is one of the most popular teas and is well-known for its antibacterial and antioxidant qualities.
What is Black Tea?
Black tea is the most usual type of tea served without milk. It is made from tea plant scientifically known as Camellia sinensis. The level of oxidation gives it the unique color and flavor, which ranges from amber to dark brown and savory to sweet.
The difference between black, green, and white tea is the way they are processed. During the processing stage, black tea is fermented and oxidized. On the other hand, green tea and white tea are not fermented.
Black Tea Nutrition
Black tea has 5.25 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce. It is rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols and catechins. Its oxidation capacity is more than oolong, white, and green teas. The compounds found in it, namely theaflavins and thearubigins, are positively loaded with health benefits, in addition to giving the tea its dark color and unique flavor. The unsweetened tea has few or no calories and has minimal sodium, proteins, and carbohydrates. Black tea is strong, bolder, and more oxidized, and thus more beneficial than oolong, white or green tea.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
This amazing tea is known for its curative qualities and other health benefits. The most powerful benefits are as follows:
Prevents Heart Diseases
High amounts of flavan-3-ols, flavonols, theaflavins and gallic acid derivatives present in black tea helps repair coronary artery dysfunctions in heart patients. It also reverses the abnormal functioning of blood vessels, which may lead to strokes, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular conditions. Therefore, everyone who drinks it is at a decreased risk of contracting heart diseases.
The presence of theaflavins in black tea destroys abnormal cells in the body before they cause any major damage or change into cancerous cells. It helps prevent breast (especially women in the pre-menopausal phase), ovarian, stomach, and skin cancer. It also assists in raising the level of globulin hormones during the menstrual cycle.
Lowers Risk Of Diabetes
Long-term tea intake is associated with reduced levels of fasting blood glucose and lower rates of type 2 diabetes. The major bioactive compounds in black tea are polyphenols which lower glycemic index.
Drinking more than one cup of black or green tea daily helps in preventing ischemic strokes.
Black tea is rich in tannins and other chemicals that have a positive and relaxing effect on the digestive system of the body. This anti-inflammatory quality of the tea is also helpful for curing digestive disorders. The chemical compounds present in black tea also fights stomach ulcers.
It can be an effective foot treatment and remove problems of sweaty, smelly feet. It also closes the pores and prevents frequent sweating. You can also apply chilled black tea bags to razor bumps and burns to soothe rashes, redness, and itchiness.
Black tea consumption not only lowers the production of the stress hormone, cortisol but also normalizes it. Also, the amino acid, l-theanine, found in this tea eases stress and promotes relaxation. Black tea intake may speed up recovery following acute stress, which otherwise can cause a greater risk of chronic illnesses like coronary heart disease.
Generally, hot and brewed liquids are known to bring relief to asthmatic conditions. So, it is no surprise that black tea is extremely beneficial for asthmatic patients, as it expands the air passage, thereby allowing them to breathe more easily.
Improves Oral Health
Polyphenols in black tea include catechins, flavonoids, and tannins which have an anti-microbial effect and an inhibitory action on the bacterial and salivary enzymes. A cup or two of unsweetened black tea taken daily can reduce inflammation, prevent cavities, and stop the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
Increases Bone Density
According to studies, elderly women who are prone to fracture showed a lower risk level when they drank black tea, due to the particular classes of flavonoids present in it. People also showed a lower probability of arthritis due to the phytochemicals found in this popular beverage.
Other benefits of black tea include:
Black tea has polyphenols which help prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Studies show that black tea’s neuroprotective effects have an inverse association with Parkinson’s disease.
Treats Puffy Eyes
Chilled tea bags, when applied to the face or eyes, can help remove tiredness and reduce puffiness due to its caffeine content. Store black tea bags in the fridge and apply it on puffy eyes. See the puffiness disappear magically!
Caffeine, present in black tea, is a psychostimulant that is widely used to enhance alertness and improve performance. Caffeine concentrations in white, green, and black teas ranged from 14 to 61 mg per serving (6 or 8 oz.), which is less than coffee but enough to keep you alert without leading up to a caffeine crash.
Black tea has a healing effect on intestinal disorders due to the presence of tannins. It is advisable for all diarrhea patients to sip plain black tea slowly for maximum benefits.
Rich Source of Antioxidants
Polyphenols, such as theaflavins, thearubigins as well as catechins as major constituents of black tea, are mainly responsible for antioxidant actions. The antioxidant properties of black tea help to inhibit free radical generation, scavenge free radicals, and help protect your cells against DNA damage.
Rich in antioxidants, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties, black tea consumption improves the health and appearance of skin. Black tea rinses, when applied to the face, adds moisture and a glow to the face and is an effective remedy for dry skin. Its natural astringent property tightens the skin and gives it a toned look. Black tea can also lighten blemishes, age spots, and has a whitening effect on the skin. It is associated with a reduced risk of non-melanoma skin cancers.
Protects From UV Rays
UV rays can be extremely harsh to the skin and prolonged exposure can cause pigmentation. Topical application of black and green tea can protect the skin from harmful radiation as their polyphenols have a photoprotective effect.
Caffeine, present in this tea, blocks DHT, the hormone that is responsible for hair loss. Drinking tea can help promote hair growth and slow down hair fall. Black tea rinses are excellent to soften hair and enhance its shine and color. You can use a spray bottle or apply it to your scalp and wash it off with your usual shampoo & conditioner after 20 minutes. It is an inexpensive natural way to dye grey hair to make it look healthy and shiny.
People who consume black tea can reduce their bad cholesterol levels, which are responsible for heart strokes and fatal attacks. It has also been found that people who drink 1 to 2 cups of black tea every day are at a lower risk for heart problems than those who consume minimal amounts or no tea at all. Black tea has also shown anti-hypercholesterolemia effect in subjects at risk for heart disease or obesity.
Caffeine in black tea enhances blood flow to the brain and stimulates metabolism, providing you a high dose of energy.
Prevents Kidney Stones
Consumption of black tea is linked to lowering the risk of kidney stones. However, it is advised to consult a doctor before using it for this purpose.
The caffeine content in black tea eases the nervous system and soothes a headache.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Studies reveal that consuming black tea helps marginally lower blood pressure. However, its impact is essential to the overall cardiovascular health.
There is a bundle of health benefits provided by black tea including lower cholesterol levels, reduced risk of cancer, reduced blood pressure, relieve stress, and others. All these factors together contribute to increasing the happiness quotient multifold.
How to Make Black Tea?
It is very easy to make loose black tea. Just follow the steps below:
- Step 1: Boil water in a pot. Add 1-2 tablespoons of loose, black tea of your choice to 8-12 oz. of water at 212 degrees F water.
- Step 2: Allow the tea to steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
- Step 3: Serve in your favorite teacup and enjoy!
Chinese people add sweetening agents, spices, chocolate, or even rare herbs while brewing black tea. In India, milk and sugar are normally added to it. Some people add lemon or various herbs including ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, lemongrass, mulethi or holy basil (tulsi) to make chai tea or masala chai (popular spicy tea in India).
How to Select and Store?
- It is better to buy organic black tea bags or loose black tea leaves to avoid adulteration with chemicals.
- Choose long leaves with silver or golden tips which do not contain any moisture.
- Choose Chinese black tea for light and Darjeeling black tea for strong flavor.
- Store the leaves in tin containers. Keep them away from sunlight and moisture.
- You can also store it in an earthen pot with a bag of lime powder to avoid moisture.
Black Tea Side Effects
Excess intake of black tea, which is drinking more than 3-5 cups a day may have a lot of side effects that include:
- Caffeine Overdose
- Frequent Urination
- Iron Deficiency
- Acidity, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and heartburn
- Insomnia, sleep problems and restlessness
- Nervousness, anxiety, tremors, and faster breathing
Other side effects include:
- Headaches: If you are addicted to tea then skipping it even once a day may cause dizziness, ringing in the ears, and headaches the next day.
- Glaucoma: Caffeine in black tea increases the pressure inside the eye causing glaucoma.
- Miscarriage: Pregnant women are advised to consult a doctor before adding black tea to their diet as it can cause miscarriage or sudden infant death syndrome. It may also cause lower birth weight and symptoms of caffeine withdrawal in newborn.
- Medication: Avoid black tea if you are on medication or supplements like calcium, magnesium, and others.
Note: Avoid drinking tea after lunch or dinner, as it may lead to poor digestion and diarrhea.
Other than the ones mentioned above, black tea has a lot of benefits. If you go anywhere in the world, you are sure to be offered this tea as a stimulating and refreshing beverage. It is readily available and you can choose from hundreds of flavors and mixtures on the market. So, go ahead and enjoy a cup of hot tea!