Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. People in the UK have been drinking tea for 350 years and Asia for around 4000 years. A study (2002) says that 77% of adults in the UK consume tea, with an average daily consumption of 2.3 cups (540 ml). Men and women drink about the same quantity of tea, with 46% opting for unsweetened tea (52% women, 39% men).
Black tea is one of the common tea forms. It is an even oxidised form of tea than oolong, green or white tea. Black tea consumption is higher in the 50–64 age group than in the 19–24 age group (644 ml vs 298 ml).
The black tea comes from ‘Camellia Sinensis’, native to China. It is popular due to its strong, bold taste and long shelf life. Before tea was considered a beverage in ancient times, people used it for medicinal purposes. Slowly, it became popular because of its flavour and the health benefits it offers. 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. Black tea and green tea offer similar benefits. But scientists are explicitly looking at black tea because of its oxidation process. Keeping this in mind, let’s look at what this beverage offers.
Nutritional Value of Black Tea
Usually, people drink black tea with milk, but consuming it with water gives the maximum benefits.
Since black tea is the most oxidised tea type, it provides a unique colour and flavour. It tastes savoury to sweet and has an amber to dark brown texture. Many people drink black tea for energy, alertness, and increasing metabolism before a workout. It is due to its caffeine content.
It also contains antioxidants that can help protect your cells from DNA damage. In addition, studies hint that antioxidants in black tea may help lessen the risk of atherosclerosis, which is clogged arteries, particularly in women.
With that said, let’s put some light on the nutritional value of black tea to understand its health benefits.
1 cup 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. The best part about black tea is the bold flavours that make it a satisfying drink. You can enjoy it at any time of the day.
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.
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 the digestive process. According to health experts, the flavonoids unique to black tea help shed those extra pounds. Black tea only has approximately two calories per cup. It also has 0% cholesterol and saturated fat.
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. Scientists believe that 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 deposits more efficiently.
On the other hand, 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 metabolic rate. Therefore, drinking black tea before your workout may help your body perform better and shed pounds faster.
Caffeine also raises the 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.
If you look at the nutrition table, you will see that the calorie count in black tea is almost negligible. Replacing high-calorie beverages and drinks like juice and soda with black tea can help lose weight quickly. Moreover, drinking black tea is a tastier alternative. Since black tea contains flavonoids, it can help improve fat distribution. Thus, it may lead to a healthier weight loss.
Proven Health Benefits of Black Tea
Scientists and researchers are still experimenting with the properties of black tea to find more solid evidence regarding weight loss. Nevertheless, you can include black tea in your daily diet and enjoy the overall health benefits it offers.
The health benefits of black tea are immense. From a healthy heart to improved digestive health, lowering the chances of diabetes, and more, black tea offers a whole list of health benefits.
Black Tea Reduces the 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 rates of type-2 diabetes. However, there is a need for more research. In addition, polyphenols like flavonoids are in abundance in black tea. These flavonoids help lower the glycemic index.
Another study on older adults shows that people drinking black tea for a prolonged period have 70% low chances of experiencing a spike in blood sugar levels. It means there is a lesser risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Another study suggests 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.
Black Tea May Help in Preventing Cancer
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 the normal body cells into cancerous cells.
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 cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and stomach cancer.
A case-control 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.
Black Tea Helps Improve Heart Functions
Numerous studies have shown that drinking black tea lowers the chances of stroke in adults.
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. As a result, it helps increase blood flow to all body parts. The speedier blood circulation helps provide more oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.
One 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.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that people who consume black tea daily are less prone to developing cardiovascular conditions.
Black Tea Helps in Relieving Stress
Drinking black tea reduces cortisol (a stress hormone) production and helps in normalising it. On the other hand, black tea is rich in an amino acid called I-theanine that promotes relaxation by easing stress. Researchers at the University College London (UCL) discovered that people who drank tea de-stressed faster than those who drank a fake tea substitute.
If you are going through rough times mentally, you should drink three or more cups of black tea in a day. It helps in a speedy recovery from stress. If not treated early, stress can cause chronic illnesses like coronary heart disease and other mental disorders. Drinking black tea also helps in soothing your mind and allows you to concentrate.
Black Tea Protects Against Bad Bacteria
The flavonoids and polyphenols found in black tea have antibacterial properties. In addition, several studies suggest that consumption of black tea helps lower the risk of helicobacter pylori infection. It is 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 deep comfort.
Black Tea Improves 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, they help combat stomach ulcers, boost the immune system health, and provide 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 aids the growth of good gut bacteria, thereby improving gut health.
Black Tea Makes Stronger Bones
The flavonoids present in the black tea helps keep the bones healthy, therefore 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.
On the other hand, phytochemicals help reduce inflammation in the muscles, especially joints. It allows easy mobility. Drinking black tea also leads to greater bone mineral density.
Black Tea Beneficial for Good Oral Health
Oral problems like bleeding gums, bad breath, plaque formation etc., can affect your health and self-esteem. Polyphenols like flavonoids, tannins, and catechins possess anti-microbial properties that help keep your oral health intact.
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. Dr Wu’s 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. It helps destroy and surpass bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Black Tea: Healthy Recipes
Making black tea is probably one of the most manageable tasks. However, it is all about precision and timing. If you miss anything, it can alter the taste. But don’t worry! 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, cardamom and let the flavours infuse. (Let it simmer).
- Filter the tea, add honey, rose water, 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 as well. The same goes for black tea. Here are the potential side effects of black tea that you should know.
- Reduced iron absorption
- Increased anxiety and restlessness
- Poor sleep
- Pregnancy complications
- Caffeine dependence
Hence, you must drink black tea in moderation. Overuse may result in side effects and adverse reactions. So, you should drink and use black tea in moderation. That way, you will be able to reap all its health benefits.
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.
These tea types are less healthy. As mentioned above, black tea has many health benefits, from controlling diabetes to reducing the risk of heart disease and more. However, moderate consumption is advised because of its adverse side effects. Consult your doctor before including black tea in your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is drinking black tea good for you?
A. Yes, black tea offers several advantages and is high in antioxidants. In addition, black tea also includes gut-friendly bacteria and reduces blood pressure. Other advantages include a lower risk of stroke, lower blood sugar levels and improved focus. Hence, one should drink black tea to acquire these benefits.
Q. What is the difference between black tea and regular tea?
A. Regular tea is prepared with spices, herbs, and milk; whereas, black tea does not include any of these ingredients. On the other hand, black tea is a beverage made by pouring boiling water over fresh Camellia sinensis leaves and steeping them for several minutes.
Q. Is it OK to drink black tea every day?
A. Yes, drinking up to 4 cups a day is beneficial for the body and can cause no harm. However, excessive intake is risky due to caffeine amounts, which can cause adverse effects.
Q. Can I drink black tea at night?
A. Drinking black tea at night is not a good idea if caffeine inhibits your sleep. Instead, before bedtime, you should stick to herbal teas, as they virtually contain no caffeine. Another option is 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.
Q. Is black tea Good for an empty stomach?
A. Yes, you can consume black tea on an empty stomach. However, if the quality of the tea is not good, it may cause acidity. Generally, it is preferable to drink tea after meals and snacks, as it aids in digestion and activates the metabolism.
Q. Can Gastric people drink black tea?
A. Yes, good quality black tea is especially effective at treating diarrhoea, and it also soothes an upset stomach.
Q. Why is black tea better than tea with milk?
A. Tea has 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, they have identical advantages. Black tea is often a good option if you’re searching 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 losing weight?
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. Tea is slightly acidic, and drinking tea on an empty stomach might upset the acid-basic balance. It can lead 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 in black tea?
A. Yes, you can. However, adding sugar to a cup of tea, whether refined white sugar or honey, 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 the 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 can contribute to irregular bowel movements. Therefore, black tea improves gut health and digestion.
Q. What are the benefits of drinking tea with lemon?
A. Yes, 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.