Black tea health benefits are legendary in China, the motherland of tea. Here we offer scientific facts and figures to back up the ancient belief. Drinking Black tea indeed offers the body and mind abundant wellness qualities.
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 Pu erh (Pu-erh) 普洱茶.
Black Tea’s Popularity
Guess which beverage follows water as the second most-consumed drink globally: 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.
Origin of Black Tea
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.
Lapsang Souchong, the world’s original Black tea, was invented around the 1500s in the Wuyi Mountains of China.
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.
Black Tea Drinking Practices
Around the world today, people have developed two major styles of drinking Black tea: Chinese or Western style.
Drinking Black tea Chinese style
In China, the birthplace of tea, people consume Black tea pure, often prepared using a beautiful tea-tasting set as seen below. Notice the tea leaf container showcasing the loose leaves, a fair cup, so every tea drinker tastes the same strength of the brew. And, of course, a dainty Yixing teapot.
These beautiful Chinese tea accessories are standard accoutrement in traditional tea-tasting.
Drinking Black tea Western-style
In Europe and America, most of us prefer to drink Black teas with milk and sugar (or honey for me, please!). This is thanks to the fabulous British tea culture of the Victorian era, where this practice spread worldwide.
Black Tea Blends
There are abundant Black tea blends mixed with exotic leaves such as bergamot, blackcurrant, and rosehip. Some well-known types are Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast teas.
Of all six types of tea, Black tea contains the highest amount of 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. As a result, Black tea is infused with significant health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood flow, reduced risk of stroke, etc. Here are eight of them:
#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 can 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 potent antioxidants that reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. Isn’t this sweet news for chocoholics and tea-lovers?
Studies have shown 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 between meals.
Black tea prevents triglycerides from building up, helping you maintain an optimal healthy weight. So 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 waxy substance, accumulates in the arteries reducing heart health.
Studies show that black tea may reduce LDL amounts in the bloodstream.
5 cups a day may lower bad cholesterol levels up to 11%.
#5 Boost Gut Health
Your gut health is vital. It contains trillions of bacteria. Some are important for your overall health, while others may increase your risk for specific problems.
Did you know that 70 – 80% of your immune system is contained in your gut?
A healthy gut is key to reducing your risk for certain chronic conditions. For example, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are linked to poor gut health.
Black tea contains polyphenols that help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like Salmonella. In addition, it encourages the growth of good bacteria that help eliminate bloating and repair tears in the digestive tract lining.
#6 Reduce High Blood Pressure
An estimated 1 billion people around the world have high blood pressure.
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! So 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 cancer. The polyphenols in Black tea have demonstrated effectiveness at slowing the spread of certain cancers by inhibiting cancer cell growth. For example, 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. 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. This amino acid 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 to discover all the health benefits of Black tea? Physical, mental, and emotional health are intertwined. Regular consumption of Black tea 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.
Cheers to your good health! Happy sipping.