The Health Benefits of Black Tea
Black tea is one of the most commonly-consumed beverages in the world. And with good reason! Black tea doesn’t just taste amazing and come in a variety of flavors and styles. Black tea is also known around the globe for its many health benefits.
Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are withered, rolled, oxidized and dried. British Breakfast and Earl Grey are among the most popular varieties of black tea, but the leaves can be processed in different ways and blended with miscellaneous herbs, flowers, spices, and fruits to create a multitude of invigorating blends.
Starting your day with a hot cuppa is wonderful for the mind, spirit, and body. Read on to discover the many health benefits of black tea.
1. Naturally Sugar-Free and Calorie-Free
Syrupy sodas and juices, chemical-laden energy drinks, sugary sports beverages masquerading as “healthy” options…these are all popular categories of refreshments, but they’re not the best for you in terms of wellness.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, black tea is the ideal solution. It’s naturally sugar-free, carb-free, gluten-free, and zero calorie, making it suitable for a diverse range of lifestyles and special dietary needs. Whether you need to control your sugar intake, watch calories, or simply want to avoid unnecessary chemicals and artificial additives, black tea is a beverage choice that you can feel good about.
Of course, what black tea doesn’t contain is only one part of the equation; the other part of what makes black tea so healthy is what it does contain. Like other varieties of tea, black tea naturally contains amino acids, antioxidants, and caffeine. We’ll dive into deeper details about these nutritional values soon.
2. Gives You a Clean, Gentle Energy Boost
A six-ounce cup of black tea contains approximately 50 milligrams of caffeine—less than half the amount found in a similar-sized cup of brewed coffee. Caffeine is a type of natural stimulant, which means that it has the ability to increase your energy levels and keep you from feeling tired and sluggish.
Because black tea contains less caffeine than coffee, it is often easier for people to control and limit the amount of caffeine they consume, allowing them to avoid unwanted side effects like jitters, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. This is especially true for those who have caffeine sensitivities.
Additionally, black tea contains a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the body and mind. The presence of caffeine and L-theanine together in black tea means that the energizing effects are milder, gentler, and steadier as compared to coffee.
3. Improves Mental Clarity
Just as caffeine and L-theanine have a stimulating effect on the body, they also work to energize and invigorate your mind. Studies have shown that drinking black tea can positively influence mental alertness, attention span, and the ability to concentrate*.
For students, employees, and others who need to stay focused and keep their minds clear, black tea is an excellent alternative to coffee or energy drinks, which can often leave you with initial feelings of overstimulation, followed by that dreaded afternoon crash.
4. Lifts Your Mood
Have you ever noticed that while sipping a warm cuppa, your spirits instantly feel lifted? This phenomenon isn’t just in your mind. The mood-boosting effects of black tea are heavily studied, and research shows that once again, these benefits are linked to both caffeine and L-theanine.
The stimulant effects of caffeine combined with the calming effects of L-theanine can lead to feelings of peacefulness, relaxation, contentment, and even bliss.* Of course, you also can’t discount the simple pleasures of slowing sipping a hot, aromatic beverage. Ahhh.
5. Contains Antioxidants
Like all teas derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, black tea is rich in antioxidants, which are thought to protect cells and tissues from damaging free radicals. Specifically, tea contains a powerful varitiety of antioxidant known as polyphenols, which include catechins, flavonoids, and tannins.
Polyphenols, and especially catechins, may block DNA damage caused by free radicals in the body, ultimately decreasing the risk of chronic illnesses and diseases.* Clinical studies have demonstrated that consuming moderate amounts of tea may increase the blood antioxidant capacity in humans.*
Tannins are the polyphenols that give beverages like black tea and red wine their astringent flavor and dry mouthfeel. Some research has indicated that tannins may have anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic effects, due to their antioxidative properties.* However, additional studies need to be conducted before conclusive analyses can be made.
6. Eases Digestion
In addition to their antioxidative effects, tannins also have well-documented antimicrobial abilities*. Research indicates that they may serve as a natural defense mechanism against microbial infections caused by foodborne bacteria, viruses, and yeasts.*
Additionally, tannins are believed to encourage and support the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus. These effects may boost digestive immunity and provide relief for symptoms like constipation, bloating, and gastrointestinal cramping.*
7. May Strengthen Immunity
Antigens are a type of molecule that have the ability to induce an immune response. Specifically, they cause the immune system to produce antibodies in order to fight off the foreign substance.
By intentionally exposing the body to small amounts of certain antigens (such as through vaccines or allergy treatments), the body may develop a stronger defense against that substance, thereby boosting immunity to it.*
Drinking black tea may strengthen immunity* against certain illnesses and bacterial infections, due to the fact that it contains alkylamine antigens.
8. May Support Heart Health
Remember all of those healing antioxidants contained in black tea, like flavonoids? In addition to encouraging overall wellness, they are also believed to specifically support cardiovascular health.* Flavonoids also occur naturally in fruits, dark chocolate, and red wine.
In one clinical study, patients who consumed 3 cups of black tea per day for 12 weeks were observed to have a 36% decrease in triglyceride values, 18% decrease in blood sugar levels, and 17% decrease in LDL/HDL plasma ratio. These results represent an overall decrease in risk factors for many cardiovascular diseases.*
No matter what your wellness goals are, adding black tea into your daily routine is an excellent step towards improving your energy levels, mood, and overall health. Be sure to pay attention to how you feel when consuming black tea, and adjust your intake levels accordingly to match your individual goals and needs. Happy sipping!
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