Why black tea is good for you and what are the possible side effects of drinking too much
There are many reasons why drinking black tea is good for you. First, it contains caffeine but less than coffee so it is a great alternative to your morning coffee. Further, it is rich in antioxidants and other compounds that are beneficial for your health.
Here in this article, you will find out more about the benefits of drinking black tea, the possible side effects of drinking too much, and how to brew a perfect cup of black tea at home.
Before we go deeper into these topics let’s see what is black tea and what is the difference between this tea and other teas that are made from the same plant Camellia Sinensis!
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What is black tea?
Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea, oolong tea, and white are made from the same plant too. Different ways of harvesting and processing the plant produce different types of tea.
The main difference between the two most consumed teas in the world, black tea, and green tea is that black tea after harvesting goes through a process called oxidation, and the process of making green tea does not involve oxidation.
Oxidation occurs when tea leaves remain exposed to the air for a long time. Since it is the most oxidized of all the tea types, it provides a unique flavor and color that tastes savory to sweet and has an amber to dark brown texture. Oxidation also gives black tea nutritional benefits that are not present in green tea.
Black tea nutrition facts
According to the USDA in one cup ( 8 fl oz ) ( 237g) of brewed black tea prepared with tap water, there are:
- Carbohydrate – 0.71g
- Vitamin B2 – 0.02mg, Vitamin B5 – 0.02mg, Vitamin B9 – 11.85 micrograms
- Magnesium – 7.11mg, Potassium – 87.69mg, Sodium – 7.11mg, Iron – 0.05mg
From the table above we can conclude that drinking black tea is good for you and this healthy beverage incorporates essential nutrients and minerals. Usually, black tea is served with milk, but consuming it with water is said to be the most beneficial.
Unsweetened black tea has few or no calories and has minimum carbohydrates, proteins, and sodium. Black tea is also stronger, bolder, more oxidized, and thus more beneficial than oolong tea, green or white tea.
What is black tea good for?
People usually drink black tea just because they like it. But drinking black tea is also good for you and here are the main health benefits of drinking black tea:
Rich source of antioxidants
Groups of polyphenols, including theaflavins, thearubigins, and catechins are the main sources of antioxidants in black tea. The antioxidant properties of tea may help inhibit free radical generation, and help protect your cells against DNA damage.
These antioxidants are different from those obtained from vegetables and fruits. Therefore as a regular part of our diet, they can provide additional benefits.
According to a study from 2016 published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, tea catechins and theaflavins are the bioactive phytochemicals responsible for the antioxidant activity of green and black tea.
In addition to their redox properties, these antioxidants are responsible for many of the beneficial properties of black tea.
Regular consumption of black tea is good for your overall health and can help prevent or help in managing chronic conditions.
Good to know
Today there are many supplements containing antioxidants. Studies show that the best way to consume them is through food and beverages. Taking antioxidants in supplement form may harm your health.
Promotes healthy digestive tract
The type of bacteria in your gut may play an important role in reducing the risk of certain health conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.
The polyphenols present in black tea may help maintain a healthy gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria.
Black tea contains more tannins than other tea types. The tannin in tea, in general, offers digestive benefits. They soothe gastric and intestinal illnesses, generally aid in digestion, and decrease intestinal activity ( making them useful for those with diarrhea).
Black tea may improve alertness and focus
Black tea contains caffeine. Moderate consumption of caffeine not only stimulates metabolism but also increases alertness and overall brain function. Black tea contains less caffeine than coffee but it also contains an amino acid called L-theanine.
L-theanine significantly increases alpha activity in the brain, resulting in better focus and relaxation. According to a review that summarizes the literature on the association between caffeine and L-theanine in tea and the psychological outcomes of consumption, these two compounds have the greatest impact on focus due to the effects of L-theanine on the brain.
The presence of L-theanine in tea may be the main reason why individuals report more stable energy after drinking tea, compared to other caffeinated beverages.
If you want to change your morning coffee with tea here is a list of caffeinated and caffeine-free teas as an alternative to your morning coffee.
May aid skin and hair health
Consuming black tea is good for your skin in many ways. Its caffeine and some other chemical components can eliminate oral viruses, which helps prevent skin infections.
Further, black tea contains vitamin C, E, and B2 with minerals like magnesium, zinc, and potassium and essential polyphenols and tannins which nourish the skin. Also, black tea has been shown to reduce “mimic wrinkles” and signs of premature aging.
Black tea is used in hair packs, skin packs, and for home remedies like relieving puffy eyes. A 2019 review of the application of tea and its active components found that the catechins in tea were responsible for anti-aging, photoprotective, and antioxidant properties.
High levels of antioxidants and caffeine make black tea good for your hair too. Caffeine decreases a hormone that causes hair loss known as DHT. Antioxidants promote healthy hair growth. But be careful, excess caffeine consumption may stunt hair growth, so be careful not to overdo it.
May lower LDL “bad” cholesterol
Another important benefit of drinking black tea its consumption may help reduce LDL cholesterol. A clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking 5 servings of black tea per day reduced LDL cholesterol by 11% in individuals with slightly or mildly elevated cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, a randomized controlled trial compared the effects of Chinese black tea extract and placebo on LDL levels in 47 individuals. Those who drank black tea showed a significant decrease in LDL levels compared to the placebo, without any side effects.
As a conclusion from this study, researchers concluded that black tea helped improve cholesterol levels in individuals at risk for heart disease or obesity.
Black tea and weight loss benefits
Black tea is a natural calorie-free beverage. Just simply replacing high-calorie drinks with tea can help you lose weight faster. Here is a list of the best teas that may help with weight loss. Drinking tea or water before a meal can help you feel full sooner.
A study published in Australian Family Physician showed that drinking 500 ml water 30 minutes before a meal can lead to better weight loss results. Black tea can be a tastier alternative without increasing calories. Drinking one cup of black tea before a meal can help you to lose weight more efficiently.
As we mentioned before black tea is also a good prebiotic and helps to improve digestive processes. The caffeine present in black tea is linked to boosting energy and increasing metabolic rate. This helps the body perform better during exercise and shed pounds faster.
Furthermore, a 2018 study attributed weight loss properties to the presence of theaflavins in black tea. It also noted that fully fermented teas like black tea are as effective for weight loss as green tea. Here you can find out more about which one is more effective for weight loss black tea or green tea.
Potential side effects of drinking black tea
Drinking black tea in moderate amounts is generally safe for most people. Drinking large amounts of black tea, more than four to five cups a day may cause health problems that are often related to the caffeine content in black tea.
While black tea does contain less caffeine than coffee, an 8-ounce cup still includes anywhere from 40 to 120 milligrams of caffeine. Too much caffeine may cause dehydration, headache, shakiness, diarrhea, and irregular heartbeat.
People who drink tea regularly and who experience any of these symptoms should consider reducing their tea consumption.
Learn more, does tea or coffee have more caffeine?
Additionally, black tea contains tannins. Despite the fact that tannin-rich foods are a good source of antioxidants, they can also reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron. This would only be a problem for those with conditions like anemia.
People with a history of iron deficiency should avoid consuming tea when taking iron supplements or eating an iron-rich meal.
Also, cautious consumption is recommended in the case of children, breastfeeding or pregnant women, people with anxiety, heart problems. People with high blood pressure, IBS, glaucoma should keep their tea consumption to a minimum.
Caffeine can also interact with some medications so talk to your doctor first if you have any health problems before consuming black tea.
Don’t consume black tea before bedtime as it can cause restlessness. Adding sugar, milk, or syrup to tea increases the calorie content and may reduce its benefits.
How to brew perfect homemade black tea
Drinking black tea is good for you but also it is very easy to make. You can use tea bags or loose leaves. Here are some common types of black tea: Orange pekoe, Darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam, Nilgiri, Keemun. The most common type of black tea sold in grocery stores is Orange Pekoe.
In addition, black tea is commonly found in the following blends:
- English breakfast tea
- Earl Grey tea
- Irish breakfast tea
- Chai tea
How to brew black tea
- 1 teaspoon loose leaf black tea
- 8 ounces water
Boil water until it reaches 200 and 212 F. Heating the water to the optimal temperature will bring out the right balance of tannins. If the water temperature is too low it may not extract the full range of flavors. If the temperature is too high, the tea will be too tannic and taste bitter.
Use a teaspoon to portion out 2 to 3 grams of loose tea. Add tea leaves to a tea strainer and place directly in the tea kettle. You can also add the tea leaves to a teacup and add the hot water on top.
Let the tea steep from 3 to 5 minutes. You may wish to taste the tea at the 3-minute mark and then every 30 seconds to discover your sweet spot. To make a stronger tea use more tea leaves rather than more time. Longer steeping will make the tea bitter.
Remove the strainer from the cup or strain the loose leaf tea using a fine-mesh strainer.
Enjoy your perfect cup of black tea!
How many cups of black tea a day is too much?
Black tea contains caffeine, an 8-ounce cup of black tea usually contains between 40 and 120 mg of caffeine, depending on the type of black tea that you are using and steeping time.
Drinking more than 4 or 5 cups a day can cause health problems, mostly because of caffeine-related side effects. So, drink this tea in moderation, no more than 3 cups per day!
Final thoughts about the benefits of drinking black tea
Black tea is a great alternative for coffee if you are looking for a beverage with less caffeine than coffee. Unsweetened black tea is a low-calorie drink with a strong, unique flavor.
Rich in antioxidants, caffeine, and L-theanine black tea is good for you and may help to improve alertness and focus, it is good for your digestive tract, may lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, it is also good for your hair and skin.
But be careful consuming too much black tea, like more than 5 cups a day is possibly unsafe. Due to its caffeine content, it may cause side effects such as headache, shakiness, irregular heartbeat, etc.
So drink this great beverage in moderation, no more than 3 cups per day. If you have any health problems consult with your doctor first before you start consuming black tea. Remember, moderation is the key don’t drink too much!