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. The color of the leaf indicates the level of oxidization and once the desired color is reached, the leaves are passed into hot air dryers to bring the water content down to almost 3 % and then they are packed. 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. Usually green tea and oolong tea was drunk in China and black tea was accidentally found when a group of army men passing an old tea factory consumed tea made from the leaves that were left to oxidize in the factory. They liked the robust and intense taste of black tea and continued to oxidise the tea leaves for making it. 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. Each of these tea have their own characteristics flavor. Black tea is also blended with other dried herbs and flowers to make blends and some of the popular blends are Early Grey tea, English breakfast tea, Irish breakfast tea, Indian Chai tea and Russian Caravan. Black Tea Chemical Constituents: Black tea is rich in polyphenols (the most important are catechins, flavonoids, tannins and theaflavins), amino acids, caffeine, theobromine, theophylline and xanthines. Black Tea Nutrition & Calories: 100 grams of black tea has 1 calorie, 3mg of sodium, 37mg of potassium, 0.3 grams of carbohydrate, 3mg of omega-3-fatty acids, 1 mg of omega-6-fatty acids and 20mg of caffeine. 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. I highly suggest you buy tea from these places as you have a wider choice. Regarding storing, I store it in plastic jars in a cool place in the pantry away from moisture and heat. Some Common Questions Regarding Black Tea: How do you drink black tea? To make black tea, take 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of black tea leaves in a tea pot. Pour a cup of boiling water on top and close with a lid, let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes and then strain. Sweeten if you prefer. Where to buy black tea? You can buy black tea in all the departmental stores in India. Always buy from reputed brands and unless you are buying from company outlets don’t buy tea sold loose as it is mostly adulterated. How much black tea can you drink a day? Though 250 mg of caffeine is the suggested upper limit for caffeine consumption, I would suggest not drinking more than 2 to 3 cups of black tea as it leads to some side effects like stomach irritation and restlessness. How much caffeine in a cup of black tea? A cup (200 ml) of black tea contains around 40 mg of caffeine. Can I drink tea in empty stomach? Drinking tea in empty stomach increases acidity so always try to have it in between meals. Which is worse for your teeth – coffee or tea? Coffee is better than tea as tannins in tea causes teeth stains so always make sure to gargle your mouth after drinking tea. Is black tea with milk good for you? Try to consume black tea without milk as milk prevents the absorption of antioxidants present in tea. Is black tea dehydrating? Since black tea contains caffeine which is a diuretic, black tea is dehydrating so always have it in moderation. Is black tea healthier than coffee? Black tea has less caffeine than coffee and tea drinkers also have been reported to have less stroke and heart disease. Can black tea help you lose weight? Black tea is rich in polyphenols which helps reduce cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. It is also low in calories making it ideal to include in a weight loss diet. Is drinking black tea good for your skin? Since black tea is rich in antioxidants it helps to fight off free radicals that cause premature ageing of the skin. Side Effects Of Black Tea: Like with most foods over consumption of black tea can lead to some side effects like stomach irritation, nervousness, acidity, sleep problems, diarrhea, dizziness and heart burn…..
10 AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS & USES OF BLACK TEA:
1. Black Tea & Bone Health:
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.
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:
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.