Black tea’s health benefits are legendary in China, the motherland of tea. Guess which beverage follows water as the second most-consumed drink in the world: Black tea! Yes, you likely prefer waking up to this cuppa in the morning and sipping it again for Afternoon tea. A perennial favorite of all teas in the West, Black tea accounts for 90% of total tea sales. Since both the Eastern and Western cultures are enamored with this drink, let’s explore the incredible health benefits of Black tea.
Did you know that Black tea is known as Red tea “Hong-cha” 红茶 in China? To the people who invented tea, real Black tea or “Hei-cha” 黑茶 is reserved for Puer (als Pu-erh) 普洱茶.
The Chinese have long consumed tea over the millennia and Black tea for over four centuries, so tea’s medicinal qualities have been well established. In addition, black tea steeps many amazing health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood flow, reduced risk of stroke, etc. Read on to discover more magnificent wellness!
Lapsang Souchong, the world’s original Black tea, was invented around the 1500s in the Wuyi Mountains of China during the Ming Dynasty.
Made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, Black tea is one of the six traditional tea types. Fully fermented, Black tea is more oxidized than Oolong or Green tea.
In China, the birthplace of tea, people drink Black tea pure, often prepared using a beautiful tea-tasting set as seen below, including a tea leaf container (to showcase the loose leaves), a fair cup (so every tea drinker tastes the same strength of the brew), and of course, a teapot.
However, in Europe and America, most of us prefer to drink Black teas with milk and sugar (or honey for me, please!).
There are abundant Black tea blends mixed with exotic leaves such as bergamot, blackcurrant, and rosehip. Some of the well-known types are Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast teas.
Of all six types of tea, Black tea contains the highest caffeine content, but still less than a cup of coffee.
8 Black Tea Health Benefits
Black tea’s health benefits are supported by science and meta-analysis. In addition, the tea leaf extracts contain numerous beneficial health compounds and antioxidants for your body and mind.
#1 Boost overall wellness
Antioxidants are powerful health boosters. The polyphenols found in Black tea are catechins, theaflavins, and thearubigins. (No, really, we didn’t just make these words up from a pile of Scrabble tiles.)
Simply put, they have the ability to repair cell damage and eliminate free radicals. As a result, drinking Black tea can decrease your risk for chronic disease.
#2 Improve Heart Health
Flavonoids (sounds like a cool tasty robot, right? ) are in dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, red wine, and Black tea. They are powerful antioxidants that reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. Isn’t this sweet news for chocoholics and tea-lovers?
Studies show that 3 cups of Black tea a day may reduce your risk for heart disease by up to 11%.
#3 Maintain Weight Control
Black tea is also known for its ability to reduce your waistline.
Studies show that drinking Black tea for 12 weeks lowered triglycerides by 36%.
Triglycerides are lipids (fat) that collect in your bloodstream—the body stores these as reserved energy for between meals.
Black tea prevents triglycerides from building up, helping you maintain optimal healthy weight. Those jeans you love can fit again!
#4 Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
Like the Chinese Yin and Yang, there are two sides to cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol transporter. Low-density lipoprotein is considered “bad.” We know at some point cancel culture might outlaw the word “bad,” so as George Orwell would put it, “double-plus-ungood.”
Back to the facts: Heart failure and stroke may occur when LDL builds up in the body. Plaque, a type of waxy substance, builds up in the arteries reducing heart health.
Studies show that black tea may reduce LDL amounts in the bloodstream. Yay!
5 cups a day may lower bad cholesterol levels up to 11%.
#5 Boost Gut Health
Your gut health is vital. It contains trillions (not a typo) of bacteria. Some are important for your overall health, while others may increase your risk for certain problems.
Did you know that 70 – 80% of your immune system is contained in your gut?
A healthy gut is a key to reducing your risk for certain chronic conditions. Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are all tied to poor gut health.
Black tea, as mentioned before, contains polyphenols that help prevent the growth of bad bacteria like Salmonella. It encourages the growth of good bacteria that help eliminate bloating and repair tears in the digestive tract lining. Cool, huh?
#6 Reduce High Blood Pressure
An estimated 1 billion people around the world have high blood pressure.
Science recently found certain compounds in Black tea extract help relax blood vessels by activating ion channel proteins in the walls of blood vessels. Ooh, that’s science-y! Dress up your dinner conversation tonight by casually tossing in “ion channel proteins.”
By the way, stress, poor diet, and other health conditions can cause your blood pressure to rise. So do people cutting you off on the freeway or turtle-driving in the fast lane?
So remember, when your emotions get out of control, it’s the perfect time for tea!
# 7 Lower Risk For Certain Cancers
There are over 100 types of cancers. And that’s a lot to worry about.
This brings us to an intriguing effect of Black tea – the polyphenols in Black tea have demonstrated effectiveness at slowing the spread of certain cancers by inhibiting cancer cell growth. One study shows Black tea may have slowed the spread of breast cancer cells.
Also, tea polyphenols may protect against damage caused by UV radiation. Yay, more fun in the sun!
#8 Improve Focus
Although Black tea contains less caffeine than coffee, there’s enough to help you wake up in the morning without the jolt and coffee breath side effects!
Along with caffeine, Black tea also contains L-theanine – an amino acid that increases alpha activity in your brain, meaning improved awareness and focus while relaxing you at the same time! Mind-blowing, right?
This is why Black tea is better than Green tea when you need to focus. The gentle caress of caffeine keeps you alert while the amino acid soothes. What a wonderous combination! The great Tang Dynasty Tea Scholar, Lu Yu, puts it best:
“Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind; dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness.”
Isn’t it amazing all the health benefits packed into Black tea? The fact is, physical, mental, and emotional health is intertwined. Drinking tea regularly lifts all three.
For the ultimate tea connoisseur, we offer an exquisite, one-of-a-kind gift box of Lapsang Souchong Black tea from the Wuyi Mountains to commemorate our tea documentary.
For everyday Black tea drinking, we’ve carefully handpicked the following choices. Cheers to your good health! Happy sipping…