Written by Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD on May 16, 2018 for Healthline.
Black tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, is one of the most consumed beverage in the world. It’s stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than other teas, but less caffeine than coffee.
It offers a variety of health benefits since it contains antioxidants and compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
1. Has Antioxidant Properties, that are known to provide numerous health benefits.
Consuming these antioxidants can help remove free radicals and decrease cell damage in the body and ultimately may help decrease the risk of chronic disease.
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 showed that theaflavins reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Another study found that those who consumed a bottle containing 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 actually harm your health.
2. May Boost Heart Health
Black tea contains another group of antioxidants called flavonoids, which benefit heart health. Along with tea, flavonoids can be found in vegetables, fruits, red wine and dark chocolate.
Consuming them on a regular basis may help reduce many risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels and obesity. One study showed that those who drank three cups of black tea per day had an 11% reduced risk of developing heart disease.
Adding black tea to your daily routine is an easy way to incorporate antioxidants into your diet and potentially reduce your risk of future health complications.
The body contains two lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body. One is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and is considered the “bad” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol to cells throughout the body. The other is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is considered the “good” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol away from your cells and to the liver to be excreted.
One study found that drinking five servings of black tea per day reduced LDL cholesterol by 11% in individuals with slightly or mildly elevated cholesterol levels (10).
4. May Improve Gut Health
Studies have found that the type of bacteria in your gut may play a significant role in your health.
The polyphenols found in black tea may help maintain a healthy gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria, such as Salmonella.
In addition, black tea contains antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful substances and improve gut bacteria and immunity by helping repair the lining of the digestive tract.
High blood pressure affects approximately 1 billion people worldwide. It can increase your risk of heart and kidney failure, stroke, vision loss and heart attacks.
One study results found that those who drank black tea had a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo group.
A stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and can occur when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked or ruptures.
Studies have found that drinking black tea may help reduce the risk of stroke. One study found that those who drank four or more cups of black tea per day had a 32% lower risk of stroke than those who did not drink tea.
7. May Lower 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 to carry the sugar to the muscles to be used for energy. If you consume more sugar than your body needs, the excess sugar gets stored as fat.
Black tea is a great non-sweetened beverage that has been found to help enhance the use of insulin in the body.
Researchers concluded that several compounds in tea were shown to improve insulin levels, specifically a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate. Another study found that black tea lowered blood sugar and improved how the body metabolized sugar.
The polyphenols found in black tea may help prevent cancer cell survival. One showed that black and green tea may play a role in regulating cancer cell growth and reducing new cell development. Another study showed that black tea may help overcome the spread of hormone-dependent breast tumors while another demonstrated black tea’s potential to help reduce cancer cell survival.
Black tea contains caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine, which increases alpha activity in the brain, and results in improved alertness, relaxation and better focus.
This may be why many individuals report more stable energy after drinking tea, compared to other caffeinated beverages like coffee.
Black tea is a great option if you are looking for a low-calorie, non-sweetened beverage with less caffeine than coffee or energy drinks. It has a strong, unique flavor and contains plenty of antioxidants, which can provide several health benefits. These include improved cholesterol, better gut health and decreased blood pressure.