Black tea is one of the most widely consumed teas. This tea is prepared from the leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis and is more oxidized than oolong, green and white teas. Thus, it generally has a stronger flavour than the other varieties of tea.
The method of black tea production makes it different from the other varieties of tea. After being plucked, the tea leaves are withered in order to release the moisture from them. When they lose the maximum amount of moisture, the leaves are rolled, either manually or with the help of machines, through exposure to high temperature. Once the leaves are oxidized fully, they are sorted according to their size.
The name ‘black tea’ can be attributed to the darkness of the tea’s liquor. However, technically, it is dark amber or orange in color. Hence, the Chinese referred to it as red tea. The caffeine content in any tea is often a cause of concern. As far as black tea is concerned, one cup of tea has about half the amount of caffeine found in a cup of coffee.
Health Benefits Of Black Tea:
Black tea is a good option to include as a part of your diet because of its several health benefits, most of which can be attributed to its favorable nutritional profile. Due to increased oxidation, black tea has more flavor and caffeine than its other counterparts. Moreover, the flavor of black tea can be retained for a much longer time than the other teas. The benefits of black tea for the health are given below.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits:
Research has proved that the consumption of black tea reduces the propensity of cardiovascular problems. The antioxidants, such as flavonoids, present in black tea prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It prevents the damage to the blood stream and the artery walls, and lowers the risk of heart disease. In fact, the consumption of black tea has been found to reverse a coronary artery disease called endothelial vasomotor dysfunction. This dysfunction also leads to other coronary diseases. The black tea flavonoids are effective in improving coronary vasodilation and reducing blood clots. The polyphenols and manganese present in black tea reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by helping cardiac muscle function.
2. Cancer Prevention:
The antioxidants, called polyphenols, found in black tea help in preventing the formation of potential carcinogens in the body, resulting in the prevention of certain cancers like ovarian, lung, prostrate, colorectal and bladder cancers. Studies have revealed that black tea is effective in preventing stomach, prostate and breast cancer. Black tea contains a compound called TF-2 that is responsible for causing apoptosis (programmed death of cancer cells), while the normal cells remain unaffected. Additionally, black tea can also significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer in those who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products. Black tea also prevents cancer by inhibiting the formation and growth of malignant tumors.
3. Eliminates Free Radicals:
The free radicals in the body can cause various cell damages such as blood clot formation, cancer and atherosclerosis. The consumption of unhealthy food increases the number of free radicals in your body. The antioxidants present in black tea remove these harmful free radicals, thus protecting the body from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart diseases. Black tea with lemon is a good choice for this action.
4. Boosts The Immune System:
A strong immune system is necessary for fighting the bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses. Black tea contains substances called ‘tannins’ that have the ability to fight viruses such as influenza, dysentery, hepatitis, cold, and flu. One such tannin called ‘catechin’ helps in suppressing tumors. The alkylamine antigens in black tea boost the immune response. Drinking 3 to 4 cups of black tea each day helps in lowering inflammation and eliminates harmful pathogens.
[ Read: Green Tea Benefits ]
5. Oral Health:
The catechin antioxidants contained in black tea help in the reduction of oral cancers. The polyphenols and tannin act as antibiotics, thus inhibiting the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Black tea contains fluoride which fights bad breath and prevents tooth decay by eradicating harmful bacteria from the oral cavity. A daily dose of two cups of black tea provides around 1.5 mg fluorides.
6. Stimulates The Brain And Nervous System:
Black tea contains lower levels of caffeine than coffee. The low amounts of caffeine promote the blood flow in the brain, without stimulating the heart, and improve mental alertness and concentration. The amino acid L-theanine, found in black tea, can help you relax and concentrate fully on tasks. The consumption of four cups of black tea daily for one month has been found to reduce the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. The caffeine in black tea boosts your memory and studies have suggested that the consumption of black tea on a regular basis protects against Parkinson’s disease.
7. Benefits The Digestive Tract:
The tannins in black tea are beneficial for digestion. These tannins help combat gastric and intestinal illnesses by having a therapeutic effect. Besides, they exercise an anti-diarrheal effect and help in decreasing the intestinal activity. The polyphenols help in lowering the intestinal inflammation suffered by patients of irritable bowel syndrome.
8. Healthy Bones And Connective Tissue:
The powerful phytochemicals in black tea help in strengthening the bones and connective tissue. In fact, research has proved that black tea drinkers have comparatively healthier bones.
9. More Energy:
Due to caffeine, black tea is considered an energizing drink that increases the efficiency. Caffeine, when taken in moderation, acts as a stimulant by increasing the brain function and alertness. In fact, the stimulating effect of caffeine in black tea is more than that of coffee and cola. Black tea has another compound called ‘theophylline’ that stimulates the respiratory system, heart and kidneys. Thus, these compounds help in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.