Black Tea and its Health Benefits : Dr. Diya Choudhary

What Is Black Tea?
Black tea is made from the leaves of a bush called Camellia sinensis. It has caffeine as well as other stimulants and antioxidants. Lots of people in the world drink it either hot or cold. It should always be steeped in hot water before it is cooled.

A process called oxidation turns the leaves from green to a dark brownish-black color. Oxidation means the leaves are exposed to moist, oxygen-rich air.

Tea manufacturers can control the amount of oxidation. Black tea is a fully oxidized tea. Green tea comes from the same plant, but is not oxidized.

Black tea extract is sometimes sold as an herbal supplement. Sometimes, the supplement includes other types of herbs, vitamins, or minerals.
Benefits of Black Tea :-
Black tea isn’t only a tasty drink – it’s also full of a variety of benefits that can help promote health and wellness. From boosting energy and alertness to fighting off colds and improving heart health, black tea is rich in health benefits that can help you to feel your best. Wondering just what black tea is good for? We have compiled a list of some of the many benefits when it comes to black tea.

Rich in Antioxidants:-

Antioxidants are known to provide a host of health benefits.

Consuming them can help remove free radicals and decrease cell damage in the body. This ultimately may help decrease the risk of chronic disease .

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant found in certain foods and beverages, including black tea.

Groups of polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins, are the main sources of antioxidants in black tea and may promote overall health.

In fact, one study in rats examined the role of theaflavins and thearubigins in black tea and the risk of diabetes, obesity, and elevated cholesterol. Results showed that theaflavins and thearubigins reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

An older study examined the role of catechins from oolong tea on body weight. It found that those who consumed 690 mg of catechins from tea on a daily basis for 12 weeks showed a decrease in body fat .

While many supplements contain antioxidants, the best way to consume them is through food and beverages. In fact, some research has found that taking antioxidants in supplement form may harm your health.

Boosts Heart Health:-

Black tea has been shown to help boost heart health in a variety of studies. Black tea contains flavanoids, which are a special compound that holds the key to many of black tea’s important health benefits. Flavanoids can help prevent plaque buildup in the body’s arteries, which reduces stress on the heart. While research is still ongoing, consumption of black tea has been linked to a reduction in heart attacks and strokes.

May lower “bad” LDL cholesterol:-

The body contains two lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body.

One is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the other is high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

LDL is considered the “bad” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol to cells throughout the body. Meanwhile, HDL is considered the “good” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol away from your cells and to the liver to be removed from the bloodstream.

When there is too much LDL in the body, it can build up in the arteries and cause waxy deposits called plaques. This can lead to problems like heart failure or stroke.

Fortunately, some studies have found that consuming tea may help reduce LDL cholesterol.

One review of well-designed studies found that drinking black tea significantly reduced LDL cholesterol by 4.64mg/dL . This effect was more pronounced in people with higher cardiovascular risk.

However, in another well-designed study, drinking five cups of black tea daily did not significantly change levels of total, HDL, or LDL cholesterol in people with borderline-high cholesterol compared to a placebo.

Improves Digestion:-

Black tea has been shown to help improve digestion and soothe stomach troubles. Studies show that consuming black tea can have a positive effect on digestion, and can help to prevent gastrointestinal troubles when they arise. A cup of tea after a rich meal or when you’re suffering from a stomachache can go a long way towards providing comfort and relief.

Lowers Blood Pressure:-

High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart and kidney failure, stroke, vision loss, and heart attacks. Fortunately, changes in your diet and lifestyle can lower your blood pressure .

One review of well-designed studies looked at the effects of drinking tea on blood pressure in people with hypertension, or high blood pressure.

The review found that regular tea intake helped lower systolic blood pressure by 4.81 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.98 mm Hg in people with hypertension. Further, those who drank tea regularly for longer than three months experienced even greater decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Another review of studies looking at the effects of black tea on blood pressure found that drinking black tea significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to control. The effects were more pronounced for men and people who drank black tea for longer than seven days.

Drinking black tea on a daily basis, as well as incorporating other lifestyle modifications like stress management strategies, may benefit those with high blood pressure.

Reduces the risk of stroke:-

A stroke can occur when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked or ruptures. It’s the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Fortunately, 80% of strokes are preventable. For example, managing your diet, physical activity, blood pressure, and not smoking can help reduce the risk of stroke .

Interestingly, studies have found that drinking black tea may also help reduce the risk of stroke.

One prospective study of 365,682 people looked at the association between drinking tea or coffee and the risk of stroke, dementia, and post-stroke dementia.

After following participants for over 11 years, the study found that those who drank at least two cups of tea had a 16% lower risk of ischemic stroke compared to those who did not drink tea.

Another study used genetic predictors associated with tea consumption to determine the association between drinking tea and stroke risk.

The study found that if you are genetically predisposed to drinking more tea per day, you also have a lower risk of stroke .

Increases Energy and Alertness:-

Whether you are looking for a good cup of tea to get you going in the morning, or to give you a boost throughout the day, black tea is an energizing tea that can help to increase alertness and focus. Black tea contains a moderate amount of caffeine (about half that of a cup of coffee.) This gives you a welcome boost of energy when you’re feeling lethargic, without any of the jitters or other negative side effects that can come with excess caffeine intake. When combined with the l-theanine also present in tea, the caffeine in black tea helps to encourage focus and alertness.

Lowers blood sugar levels:-

Elevated blood sugar levels may increase your risk of health complications, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and depression.

Consuming large amounts of sugar, particularly from sweetened beverages, has been shown to increase blood sugar values and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

When you consume sugar, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin allows the sugar to enter cells, including muscle and liver cells, to be stored as energy, or glycogen. When the body need to use energy, a different hormone, glucagon, is released to help the body break down glycogen to release energy. If you consume more sugar than your body has space to store a glycogen, then the excess sugar gets stored as fat.

Research suggests drinking black tea may help lower your blood sugar following a meal or snack, also known as postprandial glucose.

One small, well-designed study looked at the effect of drinking black tea on blood sugar levels following consumption of a high-sugar beverage.

Twenty-four people, both with and without pre-diabetes, consumed a high-sugar beverage along with either a low- or high-dose of black tea or a placebo. Those who drank the low- or high-dose of black tea had significantly lower postprandial (after eating) blood sugar compared to those who drank a placebo .

Other studies suggest black tea may help enhance the use of insulin in the body.

A small study looked at the effects of consuming black tea on insulin response in men with obesity and insulin resistance.

Participants consumed 75g of glucose combined with either 100ml black tea, beetroot juice, or water. Those who consumed the black tea along with the glucose had about 29% lower insulin response compared to those who drank water .

This suggests that drinking black tea may help improve insulin sensitivity, especially following a high-sugar meal.

Reduces the risk of cancer:-

Over 100 different types of cancer exist, and some are not preventable.

Nevertheless, the polyphenols found in black tea may help slow the development of certain types of cancer and promote cancer cell death.

One rigorous review of studies looking at the effects of tea on cancer risk concluded that drinking tea is associated with a lower risk of oral cancer.

The authors state that tea may also be associated with a lower risk of other types of cancers as well, including cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, breasts, ovaries, lungs, and thyroid, but more well-designed studies are needed to know for sure.

Another review of studies looked at the effect of drinking green and black tea on the risk of endometrial cancer.

The study found that those drinking the highest amounts of green tea had a 22% reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Further, every increase in one cup of green tea per day was associated with an 11% reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer .

However, no significant association was found between consumption of black tea and endometrial cancer risk.

Although black tea should not be considered an alternative treatment for cancer, some research has demonstrated black tea’s potential to help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.

More research in humans is needed to more clearly determine the link between black tea and cancer cells.

It’s Good for Your Skin:-

Black tea is high in a variety of vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin, including zinc, magnesium, and potassium, all of which can help to protect and rejuvenate the skin. In addition to these beneficial compounds, consuming tea is also a great way to stay hydrated, which can help skin to look healthy, fresh, and nourished. A daily tea-drinking habit can help to ensure that your skin stays hydrated and healthy!

Improves focus:-

Black tea contains caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine, which can improve alertness and focus.

L-theanine increases alpha activity in the brain, resulting in relaxation and better focus.

Studies have found that beverages containing L-theanine and caffeine have the greatest impact on focus due to the effects of L-theanine on the brain.

This may be why many individuals report more stable energy after drinking tea, compared to other caffeinated beverages like coffee.

In one small study investigating the effect of black tea on cognitive performance, participants consumed either 250ml of black tea or water. They were then given tests of executive function, sustained attention, memory, and mathematic calculations.

Those who consumed the black tea performed significantly faster on cognitive tasks, had improved memory, and made fewer errors.

The authors conclude that even a small amount of black tea can improve cognitive processing.

This makes black tea a great beverage if you are looking to improve energy and focus without a lot of caffeine.

Improves Oral Health:-

Unlike other caffeinated beverages, which may contain a heap of sugar, tea has been shown to be good for oral health. Studies have shown that black tea contains compounds that attack harmful bacteria within the mouth, which can help prevent the buildup of plaque. Black tea also limits the production of acid that can wear away at teeth and eventually cause cavities. While black tea isn’t a substitute for standard oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing, it can provide an added boost when it comes to a health mouth!

Fights off Colds:-

If you’re feeling under the weather, a cup of black tea can actually help to ease symptoms of the common cold, or even ward off colds entirely. Black tea contains catechins with antiviral properties that may contribute to the prevention of common illnesses such as colds and the flu. While studies concerning black tea’s cold-preventing properties are still ongoing, research suggests that a cup of tea can be a simple, effective way to stay healthy during cold and flu season.

Soothes Headaches:-

Black tea is also known for soothing minor headaches, due to its moderate caffeine content. It constricts blood vessels that are often responsible for headaches, which can help to soothe symptoms and reduce pain. The caffeine present in black tea can also help increase the effectiveness of pain medication like aspirin and ibuprofen. Tea drinkers should treat headaches with caffeine sparingly, however, as black tea can also cause headaches when consumed in excess.

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