Black Tea Benefits The Heart, Digestion, Stress Levels & More

M

ade from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, black tea has a stronger flavor and is oxidized more as compared to other teas like green tea, oolong or white tea. As compared to green tea, black tea sustains its flavor for longer i.e. many years. Four qualities of black tea are available which include the whole-leaf tea which is considered to be the best; broken leaves; fannings i.e. small tea particles left after larger varieties of teas are produced or are at times specially manufactured for tea bags; and dusts primarily used for tea bags are the left over after production of other varieties.

Polyphenols like theaflavins and thearubigins are present in black tea. Calorie content is negligible in it. [1] Eastern countries mostly consume it hot and black whereas, Western countries either go for cold or iced tea with lemon or drink it hot with added milk and honey or sugar. It offers many health benefits including reduced risk of ovarian cancer, enhanced alertness and reduced possibilities of heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s etc. [2]


Health Benefits Of Black Tea

Here, Given below are some major health benefits of black tea:

1. Good For Stomach Issues

Presence of tannins in black tea work as an astringent on the lining of our intestine and soothe inflammation. This is especially beneficial if you are suffering from stomach upset or diarrhea. A cup full of strong black tea could help you get your loose motions in control. Black tea that is decaffeinated can help rehydrate you. In a study done on children in the age group of 2 to 12 years in 2016, it was seen that tablets of black tea were able to control nonbacterial diarrhea safely and in a cost effective manner.

2. Beneficial For Our Cardiovascular Health

Many studies have depicted positive effect of black tea on our heart. In one study the effects of drinking tea on ischemic heart disease risk in men and women in China were studied. The study included more than 350, 000 women and men in the age group of 30 and 79. After seven years when the group was followed up, positive effect of black tea was seen in reducing occurrence of heart attack and ischemic heart disease.

In another study, effect of drinking black tea was compared with that of plain hot water over a period of twelve weeks. Consumption of black tea was linked to decrease in risk factors of cardiovascular issues like fasting serum glucose, triglyceride levels, ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol and enhanced levels of healthy HDL cholesterol. Just nine grams of black tea consumed daily had shown these benefits.  It worked by virtue of its beneficial constituent like gallic acid, theaflavins, flavonols and flavan -3-ols.

3. Brings Down Level Of Stress Hormones

Studies have revealed that black tea might lower down levels of stress hormones including cortisol. In a six weeks study done on seventy five healthy men effect of black tea on stress levels was analyzed. They were divided into two groups and one group had to consume caffeinated black tea which was fruit flavored and had the active components present in a cup full of tea. The other group consumed a caffeinated beverage with same taste but no active tea component apart from caffeine. The men were put through certain situations that induced stress and researches measured their heart rate, levels of stress hormones, blood pressure and self reported levels of stress. It was seen that after fifty minutes of exposure to the stressful situation, the black tea group reported increase in sense of relaxation and decrease in cortisol levels. The black tea consumers also had lesser platelet activation.

4. Could Reduce Stroke Risks

Consumption of black tea has been linked to reduced risk of ischemic stroke. In a study, researchers found that irrespective of country of origin, daily consumption of three or more cups of black or green tea is linked to reduced risk of stroke. The risk reduces by twenty one percent as compared to those whose daily consumption was lower than one.

5. May Help Lower Levels Of Blood Sugar

Diseases like type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, obesity, depression and cardiovascular disease are linked to high blood sugar levels. The hormone insulin secreted by our pancreas transports the sugar that we get through food to our muscles for offering energy. Surplus sugar is stored in the form of fat. Black tea promotes insulin utilization in the body.

In a test tube study, insulin promoting properties of tea and its ingredients were analyzed. It was seen that black tea’s effect in increasing activity of insulin was fifteen times more than others. Presence of a catechin known as epigallocatechin gallate was stated to be responsible for this. In another animal study both green and black tea were found to be improving body’s capacity to metabolize sugar and lowering blood sugar levels. [3]

6. May Help Deal With Hypertension

High blood pressure may lead to a variety of problems like stroke, loss of vision, heart attack and kidney failure. In a study, impact of black tea on blood pressure was observed over a period of six months. Participants consumed three cups of it a day. As compared to the placebo group, the black tea group had lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Another research involving meta analysis of various studies revealed regular drinking of black tea for 4 weeks improved the blood pressure of the participants to a certain extent. So, a combination of black tea and lifestyle changes like managing stress etc. may help reduce hypertension. [4]

7. Could Help Cut Down On Cancer Risks

Polyphenols present in black tea may help inhibit survival of cancer cells. A study analyzing the effect of black tea polyphenols on breast cancer cells revealed that they were able to inhibit growth of breast tumors that were hormone dependent. In a test tube study, it was found that both green and black tea may have the potential to regulate the growth of cancer cells by bringing down growth of new cells. [5]

8. Has The Potential To Improve Focus And Alertness

Presence of the amino acid, L-theanine and caffeine in black tea makes it beneficial in enhancing alertness and focus. By boosting alpha activity in the brain, L-theanine improves focus and helps you relax. In two studies, black tea was found to be more effective than placebo in boosting alertness and accuracy of the participants significantly. So, it is considered an effective beverage for the purpose without adding caffeine. [6]

9. Could Be Beneficial For People With Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

A motor neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease stems from both environmental and genetic factors. Black tea is rich in polyphenols which show neuroregenerative and neuroprotective effects. So, it has the potential to positively affect various causes of PD. [7]

10. Good For Oral Health

Black tea may give you protection against decaying tooth, cavities, dental plaque and foul breath. By virtue of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it keeps staphylococcus infections at bay. Presence of fluoride in black tea works against tooth decay. People suffering from oral carcinoma may keep oral leukoplakia at bay by consuming black tea. [8]


Skin Benefits Of Black Tea

Following are the amazing skin benefits of Black Tea:

1. Works On Under Eye Puffiness

Black tea bags or cotton balls dipped in cold black tea and placed under the eye for at least twenty minutes helps in reducing under eye puffiness.

2. May Reduces Blemishes

In a test done on brown colored lab guinea pigs, it was seen that black tea had skin whitening potential. You can topically apply it on blemishes or drink it to lighten them in few weeks.

3. Offers Protection Against Sun’s Harmful Radiation

Drinking black tea and applying it on sunburnt skin may protect you against UV radiation and soothe the skin.

4. Promotes Healing And Protects Against Epidermal Infections 

Presence of catechins and flavonoids makes black tea protect you against skin infections and even fasten the wound healing process.


Hair Benefits Of Black Tea

Following are some main hair benefits of black tea [9]

1. Can Make Your Hair Lustrous

Post shampooing if you rinse your hair with black tea liquor for few weeks, you can add natural shine and luster to your hair.

2. Promotes Growth Of Hair

Topical application of Chinese black tea that has been fermented with Aspergillus sp. Can activate growth of hair in a span of 14 days.

3. May Inhibit Hair Fall

The stress reduction and reactive oxygen species scavenging properties of black tea makes it beneficial for premature hair fall. These two are considered as major causes of hair fall.


Tips To Select And Store Black Tea

Some amazing tips to select and store black tea: [10]

1. Black Tea Selection

  • The tea leaves should be long preferably with silver or golden tip.
  • They should not have any moisture.
  • If you are purchasing strong black tea, then go for Assam or Darjeeling black tea. Chinese black tea is good if you are looking for light black tea.
  • After brewing, it should be bright in colour with good fragrance.

2. Black Tea Storage

  • Tin containers should be used to store black tea.
  • Inhibit exposure to air, moisture, fluctuating temperature or sunlight.
  • Absorption of extra moisture – In the tin where you are storing black tea, you can place a piece of charcoal wrapped in a cloth. Alternatively, you can store it in an earthenware and place a pouch containing lime powder. These methods help in absorption of excessive moisture.
  • For prolonged storage say for a year you need to place the black tea in a zip lock pouch. Place it in a tin and keep inside refrigerator.

DIY Recipe For Brewing Black Tea

The do it yourself recipe for Brewing black tea is mentioned below: [11]

Ingredients Required
Black tea loose leaf
tea infuser for steeping the leaves
teapot for placing the infuser
tea kettle

Procedure
You need to take one cup of water per person and boil it in the tea kettle. In the infuser take a quarter teaspoon of loose leaf per cup and put the infuser in the tea pot. Now, you need to pour the boiled water in the tea pot and let it steep for at least 5 minutes. Take the infuser out and pour and drink the tea. You can use the infuser for another steep.


Risks Associated With Consumption Of Black Tea

Risks Regarding Consumption Of Black Tea

In moderate amounts, black tea consumption is safe.
In large quantities i.e. if you exceed four or five cups daily it can cause some problems. This is due to the presence of caffeine. These include headache, anxiousness, sleeping problems, nausea, vomiting, faster rate of breathing, increased urge to urinate, tremors, ringing in ears and restlessness.

If you consume black tea along with any other type of caffeine or ephedra, detrimental outcomes may be seen like high blood pressure, jitters, seizures, altered heart rate and even losing consciousness.
Pregnant and lactating mothers: A maximum of three cups is fine for these women. More than this may increase risk of miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight and caffeine withdrawal symptoms in newborns.
Drug Interactions – The drug adenosine is administered by physicians for performing the cardiac stress test. Caffeine present in black tea tends to interact with adenosine and does not let it function properly. So, you should stop taking it a day before the test. Black tea caffeine also interacts with certain antibiotics like enoxacin, ciprofloxacin, grepafloxacin, norfloxacin etc. Cimetidine, clozapine, dipyridamole, disulfiram, warfarin, verapamil etc. are few more drugs that tend to interact with black tea. Medicines for depression and estrogens also tend to interact with black tea. [6]


Black Tea Dosing

We can get 40 to 120 mg of caffeine from 8 ounces of black tea serving.

1. Kidney Stones And Heart Attack

You need to drink at least one cup of black tea a day to cut down on the risks of these two conditions.

2. Headache And Mental Alertness

Few cups of black tea providing around 250 mg of caffeine is needed for the purpose.

3. Atherosclerosis

You need to drink around one to four cups daily of black tea to keep hardening of arteries at bay.

4. Lowering Parkinson’s Risk

One to 4 cups a day can significantly reduce the risks in case of women and around five to thirty-three cups in case of men.