12 Research-Backed Health Benefits Of Black Tea

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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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, helps lower high blood pressure, and reduces symptoms of 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 a type of tea, considered the most popular tea in the world. It includes many different varieties, which are produced in different parts of the world, notably in India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Turkey. Popular black teas include Darjeeling, English Breakfast, and Earl Grey. Like other types of teas, it is also derived from Camellia sinensis. The level of oxidation gives it a unique color and flavor.

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 is usually stronger in flavor than the other teas. Interestingly, in China where it was first developed, it is known as ‘red tea’. The name comes from the color of its brew.

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10 Best Benefits of Black Tea | Organic Facts

Nutrition Facts

Beverages, tea, black, brewed, prepared with tap water
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]99.7
Energy [kcal]1
Energy [kJ]4
Ash [g]0.04
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]0.3
Iron, Fe [mg]0.02
Magnesium, Mg [mg]3
Phosphorus, P [mg]1
Potassium, K [mg]37
Sodium, Na [mg]3
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.02
Copper, Cu [mg]0.01
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.22
Fluoride, F [µg]372.9
Riboflavin [mg]0.01
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.01
Folate, total [µg]5
Folate, food [µg]5
Folate, DFE [µg]5
Choline, total [mg]0.4
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0
16:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0
18:2 [g]0
18:3 [g]0
Caffeine [mg]20
Theobromine [mg]2
Sources include : USDA

Black Tea Nutrition

It is rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols and catechins. Its oxidation capacity is more than oolong, white, and green teas. The antioxidant compounds found in tea are mainly theaflavins and thearubigins and catechins. These antioxidants are the compounds most responsible for black tea’s potent health benefits. Since regular drinkers take black tea every day, the potency of its effects is enhanced.

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.

Caffeine in Black Tea

Like other teas, black tea also contains caffeine. According to the USDA, a cup (240 gms) of hot brewed tea contains 48 mg caffeine. It is important to note here that the amount of caffeine also depends on the brewing time and its processing. So the brand you buy may also make a difference. For comparison, the same amount of green tea contains 28.8 mg of caffeine. Coffee contains double the amount with an average brewed cup containing at least 96 mg of caffeine.

For a clearer comparison, read our article Caffeine In Tea And Coffee: Which Is Healthier. To get a better understanding of its effects, read Caffeine In Tea: Top 12 Surprising Facts.

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:

A cup of black tea, a black kettle and a plate of black tea leaves on a wooden table

A warm cup of black tea is always a good idea. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Rich Source of Antioxidants

Black tea is a 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 tea help to inhibit free radical generation, scavenge free radicals, and help protect your cells against DNA damage.

According to a 2017 study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, black tea is rich in catechins and theaflavins. These antioxidants are responsible for many of the beneficial properties of black tea. Regular consumption of black tea can modulate one’s antioxidant capacity. It benefits overall health and can help even prevent or help in managing chronic conditions.

Prevents Heart Diseases

High amounts of flavanols, flavonols, theaflavins and gallic acid derivatives present in black tea help 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. Multiple studies have shown that black tea can help reduce risks posed by cardiovascular diseases. A study published in AHA Journals showed that regular consumption of black tea reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Similarly, another study showed that black tea lowered risks associated with heart diseases.

Drinking tea may reduce your chances of suffering a fatal or nonfatal stroke. A review of 9 studies involving 4378 cases of ischemic strokes, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, found that three or more cups of tea a day reduced the risk of stroke by 21 percent when compared to drinking less than a cup of tea a day.

Anticancer Potential

Multiple studies have attempted to explore the anticancer potential of black tea. A 2014 review published in Current Pharmaceutical Design found black tea may have anticancer potential against skin, lung, and breast cancer. One study suggests that it may be as effective against ovarian cancer. However, as an article in the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology points out, animal studies have often been more effective than human trials when it comes to the anti-carcinogenic effects of tea. More research needs to establish the association between black tea and its anticancer potential.

Health benefits of black tea infographic

Black tea is one of the most beloved drinks or beverages in the world, and almost 80% of humans consume it.

Helps Manage 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 the glycemic index. A study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism revealed that regular consumption of tea had antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects in people with type 2 diabetes.  

Prevents Strokes

Drinking more than one cup of black or green tea daily helps in preventing ischemic strokes.

Improves Digestion

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. Animal studies have shown that compounds present in this tea may also fight stomach ulcers.

Anti-bacterial Activity

Tea polyphenols are known for their antibacterial activity. Studies show that black tea reduces the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection. The antibacterial properties of tea make it quite handy when it comes to looking for home remedies, whether it is for smelly feet or soothing burns and rashes. For smelly feet, soak your feet in a water bath of strong black tea for 30 minutes. Similarly, apply a chilled tea bag to inflammations for a soothing effect.

Relieves Stress

Most of us have grown hearing about the magic of black tea in relaxing and energizing. Research has now backed the stress-relieving properties of this tea. In an article published in Nature, the authors explored different studies to find that tea has the ability to lift our mood and may even benefit people with mental illness. The key ingredients are believed to be L-theanine and EGCG in black tea. These either act alone or in combination with caffeine combination to lift our mood.

One study found that consumption of black tea helped people to recover more quickly from a stressful task. It reduced post-stress cortisol and showed greater relaxation among the test participants when compared to a caffeinated placebo.

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 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

Other benefits of black tea include:

Prevents Parkinson’s

According to MedlinePlus, black tea may help lower the risk of Parkinson’s. Black tea has polyphenols that help prevent neurodegenerative disorders. Studies also suggest that that tea’s neuroprotective effects have an inverse association with Parkinson’s disease.

Improves Alertness

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.

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 tea help to inhibit free radical generation, scavenge free radicals, and help protect your cells against DNA damage.

Skin Care

Rich in antioxidants, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties, black tea consumption improves the health and appearance of skin. 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. 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 (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2008).

Protects from UV Rays

UV rays can be extremely harsh to the skin and prolonged exposure can cause pigmentation. The topical application of black and green tea can protect the skin from harmful radiation as their polyphenols have a photoprotective effect.

Hair Care

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.

Boosts Immunity

Black tea not only fights bacteria but also strengthens the immune system. The rich source of antioxidants in this hot beverage prevents DNA damage by free radical scavenging activity.

Weight Loss

Black tea lowers triglyceride levels and visceral fats. Thus, a few lifestyle changes along with the consumption of black tea helps in weight loss. It also helps prevent inflammation-induced obesity.

How to Make Black Tea?

It is very easy to make loose black tea. Just follow the steps below!

Black tea being poured out from the teapot with ice cubes and mint leaves on the table

Soothing Black Tea Recipe

The best thing about making black tea at home is that you don’t need a lot of ingredients. It is less expensive and fun to make. Let's find out how!
3 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: black tea
Appliance: Stove
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Sakina Kheriwala

Ingredients

  • 1 cup simmering water and some more, if you wish to pre-heat the equipment used to brew tea
  • 1 tbsp 2 to 3 grams of loose leaf black tea
  • 1 tsp milk, lemon, sugar, honey optional

Instructions

  • Pour 1 cup of water in a teapot and heat it on a medium flame.
  • As the water comes to a boil, add 1-2 tablespoons of loose, black tea of your choice.
  • Place the lid on the teapot, or if using a cup, cover the cup with a lid or a small saucer.
  • Let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes. It’s best to taste your tea after 3 minutes and then after every 30 seconds until it satisfies your taste.
  • You can add milk or honey to sweeten your tea. Many people also prefer adding lemon and/or sugar cubes to their tea.
    A cup of black tea, a black kettle and a plate of black tea leaves on a wooden table

Notes

To make a strong tea, use more tea leaves rather than cooking it for a longer time to avoid the bitter taste of the tea. Avoid distilled water, which can make the black tea taste flat. Preferably, use fresh water that has not been boiled earlier.

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 that 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
  • Hemorrhoids
  • 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 the 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!

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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