Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. And India is the 2nd largest producer of tea in the world. Interestingly, around 80% of the total tea produced in India is consumed by the domestic population.
Black tea is one of the most common tea varieties. It is a more oxidised form of tea than oolong, green or white tea. The black tea comes from ‘Camellia Sinensis’, native to China. It is popular because of its strong aroma, bold taste and long shelf life. The most famous varieties of black tea are Assam, Darjeeling, Kenya, Nilgiri and Nepal.
Black tea is an excellent source of antioxidants that play a crucial role in keeping the body healthy. Let’s explore the health benefits of this amazing beverage in detail.
Nutritional Value of Black Tea
Usually, people drink black tea with milk but consuming it without milk offers the maximum benefits.
Since black tea is the most oxidised tea type, it possesses a unique colour and flavour. It tastes savoury to sweet and has an amber to dark brown tint.
Given its high caffeine content, many people drink black tea for energy, alertness, and increasing metabolism before a workout.
It also contains antioxidants that can help protect your cells from DNA damage. In addition, these antioxidants may help lessen the risk of atherosclerosis, which is clogged arteries, particularly in women.
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With that said, let’s put some light on the nutritional value of black tea to understand its health benefits.
1 cup of black tea (237gm) contains:
- Calories – 2.4
- Carbohydrates – 0.4 grams
- Fibre – 0.1 grams
- Fats – 0.0. Grams
- Proteins – 0.1 grams
It is safe to say that black tea is undoubtedly a healthy beverage that contains all the essential nutrients and minerals. Including black tea in your daily diet helps you lead a healthy life. You can make the most of this beverage by drinking it regularly.
Proven Health Benefits of Black Tea
1. Reduced Risk Of Diabetes
According to studies, long-term intake of black tea may help lower fasting blood glucose levels. As a result, it may help reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes.
It has been observed in studies that people who drink black tea for a prolonged period have a 70% low chance of experiencing a spike in blood sugar levels. It means there is a lesser risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Studies suggest that women drinking more than or equal to 4 cups of tea per day have a 30% reduced chance of getting type 2 diabetes than other women.
Going by the above data, it is safe to say that black tea may help prevent the risk of type-2 diabetes.
2. Cancer Prevention
Black tea is high in theaflavins, an antioxidant that can help destroy abnormal cells in the body. The free radicals present in our body can create significant damage by turning normal body cells into cancerous ones. The antioxidant content in black tea is so high that it keeps the free radicals at bay. In addition, it plays a significant role in the prevention of substantial cancer types like skin, stomach, ovarian, and breast cancer.
A controlled study in Uruguay suggests that tea consumption decreases the incidence of lung cancer in male cigarette smokers.
Consumption of black tea also aids in increasing globulin hormones in females throughout their menstrual cycle.
3. Improved Heart Functions
Black tea includes flavonoids, which help prevent plaque accumulation in the arteries. As a result, it helps reduce cardiac stress. Furthermore, caffeine in black tea dilates the blood vessels of the body which helps increase blood flow to all body parts. The speedier blood circulation helps provide more oxygen to the organs and tissues.
A randomised study discovered that consuming black tea for 12 weeks decreased triglyceride levels by 36%, blood sugar levels by 18%, and the LDL/HDL plasma ratio by 17%.
Another research reveals that those who drank three cups of black tea daily had an 11% lower chance of getting heart disease.
4. Stress Relief
Drinking black tea reduces cortisol (a stress hormone) production and helps in normalising it. Furthermore, black tea is rich in an amino acid called I-theanine which eases stress. Researchers at the University College London (UCL) discovered that people who drank tea de-stressed faster than those who drank a tea substitute.
Drinking black tea also helps in soothing your mind and allows you to concentrate.
5. Protection Against Bad Bacteria
The flavonoids and polyphenols found in black tea have antibacterial properties. Several studies suggest that the consumption of black tea helps lower the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection, a bacterial infection that affects the stomach.
Moreover, it also prevents unnecessary sweating, a sign of bacterial infection. Doctors and health professionals say that applying chilled black tea bags to razor bumps, burns, itchiness, and redness can provide comfort.
6. Better Digestive Health
Black tea contains many tannins and other chemicals that positively affect digestive health and relaxes the system.
The anti-inflammatory properties of black tea help cure digestive problems. In addition, it helps combat stomach ulcers and provides a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illness.
Research published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at the effects of black tea on diarrhoea in 60 people aged 2 to 12. The randomised controlled study found that black tea has antidiarrhoeal effects and can help relieve stomach pain.
Black tea even aids the growth of good gut bacteria, thereby improving gut health.
7. Stronger Bones
The flavonoids present in black tea help keep the bones healthy, thereby preventing fractures.
Minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus keep the bones stronger and reduce the chances of developing arthritis and other joint issues. In addition, a study suggests that women who drink more than or equal to three cups of tea per day have a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
The phytochemicals present in tea help reduce inflammation in the muscles, especially joints and allows easy mobility. Drinking black tea also leads to greater bone mineral density.
8. Black Tea Beneficial for Good Oral Health
Polyphenols like flavonoids, tannins, and catechins present in black tea possess anti-microbial properties that help keep your oral health intact and prevent related problems like bleeding gums, bad breath and plaque formation.
Black tea promotes the production of salivary enzymes. If you consume black tea regularly, it can lower inflammation, prevent cavities, and stop the growth of bacteria.
A study suggests that rinsing the mouth with black tea for 30 seconds, five times, at a 3-minute interval, reduces plaque bacteria from developing.
Doctors recommend drinking a cup or two of unsweetened black tea with water as it helps destroy and surpass bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Black Tea for Weight Loss
People have found a new reason to drink black tea – weight loss!
A study evaluates inter-relationships between tea compounds and the gut microbiome. It also suggests that black tea works as a probiotic that aids digestive processes. Black tea has only two calories per cup with 0% cholesterol and saturated fat.
Read more: Black Tea for Weight Loss – A Simple Guide
The molecules of black tea are more significant than the other tea types. It means that black tea molecules spend more time in the small intestine.
The presence of these molecules in the small intestine helps increase the amounts of good bacteria and microorganisms in the gut microbiome. As a result, the liver tissues burn fat more efficiently.
Furthermore, black tea is considered a weight-loss beverage because it contains the highest concentration of caffeine among all the tea categories.
A cup of black tea contains about 47 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine boosts energy and increases the metabolic rate. Therefore, drinking black tea before your workout may help your body perform better and shed those extra pounds faster.
Caffeine also raises body temperature, also known as ‘thermogenesis.’ When the temperature increases, it triggers reactions in the body that results in improved metabolism of nutrients and vitamins, and ultimately, fat burning.
The calorie count in black tea is almost negligible. Replacing high-calorie beverages and drinks like juice and soda with black tea can help one lose weight quickly. Since black tea contains flavonoids, it can help improve fat distribution.
Plain black tea without any sugar or sweeteners has certain key health benefits, from reducing one’s risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart ailments, to even improving digestive and bone health, not to mention, preventing the formation of oral bacteria or warding of Helicobacter pylori, Black tea certainly has key health advantages. Also, on the list are improved metabolism and enhanced weight loss outcomes.
This a great list of health benefits for sure, however, do remember, to stick to the recommended serving sizes to gain optimum health outcomes.
Black Tea – Healthy Drinks to Try
Making black tea is probably one of the most manageable tasks. It’s all about precision and timing. This section will tell you how to make tasty, refreshing types of black tea at home, like a pro.
Lemon Black Tea Recipe
- Loose-leaf black tea – 2 tbsp (teabag also works fine)
- Water – 1 cup
- Lemon – optional
- Take a saucepan, add water, and cook on a medium flame for a couple of minutes.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the loose tea leaves while stirring (make sure you bring the stove to medium heat).
- Boil the mixture on a low flame and let the water infuse all the elements of black tea.
- Strain the leaves, add lemon juice and serve hot.
Iced Black Tea Recipe
- Loose-leaf black tea: 2 tbsp (teabag also works fine)
- Crushed cardamom pods: 3
- Fresh Mint: 3-4 leaves
- Rosewater: 1 tbsp
- Honey: 1 tbsp
- Add the water to a pan and brew tea. Allow it to cool.
- Now, add tea powder, and cardamom and let the flavours infuse. (Let it simmer).
- Filter the tea, add honey, rose water, and mint leaves and serve cold or hot.
Black Tea – Other Ways to Use
- Black tea can impart a smoky flavour to soups, including red meat or mushrooms.
- Poaching food in black tea infuses the aroma of the tea into the food. For example, poaching mushrooms in lapsang souchong black tea is one option.
- For cooking beans and grains: Substituting tea for water lends a smoky touch to the food flavour.
- In desserts: Steep black tea leaves in warm milk and then use it in puddings or custards. Similarly, you can prepare a chocolate mousse with Earl Grey black tea infusion.
Possible Side Effects of Black Tea
While black tea is all good for your health, you should know that everything in this world has limitations. If there are pros, there will be cons. The same goes for black tea. Here are the potential side effects of black tea that you should know.
Black tea is rich in tannic acid. While foods rich in tannic acid are great sources of antioxidants, research suggests that its overconsumption can affect the body’s ability to absorb minerals like calcium, zinc and iron. A reduced level of iron in the body can be the cause of anaemia. Common symptoms of anaemia include dizziness, fatigue, poor concentration and increased risk of infection etc.
According to research, a high dose of caffeine affects the body adversely causing various conditions that range from mild to severe like irritability, sleeplessness and upset stomach to increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and calcium loss.
Studies indicate that too much black tea induces the release of high levels of stress hormones in your body that may lead to anxiety and depression.
Caffeine may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort by increasing the production of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) when consumed on an empty stomach. We often have caffeinated drinks to change our mood but we must realise that the effect is only temporary. Apart from the damage it does to our body, it increases dependency and you would need an increasing quantity each time to feel the same short-term boost.
Caffeinated drinks should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy as they may adversely affect the fetus’s development and can even cause miscarriage or stillbirth. A high intake of caffeine during pregnancy leads to poor gestational weight gain and SGA.
Apart from interfering with the mineral absorption ability of the body, black tea with its components like caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine can also hinder the working of various medications or reduce their effectiveness.
India is a country of tea lovers. Black tea is one of the most common types of tea and has several health benefits like reducing the risk of diabetes and cancer.
It also helps manage stress and promotes oral and bone health. It is best to drink plain black tea. Adding milk, sugar, cream, and syrups will increase the calorie content and possibly reduce its health benefits.
Moreover, if you are health conscious, you should refrain from ready-to-drink teas and iced teas. However, moderate consumption is advised because of its adverse side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is drinking black tea good for you?
A. Yes, black tea offers several health advantages. It improves heart function and digestive health by protecting against bad bacteria. Black tea also relieves stress, reduces the risk of diabetes and may prevent cancer.
Q. What is the difference between black tea and regular tea?
A. Regular tea is prepared with spices, herbs, and milk whereas, black tea is a beverage made by pouring boiling water over fresh Camellia sinensis leaves and steeping them for several minutes. Adding milk to black tea is a personal choice.
Q. Is it OK to drink black tea every day?
A. Yes, drinking up to 2 cups of black tea a day is beneficial for the body. It improves heart and digestive functions, relieves stress, improves oral health and even aids weight loss. However, excessive intake is risky due to caffeine amounts, which can cause adverse effects like affecting mineral absorption by the body, causing anaemia and interfering with several medications.
Q. Can I drink black tea at night?
A. Drinking black tea at night is not a good idea as caffeine inhibits your sleep. Instead, you should stick to herbal teas, as they contain little to no caffeine. Another option is to cold brew your tea because of its low caffeine content.
Q. Which tea has the most antioxidants?
A. Different teas contain different types and amounts of antioxidants. However, their effects on the body are primarily the same. Your body will receive antioxidants like catechins and polyphenols, regardless of the tea you drink. Hence, your tea preference should always depend on the amount of caffeine you desire in your system and the specific benefits associated with each variety.
Q. Is black tea Good for the liver?
A. Yes, black tea may be beneficial in lowering the levels of enzymes and fats in the liver. Regular and moderate consumption of black tea may also prevent conditions like liver stiffness and thus protect against cirrhosis.
Q. Is black tea good for an empty stomach?
A. No, having black tea on an empty stomach can lead to gastronomical issues like acidity. It is advisable to drink tea after meals or snacks, as it aids in digestion and activates the metabolic process
Q. Can Gastric people drink black tea?
A. Yes, people suffering from gastric issues can also have black tea. The only point to remember is not having it on an empty stomach.
Q. Why is black tea better than tea with milk?
A. Tea leaves have potent antioxidants, and adding milk cuts down the antioxidants. In addition, adding milk makes your tea a source of inflammation and acidity.
Q. Why black tea is bad for you?
A. Consuming excessive amounts of black tea (more than four or five cups per day) may result in health complications. It is primarily due to caffeine. The possible side effects of black tea are anxiety and the inability to sleep.
Q. Is black tea inflammatory?
A. No, it is anti-inflammatory. It helps lower the C-reactive protein levels (a sign of inflammation).
Q. Which is healthier, black or green tea?
A. Except for the polyphenol content, black tea and green tea have identical advantages. Black tea is often a good option if you’re looking for a caffeine boost. However, if your body is sensitive to caffeine, green tea is an excellent alternative because it contains L theanine (an amino acid) that is relaxing.
Q. Is black tea good for weight loss?
A. Yes. Flavonoids present in black tea decrease visceral fat and triglyceride levels. In addition, it decreases obesity caused by inflammation. Furthermore, a cup of black tea contains only about two calories. It also has no cholesterol or saturated fat, which leads to weight loss.
Q. What does black tea do to your body?
A. Black tea includes antioxidants known as flavonoids, beneficial for cardiovascular health. In addition, regular consumption may help reduce the risk of many diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels, and obesity.
Q. What happens if you drink black tea on an empty stomach?
A. Black tea is slightly acidic, and thus having it on an empty stomach might upset the acid-alkaline balance leading to acidity or indigestion. Additionally, black tea contains a compound called theophylline, which dehydrates the body and may cause constipation. Therefore, drinking black tea on an empty stomach is not recommended.
Q. Can we add sugar to black tea?
A. Yes, you can. However, adding sugar to your black tea increases the calorie count.
Q. Is black tea with lemon good for you?
A. Yes, by adding lemon to black tea, you can help keep your calorie and fat intake under control. That is because black tea restricts the body’s ability to absorb iron, but lemon works in the opposite direction by supporting the body’s ability to absorb iron. Therefore, lemon with black tea is good for you.
Q. Is black tea with lemon good for digestion?
A. Yes, black tea contains tannins, which have an astringent effect. It aids in reducing inflammation and irritation, which cause irregular bowel movements. Therefore, black tea improves gut health and digestion.
Q. What are the benefits of drinking tea with lemon?
A. There are numerous advantages of drinking black tea with lemon. Lemon is a potent antioxidant that aids the body in combating free radicals. Consuming lemon black tea protects you from a variety of diseases and also aids in the battle against early indications of ageing. Both lemon and tea are diuretics. It means they prevent water retention in the body, hence preventing bloating.
Q. Does black tea detox your body?
A. Yes, black tea is packed with several antioxidants and phytonutrients that help flush
out toxins from the body.
Q. Is black tea with milk good for you?
A. Adding milk to your black tea reduces its antioxidant properties as the milk proteins bind the polyphenols together decreasing their effectiveness. Milk also softens the tea flavour of the tea and makes it sweeter.
Q. Is coffee better than black tea?
Even though the taste of black tea and coffee is a matter of personal preference, the latter ranks better in terms of health benefits and potential side effects. With zero saturated fat and lesser caffeine, black tea is a better beverage for all age groups.
Q. Is black tea good for the skin?
Yes, regular consumption of black tea enriches the skin and fights free radicals that cause infection and blemishes. The polyphenols in black tea delay skin ageing and rejuvenate skin cells making the skin more elastic and brighter. Applying black tea leaves to your face/cheeks reduces puffiness and pigmentation.
Q. Can black tea reduce belly fat?
A. Yes, with zero per cent saturated fats and cholesterol, black tea is great at reducing belly fat. Black tea contains the highest concentration of caffeine among all the tea categories. Caffeine boosts energy and increases metabolic rate. Therefore, drinking black tea before your workout may help your body perform better and shed a few extra pounds faster. Caffeine also raises body temperature, also known as ‘thermogenesis.’ When the temperature increases, it triggers reactions in the body that results in improved metabolism of nutrients and vitamins, and ultimately, fat burning.
Q. Is black tea good for your lungs?
A. Yes, black tea is particularly beneficial for protecting the lungs of smokers. Smoking cigarette causes oxidative damage to proteins that lead to inflammation and cellular damage to the lungs. The inflammation-reducing antioxidants present in black tea safeguard lung tissues from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation to an extent.
Q. What is the best time to drink black tea?
A. Black tea is a healthy beverage and can be consumed at any time of the day. However, avoid drinking it on an empty stomach as it’s slightly acidic and can cause gastronomical issues like stomach pain or gas. Also, you would not want to have black tea before bed if you’re sensitive to caffeine since it has the highest caffeine content among all teas.
Q. How can I reduce my stomach fat?
A. Black tea is a great beverage that helps in losing belly fat. It has zero per cent fat and cholesterol and a negligible amount of calories. It’s rich in flavonoids that improve body fat deposition. Black tea contains the highest concentration of caffeine among all the tea categories. Caffeine boosts energy and increases metabolic rate. Therefore, drinking black tea before your workout may help your body perform better and shed pounds faster. Caffeine also raises body temperature, also known as ‘thermogenesis.’ When the temperature increases, it triggers reactions in the body that results in improved metabolism of nutrients and vitamins, and ultimately, fat burning. Furthermore, the molecules of black tea spend more time in the small intestine which increases the amounts of good bacteria and microorganisms in the gut microbiome. As a result, the liver tissues burn fat deposits more efficiently.
Q. What can I mix with black tea to lose weight?
A. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to black tea helps lose weight more efficiently.
- Tea Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669862/
- Associations of dietary flavonoids with risk of type 2 diabetes, and markers of insulin resistance and systemic inflammation in women: a prospective study and cross-sectional analysis: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16192263/
- Health benefits of Green and Black Tea: A Review: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318580842_Health_benefits_of_Green_and_Black_Tea_A_Review
- The effect of black tea on risk factors of cardiovascular disease in a normal population: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22198621/
- Black tea–helpful or harmful? A review of the evidence: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16855537/
- Black tea is the best stress-buster: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/black-tea-is-the-best-stress-buster/story-MZfUfrOOPNOJSathhRJB7K.html
- Honey and green/black tea consumption may reduce the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25779680/
- The Effect of Black Tea (Camellia sinensis (L) Kuntze) on Pediatrics With Acute Nonbacterial Diarrhea: A Randomized Controlled Trial: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304193128_The_Effect_of_Black_Tea_Camellia_sinensis_L_Kuntze_on_Pediatrics_With_Acute_Nonbacterial_Diarrhea_A_Randomized_Controlled_Trial
- Tea and Health: Studies in Humans: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055352/#R55
- Tea Fights Cavities, Reduces Plaque: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010523072047.htm
- Tea Compounds and the Gut Microbiome: Findings from Trials and Mechanistic Studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835862/
- Effects of caffeine on human behaviour: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11185016_Effects_of_caffeine_on_human_behavior
- Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/
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