I have always loved tea and drink it almost daily and I am so happy to share the health benefits of black tea. Black tea is got from the leaves of the shrub called Camellia Sinensis. Four types of tea are got from the same plant – oolong, black, green and white tea. What differentiates them is the level of oxidation and black tea is more oxidized than the rest of the three teas and has a strong flavor.
How Is Black Tea Produced?
The process starts with hand picking tea leaves which is a labor intensive work. Then the tea leaves are sorted and then the process starts. When the tea leaves are brought into the factory, the leaves are full of moisture.
The first process is withering, during withering, the tea leaves are spread over a wire mesh and hot air is passed over them to reduce the water content to 70 %. Withering makes the leaves pliable, ready for rolling.
During rolling, the tea leaves are rolled either by machine or by hand, rolling breaks the cell structure of the leaves and helps them release their natural oils and then they are ready for oxidation in which the leaves are left to dry out at certain temperature.
Black Tea Origin:
Black tea originated in China in the late Ming dynasty, the first black tea produced was called Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang means high mountainous area and small leaf trees are called Souchong.
Black Tea Varieties:
Usually black teas are named after the region it is produced. In India, Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Munnar, Kangra and Nilgiri are popular. In China, Lapsang Souchong, Congou, Keemun, Dianhong, Yingdehong are popular. Ceylon, Nepali, Rize, Jaekseol are popular around the world.
Black Tea Chemical Constituents:
Black Tea Nutrition & Calories:
Green Tea vs Black Tea:
- Green tea does not go through oxidation process while black tea does, oxidation reduces the antioxidant content of black tea when compared to green tea.
- Regarding the caffeine content, 100 ml of green tea contains around 10.57 mg while black tea contains around 20 mg of caffeine. Nutrition wise green tea is more beneficial than black tea.
- When it comes to taste, green tea has a slight bitter taste when compared to black tea.
- Black tea can be stored for a long time when compared to green tea as it loses it flavor quickly.
Selecting & Storing Black Tea:
If you prefer strong tea, choose Indian teas like Darjeeling or Assam tea. If you prefer a more lighter black tea, choose Chinese black teas. Since I live in Tamil Nadu, I buy Nilgiri tea whenever I visit Ooty.
Most of the tea factories have small outlets in the places they are manufactured and usually you can find all the different blends manufactured by them in one single place.
Some Common Questions Regarding Black Tea:
How do you drink black tea?
Where to buy black tea?
How much black tea can you drink a day?
How much caffeine in a cup of black tea?
Can I drink tea in empty stomach?
Which is worse for your teeth – coffee or tea?
Is black tea with milk good for you?
Is black tea healthier than coffee?
Can black tea help you lose weight?
Is drinking black tea good for your skin?
Side Effects Of Black Tea:
10 Amazing Health Benefits & Uses Of Black Tea:
1. Black Tea & Bone Health:
I have always thought caffeine in any form is associated with bone loss as I have been advised from my young age that if I drink tea I will suffer from bone loss later on in life.
When I was researching about black tea, I was surprised to find that black tea can be used as an adjunct for calcium supplementation as it helps increase calcium absorption which in turn can actually help in bone health! You can read the study that proves it here.
2. Reduces Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Levels:
Regular consumption of black tea reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Though not in a very significant way, regular consumption does bring down the blood pressure. You can read the study that proves it here.
Regarding cholesterol levels, the results were very significant but please keep in mind that the study was done on mildly hypercholesterolemic adults who were given a diet moderately low in fat.
3. Prevents Ovarian Cancer:
Black tea is very effective in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer by 30 %. A study was done on 414 women with primary ovarian or fallopian cancers who were given either coffee, black tea and decaffeinated coffee.
The black tea group and the decaffeinated group had positive results while the caffeine group did not. This is because of the high caffeine content in coffee.
Theaflavin (theaflavin-3-gallate and theaflavin-3′-gallate) present in black tea has been proven to inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells and are non toxic to normal ovarian cells.
4. Lowers Risk Of Diabetes:
Stable blood sugar levels after meals is very important for diabetic patients and black tea consumption has been proven to improve post prandial glucose levels in both diabetic and normal patients.
A study which was done on normal and diabetic patients after sucrose overloading showed significant results. But the interesting part was both low and high intake of black tea had the same impact. You can read the study that proves it here.
5. Boosts Immunity:
Since black tea is rich in antioxidants, it helps fight off free radicals which are the main cause of premature ageing and illness. Regular consumption of black tea helps improve our immunity.
Consuming antioxidant rich foods will reduce common health problems like cold, cough and flu greatly and black tea is no exception.
6. Aids Weight Loss:
Black tea can be helpful in aiding weight loss too. Black tea is rich in polyphenols which helps reduce cholesterol levels and
improve insulin sensitivity.
Black tea promotes weight loss by altering our gut bacteria. It is also low in calories making it ideal
to include in a weight loss diet. Also exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet consistently for quick and permanent weight loss.
7. Reduces Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease:
Parkinson’s disease which is characterized by rest tremor, rigidity and inability to initiate movements is usually treated with L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (I-DOPA).
But certain natural plant extracts like black tea can assist I-DOPA in suppressing inflammation and reduce oxidative stress thus greatly helping in slowing down the progression of the disease. You can read about it here.
8. Black Tea With Lemon Treats Diarrhea:
Black tea mixed with lemon juice is a wonderful home remedy for treating diarrhea. At home, if anyone suffers from diarrhea, we always give them black tea mixed with lemon juice and it usually arrests diarrhea very fast.
To make black tea with lemon, boil a cup of water with 1/4 tsp of fine black tea for a few seconds and switch off. Strain and add 1/4 tsp lemon juice.
9. Black Tea For Grey Hair & Hair Growth:
Black tea is great to use as a natural hair dye, the dark reddish black color of black tea makes it an excellent natural hair dye. To use, mix 1 cup henna powder with juice of half a lemon and enough black tea to form a thick paste.
Let it soak overnight and the next day use it alone or along with indigo as a hair dye. Black tea can also be used as a final hair rinse to add nice shine to hair. Since black tea is rich in antioxidants, it can greatly arrest hair fall and stimulate hair growth.
10. Black Tea For Skin:
Black tea can be taken internally and applied externally for skin care. Since black tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, it fights off free radicals which are the leading culprits of premature ageing of the skin.
Black tea when taken internally has a protective effect against UV radiation and skin infections and helps prevent skin cancer. When applied externally, black tea treats skin blemishes as it has skin lightening properties.
It can also be applied to soothe sunburns and acne. Used black tea bags can be used as an eye compress for reducing under eye bags.