Tea is the most popular beverage in the world (not counting water, since it is nonpareil and has no equal), and Black tea tops the list of favorites among the many varieties of this beverage. With a robust flavor, bold color, a range of blends, and surprisingly long shelf life, Black tea emerges as the ‘winner’!
What Is Black Tea?
As with all teas, Black tea is also made with the leaves of the shrub Camellia Sinensis. The leaves of the plant are oxidized (exposure to moist and oxygen-rich air), turning them from green to a dark blackish-brown color. The amount of oxidation can be controlled at the manufacturing stage, and Black tea is a completely oxidized tea, leading to its dark color. This tea is naturally rich in antioxidants, caffeine, and other stimulants.
Black tea can be consumed both hot and cold, however, the leaves must be steeped in hot water to draw out the essence before being cooled.
The most important health benefit of Black tea is being a rich source of antioxidants, which act against excess free radicals. Free radicals are unsteady atoms either formed in the body during metabolism or enter our body from exposure to environmental toxins. Our body produces free radicals each day, with our natural immune system capable of destroying the excess. Excessive free radicals severely damage the body’s cells, leading to a number of diseases and accelerating the aging process.
Studies show that the antioxidant effects of Black tea come from phenolic compounds, which form up to 30% of the dry weight of this tea. During the process of oxidation, catechins (found in a high concentration in Green tea) convert into thearubigins, theaflavins, and flavonols. These compounds offer a range of health benefits, some of which are listed below:
1. Protection against Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is the condition where plaque builds up in the artery walls, which could potentially lead to stroke, coronary heart disease, and even chronic kidney disease. Free radicals can potentially exacerbate plaque build-up. It is suggested that a normal adult can consume a maximum of 400mgs of caffeine in a day. A cup of black tea (about 237ml) contains about 47.4mgs of caffeine. Drinking the right amount of Black tea is said to lower the risk of a stroke.
2. Reducing Risk of Cancer
Some research indicates that polyphenols in Black tea can reduce the chances of tumors, particularly skin, prostate, lung, and breast cancer growth. More studies are on to conclusively prove the efficacy of Black tea in reducing the chances of cancers.
3. Lowering Blood Pressure
A study conducted in 2015 suggested that Black tea could help in reducing high blood pressure by eliminating the impact of a high-fat meal on the body.
4. Combating Risk of Diabetes
Another research pointed toward the efficacy of black tea in reducing the chances of diabetes. This is due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties of black tea.
5. Bonus benefit
Research further shows that black tea could enhance bone density, bring down the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and combat Parkinson’s disease.
Side Effects of Black tea
Drinking black tea is good for health, but must be had in moderation given its caffeine content. It is recommended to check with your doctor before consuming anything, if you are unwell, on medication, or have a medical condition. Over-consumption of black tea could stir up the following adverse side effects:
- Anxiety and insomnia
- Accelerated breathing
- Diuresis or increased urination
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tremors and restlessness
- Ringing in the ears
- High blood pressure
Black tea is popular for a variety of reasons, and the health benefits are a part of it. Without milk and sweeteners, black tea is very low in calories. It is always best to check with your doctor, when in doubt, such that you can gain maximum benefits from your food, without adverse effects. Wishing you abundant health!
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