Nature’s Aid for Health. Black Tea Health Benefits - Rivertea Blog
Carmen Rotaru | On 18, Mar 2013
Black tea is becoming more and more popular due to the recent studies which have shown that this kind of tea has in its composition 10 times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Discover black tea’s health benefits and why this tea variety should be included in your everyday meal routine.
Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than any other tea variety. Black tea is made from the leaves of the small tea tree known as Camellia Sinensis. Two main varieties of the tea plant are used for preparing black tea, the small Chinese tree or shrub featuring small leaves and the Indian variety of the plant known as Camellia Assamica which features large leaves. Black tea is generally known to be stronger in flavor than the less oxidized tea varieties.
In China and other Asian countries, black tea is generally known as red tea which is in fact a description of the actual color of the beverage. The Western notion of black tea refers to the color of the oxidized leaves. In China, black teas are considered to be the post-fermented teas, while in the Western countries red tea actually means rooibos tea which is in fact a South African tisane.
Black Tea Composition. What do Scientific Studies Have to Say?
Black tea is becoming more and more popular due to the recent studies which have shown that this kind of tea has in its composition 10 times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. All teas extracted from Camellia Sinensis plant are rich in polyphenols, which is a type of antioxidant. These amazing natural nutrients search for cell-damaging free radicals in the body and detoxify them, which actually means that black tea is indeed a very healthy variety of beverage, 10 times more efficient than veggies.
John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, USA says that he discovered in his lab that the polyphenols component of black tea actually blocks DNA damage associated with tobacco consumption and other toxic chemicals.
Other recent laboratory tests on rats have also shown that drinking black tea may help boost the metabolism being an important aid in the weight loss process, protects bones, blocks allergic responses, improves the skin’s health and even reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
A recent study has also shown that black tea can be an aid in lowering the risk of diabetes. According to a study from 2012 published in the journal BMJ Open, researchers from Data Mining International in Switzerland found that rates of diabetes are lower in countries with high black tea consumption. The study included important data on black tea consumption and disease rates from 50 countries that were monitored in the World Health Survey in 2009. The researchers looked at diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and infectious disease. They found out that countries such as Ireland, United Kingdom and Turkey which are high rate consumers of black tea were also the countries with the lowest level of diabetes.
Black Tea and Cancer
The polyphenols in black tea seem to be responsible for cancer prevention. These natural chemicals compounds feature substantial free radical scavenging activity. This may be the explanation for the protection of the cells from DNA damage. Tea polyphenols also seem to inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells. In addition tea polyphenols may also protect against damage produced to skin by the ultraviolet radiations which means it actually protects the skin against cancer.
While some studies indicate that regular consumption of black tea may reduce cancer risk, there are other tests and reports which tend to contradict the more optimistic studies. There are scientists who do not see any link between black tea intake and cancer prevention or other cancer-related benefits. Other recent studies have shown to the researchers a link between excessive black tea consumption and breast cancer.
Black Tea and Cardiovascular Health
A study conducted in 2006 by researchers from University College London showed that people who drink black tea on a regular basis are much more protected against heart attacks and high blood pressure than non-tea drinkers. The study was made on 75 young and healthy males in their thirties.
Furthermore, black tea is rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, which are known for their role in preventing damage in artery walls and bloodstream, thus lowering the risk of heart disease. The polyphenols found in black tea may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by aiding the cardiac muscle function. Black tea is also recognized as an important aid in reducing the cholesterol level.
Black Tea and the Nervous System
The caffeine in black tea may help blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart as coffee does, for instance. The caffeine in black tea is believed to be responsible for stimulating mental focus and concentration. Recent studies have also shown that black tea also contains an amino acid compound, L-theanine, which is believed to be responsible for enhancing relaxation, helping one concentrate more rapidly and fully to the day’s tasks.
Black tea is also responsible for reducing the level of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone, after only a month of drinking this tea variety regularly. Caffeine in black tea proves to be more efficient when it comes to aiding the memory and also may help protect against Parkinson.
Black Tea and Teeth Problems
A study from 2001 concludes that various components in black tea, notably catechins, may have anti-cariogenic activity. According to the study, tea has a bactericidal effect against Streptococcus mutans, which is a bacteria commonly found in the oral cavity and a significant contributor to tooth decay. Research suggests that catechin antioxidants in black tea may also reduce oral cancers.
According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, black tea’s polyphenols and tannin perform as antibiotics, also helping to keep in check the bacteria which causes bad breath.
Black Tea and Digestive Problems
The tannin in black tea is known to have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses, which makes it an important digestive aid. It was used in China with this particular purpose for thousands of years. The tannin compound decreases intestinal activity and exercises an antidiarrheal effect.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, black tea may also be responsible for reducing the constriction of blood vessels after eating a high-fat meal, especially fast-food type meal. Due to their high anti-oxidant content, black tea prevents a chemical chain reaction that can temporarily impair the ability of blood vessels to dilate or widen after eating fattening foods.
Black Tea and Skin Issues
Because black tea is rich in antioxidants, regular use of black tea extracts help skin radiance and even skin tone. It is also recommended as an anti-aging product.
Black tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. A cold compress with black tea can reduce eye bags or puffiness.
Black tea extract is an amazing quality antibacterial astringent. Regular application of black tea extract on face controls outbreak of pimples. Regular use of raw tea extract can also have a beneficial effect on acne scar and sunburn irritations.
Black Tea and Weight Loss
Researchers from University of Warsaw, Poland have reported in the “European Journal of Nutrition” from March 2011 that supplementing one’s diet with fruit flavored black teas and other flavored black teas could reduce blood glucose due to their flavanoid content.
Another study from 2011 of Japan scientists which was published in the journal “Nutrition”, shows that black tea actually blocks fat absorption into cells, being an effective aid in weight loss. These studies were performed on rats that exhibited fat reduction after ingesting black tea and a high-fat diet.
However, these results only apply for plain black tea. When milk and any sweetener, sugar or honey, is added to black tea, this beverage becomes rich in calories, thus losing its efficiency as a weight loss aid.
Black Tea – an Energy Booster
If drank with moderation, caffeine in black tea can bring an amazing benefit to the body because it stimulates the metabolism and increases brain function.
The best part is that the caffeine in black tea acts as a subtle stimulant and takes more minutes to actually producing an effect rather than quickly invading your nervous system as coffee or cola consumption does. This subtle effect is due to other compound found in black tea, theophyline. This compound helps protect the cardiovascular system because it helps stimulate the respiratory system, heart and kidneys while caffeine targets the brain and muscles.
Side Effects of Black Tea
Black tea is safe for most adults, but when it’s too much, it brings trouble. Drinking more than five cups of black tea per day can cause different side effects mostly because of the caffeine compound. These side effects can range from mild to serious headaches, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heart burn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion.
Black tea must be consumed with caution in case of pregnancy or breast feeding. Consumed in small amounts, black tea isn’t harmful, but more than two cups per day means trouble because of the caffeine. Consuming high amounts of black tea during pregnancy has been associated with increased risks of miscarriage and other negative effects such as lower birth weight. Brest-feeding and black tea do not go well together. More than the recommended amount of two cups per day can cause your baby sleeping problems and can result in him being much more irritable than usual.
Osteoporosis and black tea aren’t friends at all. Black tea in small amounts isn’t harmful, but more than three cups per day may result in troubles for those of you who suffer from osteoporosis. Drinking caffeinated black tea can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. This might result in weakening the bones.
Black tea is indeed a wonderful aid offered by nature and though we are aware of black tea’s health benefits, it’s not a good idea to renounce to your treatment if you undergo any or to stop making regulate visits to your doctor. Remember that black tea is an aid, a supplement, but not a solution in itself.
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