Black tea is the second most consumed drink in the world after water, and it’d not just for its delicious taste. Tea is an essential part of so many people’s day that most can’t perform without it.

If you’re one of those people, then you will be glad to know that your favorite cup of tea is more valuable than you thought.

Black tea is gotten from the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant, which are boiled or steeped to extract the beverage.

Most teas are from the same plant, so if you notice that green tea and black tea look and taste different, it’s because they are processed differently.

Black tea is further fermented after the initial withering, rolling, and heating processes green tea goes through, and this gives it its distinct flavor and dark orange/amber hue.

Sometimes, other herbs, flavors, and fragrances are added to black tea to create more variants, but the original brew stands well on its own.

You may add milk, sugar, honey, or even lemon to your tea, but you get most of its benefits if you keep it simple and drink it black.

Fig 1: Benefits of black tea. Source: Scoop Empire

BENEFITS OF BLACK TEA

1. Stress Relief and Energy Boost

With all the stress you go through in your day to day activities, a good stress reliever is essential to help you unwind. What is better than a cup of tasty brew waiting for you at the end of a long and stressful day?

Tea has always been used as a stress reliever, and people believed that just inhaling the steam is enough to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety and all the problems that come with stress.

Well, this is no longer a belief because it has been backed by science. Yes, studies have shown that a good cup of black tea does help you relax and distress.

Not only that, black tea gives you a healthy dose of energy because of its caffeine content.

But, because it contains only small amounts of caffeine, you enjoy the energy and alertness without the caffeine crash and fatigue that comes when you drink coffee. Black tea also relieves you of some headaches and reduces puffy eyes.

2. Fights Against Cancer

Did you know that black tea has been linked to the prevention of many different cancers? Well, now, you do. Oral cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and others have been linked to black tea. The major ingredients in black tea that fights cancer are the polyphenols.

Polyphenols are antioxidants that are great for eliminating free radicals in the body.

These free radicals are responsible for several negative effects in the body, one of which is speeding up the growth of cancer cells.

Polyphenols get rid of these free radicals, and they regulate the growth of cancer cells, particularly in breast cancer.

They also regulate the growth of new cells that can end up becoming cancerous.

Unfortunately, they are not effective for all cancers, and more research has to be taken to solidify the link between polyphenols and cancer, and also harness their anticancer abilities.

Black tea is not an alternative to cancer treatments, but you can take them mainly as a preventive measure.

Till then, keep drinking your daily cup of black tea, and you might avoid having any cancers.

3. Cholesterol Regulation

Black tea plays a major role in maintaining your heart health and cholesterol levels.

You may not know, but drinking 2 cups of black tea a day is great for your ticker, and this is why – reduction of bad cholesterol.

Cholesterol is not entirely bad for the heart, and lipoproteins regulate it.  There are two types; the good and the bad. Good cholesterol is the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), while low-density lipoprotein is considered ‘bad’ cholesterol.

They are classified that way because LDL takes cholesterol into the cells, which you certainly do not want because the cholesterol tends to accumulate and form plaque in your arteries.

That’s what causes stroke or cardiac arrest. On the other hand, HDL takes cholesterol out of your cells and into your liver for excretion.

So, you want more HDL and less LDL, which is what black tea does for you.

A study showed that people who had 5 servings of black tea in a month had 11% less LDL within a short time.

So, if you care about your heart, you should seriously consider including black tea in your daily routine.

4. Antibacterial Action

Do you get colds and fevers frequently? If you do, then you need to consider drinking more black tea. Not only is it refreshing and warming, but it also contains tannins that help prevent viral sicknesses.

Tannins in black tea contribute to its pleasant flavor, and they also help keep you safe from the flu, hepatitis, and other viral strains. You can also drink tea as a remedy of sorts.

Since you can’t treat colds, you can drink it to feel better and relieve you of some of the cold symptoms.

The antioxidant content of black tea is also great for boosting your immune system.

Antioxidants get rid f free radicals that may accumulate in your body and make you more susceptible to sicknesses.

You can also find alkylamine antigens in black tea, and they are good for improving your immune response.

Plus, drinking black tea as an anti-viral or antibacterial compound is less offensive than taking pills, don’t you think?

5. Oral Health

Okay, this benefit may sound unrealistic, but it has been proven several times. Black tea actually clans your mouth and improves your oral health.

It even prevents those oral conditions that cause discomfort and bad breath.

Why is that?

Because of the fluoride,  polyphenols, and tannins found in black tea. These compounds kill bacteria and reduce your chances of getting infections in your mouth.

Try drinking a cup of black tea, and you’ll immediately notice an improvement in your breath and the freshness of your mouth.

It doesn’t end there; black tea also contains catechin.

Catechin is a flavonoid and antioxidant that eliminates free radicals, hinders cell growth, and reduces wear and tear in your tissues.

So, catechin is a primary agent in fighting against oral cancer and cavities. It also hinders the accumulation of plaque on your teeth.

But, you shouldn’t use black tea as a replacement for your toothpaste and toothbrush; instead, it can be an accompaniment.

6. Bone Density

The older you get, the more interest you should have in the state of your bones.

Bones don’t stay strong throughout your life, so you need to pay a little more attention to them.

The best way to do that is to incorporate calcium-dense foods into your diet, and black tea is one of the easiest ones to use.

Black tea has high calcium content, and people who drink it regularly tend to have stronger bone even till old age.

According to research, black tea also helps older people manage their osteoporosis. It reduces their risk of fractures due to some flavonoid compounds that are found in black tea.

It also increases their bone density and even reduces your chance of getting arthritis because of its phytochemical content.

So, you can start enjoying this beverage knowing that you’re improving your reducing your chances of osteoporosis.

7. Digestion and Diarrhea

Next time you have indigestion, or a digestive issue, consider reaching for some black tea instead of drugs.

Black tea is a natural antispasmodic, which means that it stops spasming and jerking of your digestive muscles, which relieves you of digestive issues like nausea, acid reflux, and even some cases of IBS.

You can also treat mild cases of diarrhea with some black tea, as long as you take it black. If you incorporate black tea into your diet, you have a lower chance of having diarrhea in general.

8. Blood Sugar Regulation

One crucial benefit of black tea is the regulation of blood sugar levels. If your sugar levels get too high, you have a high risk of getting diabetes, kidney failure, and even heart disease.

And with the way the average human consumes sugar, wouldn’t you appreciate a cheap and easy way to regulate your blood sugar levels? Especially if most of your sugar intake comes from processed foods and drinks with high sugar content.

Black tea regulates blood sugar by directly influencing how much sugar gets used up in the body through the work of insulin. If you’ve heard of insulin, then you know insulin is responsible for distributing sugar in the proper muscles so it can be turned to energy.

When your body’s insulin doesn’t work well, or you take in too much sugar, the excess is diverted to your fat stores.

Ever wondered why you gain weight on a high sugar diet?

This is why!

Anyway, black tea boosts insulin activity, making it up to 15 times more effective in regulating your blood sugar.

9. Focus and Concentration

The caffeine present in black tea is responsible for improving your focus and keeping your alert hours after you take it.

It also contains L-theanine, which is an amino acid that also contributes to this benefit. L-theanine works directly on your brain by boosting alpha activity, which instantly improves your concentration and focus.

You can even improve your accuracy and sharpness when you drink tea, and you avoid the jerky energy and fatigue that can come from getting your caffeine from coffee.

10.  Healthy Skin and Hair

You can’t talk about the wonders of black tea without mentioning its marvelous antioxidant properties that translate into healthy skin and hair.

Because black tea is packed full of antioxidants, it can reduce the effects of aging and wrinkles, leaving your skin healthy and smooth.

If you’d rather not drink it, you can apply it topically as a mask or rinse for added moisture and sheen. Black tea is also a natural astringent, so it can tighten your pores and makes your face appear tighter and more sculpted.

Black tea is a natural sunscreen that protects your skin from the harsh effects of UV ray exposure. Before leaving the house, apply some black tea on your face, and you’ll be protected from UV rays.

11. Weight Loss

One popular benefit of black tea is that it helps you to lose weight faster.

Now, black tea alone won’t make you lose weight immediately, but if you combine it with some other healthy habits and workouts, it makes a difference.

The secret behind black tea’s weight loss properties is its ability to speed up your metabolism, and to lower cholesterol in the body, thereby reducing your chances of getting heart disease, obesity, and other conditions affected by cholesterol levels.

SIDE EFFECTS OF BLACK TEA

With all the benefits of black tea listed above, it would seem like black tea can do no wrong, right? Well, that’s not the case, unfortunately. Every food we take in has a side effect; you just have to take too much of it.

For black tea, anything more than 3-4 cups of black tea daily can cause some side effects, especially if you have a preexisting complication.

The primary cause of the side effects in black tea is caffeine, and the following are side effects that can arise from overconsumption of black tea:

1. Restlessness and Increased Anxiety

As mentioned earlier, caffeine is the primary cause of many side effects found in black tea, and it is the cause of the increased restlessness you might feel after taking a lot of black tea.

Too much caffeine is proven by several studies to increase feelings of stress, restlessness, and even anxiety in many people. You can tell when this happens if you soon start feeling on edge and jumpy after drinking your tea.

The normal amount of caffeine you should be consuming is around 150 to 200mg per day. Anything higher than 200mg is more likely to make you stressed out, anxious, and can drastically reduce your sleep quality and make you extra grumpy in the morning.

Luckily, one cup of black tea contains only about 60mg of caffeine, so you can comfortably drink 3 cups a day without getting these caffeine-induced side effects.

However, if you’re especially sensitive to caffeine, you might want to be more careful as a smaller amount can still cause these symptoms.

Fig 2: Comparison of tea and coffee. Source: Medical Daily

2. Iron Deficiency

This side effect is another example of the saying, ‘too much of everything is bad.’

The tannins in black tea that we love for adding flavor and fighting against diseases are the same compounds that can cause an iron deficiency in tea drinkers.

They do this by chemically binding iron molecules to some foods, which makes it impossible to be absorbed, thus leading to an iron deficiency.

If you already have less than stellar amounts of iron in your body, you should avoid black tea with passion.

If you can’t, make sure you stay within 1 to 2 cups a day, and you may be fine. Also, if you’re a vegan, or you get most of your iron from plants, you should be more careful because tannins attack iron gotten from plants at a higher rate than that gotten from animals.

3. Headaches

Headaches are possibly the most common side effects of caffeine, and it is ironic considering caffeine relieves some headaches.

The only issue is when you drink too much, as you’ve seen several times. If you’re lucky, you might experience slight and infrequent headaches, but some people with more sensitivity can get more severe ones.

The amount of caffeine that causes headaches isn’t clear, but it depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine. It can vary from 100mg to above 200mg, so you have to pay attention and figure out what works best for you.

PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Fig 3: Caffeine consumption chart for pregnant women.  Source: Today’s Parent

Underage children are better off not drinking black tea because it contains caffeine, which is not good for them.

While black tea contains a lot less caffeine than coffee, it may still be too much for them, and it could lead to caffeine dependence, poor mental development, and caffeine addiction. It can also make them hyperactive, make them lose concentration, and reduce their attention span.

Pregnant women, in particular, shouldn’t consume high levels of caffeine.

Tea is the safest bet for them, but they still have to regulate their tea intake because too much caffeine causes so many complications in pregnancy, from giving birth to a child with caffeine withdrawal symptoms or low birth weight, to even a miscarriage.

A lot of women love to take black tea during pregnancy because it makes them relax and helps with their nausea.

So, to avoid taking too much, limit the tea to 3 cups per day, maximum. Anything more than that is likely to affect them or their child negatively. They can also try decaffeinated teas as an alternative.

WRAPPING UP

Black tea is one of the hidden secrets you have to take advantage of as soon as possible.

This beverage is packed with nutritious and beneficial compounds that contribute to your daily living in many ways.

If you implement black tea into your lifestyle, these benefits will be open to you, and you will have a much healthier lifestyle.

11 Health Benefits of Black Tea that You Didn’t Know About

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