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.
10. Aids in Weight Loss
Being ultra-low in sodium, fat and calories, black tea is highly beneficial for people who want to lose weight and helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Thus, it acts as an effective substitute for unhealthy soda drinks by preventing the intake of weight gain-causing calories. Beverages containing higher amounts of fat can cause lethal conditions and diseases. Black tea also boosts the metabolic activity and thus, aids in weight loss.
[ Read: Oolong Tea Benefits ]
11. Lowers Cholesterol
Black tea is effective in decreasing the level of triglycerides. It can reduce the LDL or bad cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Drinking several cups of black tea improves the functioning of the arteries and does not allow cholesterol to build up inside them.
12. Other Benefits
The antioxidants, catechins, strengthen the blood vessels, and tannin increases the resistance of the body against various infections. In addition, black tea inhibits allergic responses, retards tumor growth and can even delay the onset of diabetes.
Now that we have covered the health benefits of black tea, let’s look at benefits for the skin and the hair.
Skin Benefits Of Black Tea
In addition to its various health benefits, black tea is also considered good for your skin. Black tea is rich in vitamins B2, C and E, minerals such as magnesium, potassium and zinc, and some essential polyphenols and tannin. Thus, its nutritional value makes it beneficial for the skin in many ways.
13. Due to its high caffeine content, drinking black tea can kill oral viruses and thus, help in preventing skin infections and keeping your skin blemish-free.
14. Placing moist tea bags under your eyes helps in reducing puffiness.
15. Black tea also helps in reducing mimic wrinkles, and preventing pre-mature ageing and pimples. Thus, those suffering from these skin problems can try having one or two cups of black tea daily for beneficial results.
16. The antioxidants present in black tea provide protection against skin cancer.
17. The extract of black tea acts as a sun blocking agent when applied on the skin.
[ Read: Surprising Benefits Of White Tea ]
18. Polyphenols and tannins present in black tea accelerate the process of skin regeneration.
19. Black tea contributes to a glowing and blemish-free skin. The tannins protect your skin from the harmful impact of environment, improve the blood circulation and fight the bacteria in your body, thus providing protection against skin diseases.
Hair Benefits Of Black Tea
Due to the abundance of antioxidants and caffeine, black tea is considered extremely beneficial for the hair. Black tea can be incorporated in your hair care regimen for stronger and damage-free hair. The various benefits of black tea for the hair are given below:
20. The caffeine present in black tea helps in decreasing DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), a hormone found in the scalp that causes hair loss. Thus, black tea helps in increasing the hair thickness and lowering the hair loss.
21. Another benefit of caffeine is that it stimulates the hair growth when used once in a month. (Excess usage of caffeine should be avoided as it may stunt the growth).
22. Using black tea rinses as part of your hair care regimen adds shine, luster and natural darkness to your hair because of its dark hue. For this purpose, add 3 bags of tea to 6 cups of boiling water. After keeping this mix for an hour at room temperature, pour it on your head and wrap your hair in a towel. Wash your hair normally after an hour or two.
23. Black tea acts as a natural dyeing agent, and is suitable for women who have dark black or brown hair and want to get rid of gray hair or fading hair dyes. It darkens your hair besides adding shine and bringing out natural highlights.
Nutritional Value Of Black Tea
Just like other teas, black tea contains caffeine, amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, potassium, minerals, manganese, fluoride, and polyphenols. In addition to these, it also contains catechins, tannin, guanine, purine, gallic esters, and xanthine. The antioxidants, polyphenols, are associated with a number of health benefits. The nutritional profile of black tea is comprised of the following.
- Low Sodium and Calories: Black tea has a low sodium and calorie content provided that you do not add any sweeteners. Thus, it is advantageous for people who want to lose weight or just maintain optimum weight. It can be a great substitute to unhealthy soft drinks or colas which have a high content of sodium and fat.
- Antioxidants: Black tea contains complex flavonoid, polyphenols that play an important role in antioxidant consumption and disease prevention. A cup of black tea contains an average of 200 mg of flavonoids. The flavonoid polyphenols, thearubigins and theaflavins act as powerful antioxidants. Research has observed that drinking three cups of black tea per day for two weeks results in increased concentration of flavonoids in the blood by 25%.
Hence, black tea is extremely beneficial for your health, hair and skin. However, it should be consumed in moderation as large doses can cause side effects like digestive problems, varicose veins, insomnia, acidity, palpitations and the like.
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