Black Tea Benefits: 10 Reasons It’s More Amazing Than You Knew
Whether you’re a regular black tea drinker or can’t remember the last time you brewed a cup, you’ll be eager to take a tea break after you get through our list of all the awesome ways in which Black Tea can lift up your body, mind, and soul.
The History of Black Tea
Black tea boomed into the tea-drinking world back in the 17th century and of course, it came from the tea-drinking capital of the world – China. It came into being when a bunch of tea leaves were accidentally left out in the sun too long.
Soaking up too much sun and oxygen, the leaves turned a dark shade of red. Rather than waste the leaves, a local farmer decided to try and save the tea by drying it over pine and the beautiful smoky brew was born.
When it was discovered that this dark and delicious tea could be stored for longer periods of time (and got better with age), traders went crazy for the black tea leaves known as Lapsang Souchong. Black tea became hot stuff with both the British and Dutch traders battling it out for as much as they could get.
When the Dutch won, the Brits had to look elsewhere for the Camellia Sinensis plant responsible for this exciting new tea. They found it in India but it was stronger and had a bigger yield. Playing with flavor, this paved the way for the delicate aromas of Earl Grey, the bright notes of Orange Pekoe, and the famed Darjeeling tea to be created.
Because of its eye-watering price back in the day, sipping a black tea was reserved for the aristocracy and adopted by British royalty as the drink of choice. These days, black tea is one of the most popular versions of tea consumed around the world. India, China, and Sri Lanka remain the biggest producers of one of the world’s favorite teas but there are a ton of different varieties to choose from.
The Different Types of Black Tea
Surprisingly, black tea is the same as white tea and green tea when it comes to leaf, the only difference is how it is processed. Black tea is oxidized more than other kinds of herbal tea which gives it that darker coloring and bolder tasting notes too. Just like the world of wine, black tea comes in different blends and has different flavor notes depending on the tumbling plantations and terroir which it is grown in.
Assam tea from India can be brisk and bold. Darjeeling is considered to be the champagne of all teas thanks to its delicate light flavor and seasonal influences. Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea is spicy and rich. China’s Yunnan is malt like chocolate. Then, you have the classic blends uplifted with notes of bergamot and citrus (like Earl Grey) or spiced with warmth (like Masala Chai).
Smoky to stimulating, floral to malty, and whether you pour a cup for breakfast or as an afternoon ritual, your black tea intake is rich in health benefits too.
What are the health benefits of black tea?
More than just a moment’s rest or a morning routine to kickstart your day, consumption of black tea comes with plenty of health benefits. While some health-conscious sippers may think they need to steer clear of caffeine-based teas in favor of the herbal variety or teas that come caffeine-free, studies have shown that black tea has just as many health benefits as green tea.
There are actually only five ‘true’ varieties of tea out there – Black, White, Green, Oolong, and Pu’erh. The rest of the teas stashed in your pantry are herbal blends, plucked from fields of flowers and spice rather than crafted from the tea leaf itself. So, by choosing one of the five big teas, you get all those lush health benefits that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.
So what about the health benefits of black tea?
Its caffeine content is a great way to raise energy levels, it’s antioxidant properties are perfect for overall health, and the tannins can have a positive effect on your digestive wellness. This is just a pinch of the power of black tea.
For centuries, this smoky brew has been used as a herbal tonic for healing. Take a look at all the amazing apothecary benefits that come with sipping black tea…
1. Gives You More Energy
For those with endless to-do lists and workouts to crush, black tea can be your secret weapon. It contains more caffeine than other teas, but less than coffee (about half as much). That means you get the energy boost without the crash. If coffee is something that sends you all jittery, then you may find a stable joy in sipping a cup of black tea instead.
In addition to caffeine, black tea also contains small amounts of theophylline, which is a stimulant that can increase your heart rate. They work together to help you feel awake, alert, and able to take on your day.
When you need a boost to hit the gym, prep a meal, or get outside, reach for a cup of energy-rich tea and consider those goals met.
2. Protects Your Heart
Being healthy is about so much more than how you look and feel—it’s about optimizing how your body works so you live better and longer. One critical part of that? Your heart health.
Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is a heavy hitter. In fact, one in every four deaths in the US is the result of heart disease, according to the CDC. The good news, though, is that you can reduce your risk by moving more and eating healthfully. Oh and one more thing: drinking more tea.
For example, one study found that drinking black tea regularly reduced LDL cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease. Participants who drank three cups of black tea per day over 12 weeks also had higher levels of antioxidants in their blood, which can help reduce the risk of certain cancers. That makes this one of the most powerful black tea benefits in our opinion.
For those looking to cut high blood pressure through lower systolic action, put themselves in the lower risk bracket for a heart attack, and reduce harmful triglyceride levels, black tea is here to help.
3. Helps Your Gut
Gut health is glamorous, we know, but it’s also really important in helping you stay healthy. Good gut health has a direct impact on your immune system. In fact, a gut full of good bacteria can reduce your risk of certain diseases and cancers.
Black tea (and other teas) contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help good bacteria grow while attacking bad bacteria. One study on mice found that the polyphenols in both green and black tea improved gut health and helped with weight loss. Black tea also helps your digestive enzymes and the tannins can help heal inflammation and all kinds of irritation.
While there’s still a lot to discover about tea and the gut, adding a few cups of black tea to your day certainly can’t hurt. We recommend our Rose Earl Gray for a sweet way to salute your insides.
4. Increases Your Focus
We don’t know about you, but when we tap into a super-focus mode, we work better and smarter. In other words, more focus at the office means less work to take home. And because work-life balance is hugely related to stress, this is key to our long-term health and happiness.
That’s where this connection between the mind and black tea comes in—it can help you find your focus. How? Black tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which combined with caffeine, can keep you in the zone, says the research that has been done using black tea extract to figure out all these health benefits.
One study looked at the effects of black tea on attention and found that those who drank black tea performed more accurately on both a task-switching test and a self-reported alertness questionnaire.
To tap into the accuracy-enhancing black tea benefits, enjoy a cup during the workday.
5. Lowers Your Stroke Risk
Your health is a long-term game, so reducing your risk of the big players—heart disease, stroke, and cancer—is important. Luckily, black tea can help you do just that.
Specifically, black tea has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke thanks to its positive effects on blood vessels, and that’s according to a huge body of research.
One study of nearly 75,000 people over a 10+ year period found that participants who drank four cups of black tea every day had a 32 percent lower chance of having a stroke compared with non-tea drinkers. We’ll take those odds.
6. Reduces blood sugar levels
Keeping blood sugar levels at a healthy and harmonious level is definitely on our agenda. Back in 2009, a Dutch study found that drinking three cups of black tea could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Thanks to those natural polyphenols found in black tea it is believed that sipping on the stuff actively reduces the rise in blood glucose levels after sugar consumption.
More than a third of US adults have pre-diabetes (a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes) and close to 90% don’t even know they have it. Anything you can do to micromanage your blood sugar levels is bound to help, and if that means sipping more delicious black tea – so be it.
7. Reduces the risk of cancer
This one’s a big one. Drinking black tea is believed to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. The thearubigins and theaflavins found in black tea are ripe with antioxidant activity. The natural chemicals found in polyphenols have been shown to slow cancer cells in their tracks and to protect cells from DNA damage.
There have been more than 50 studies into the link between tea consumption and cancer since 2006. The results lean towards black tea actively reducing the risk of several types of cancer although there is still plenty of work to be done.
But if a steaming cup of tea may help reduce the risks of breast cancer and other life-altering conditions, we are more than happy to put the kettle on.
8. Improves hair and skin
While black tea is busy getting to work on spring cleaning your internal health, it doesn’t skip out on your external wellbeing. Nursing a cup of black tea can also lead to glowing skin and gleaming hair.
The antioxidants, tannins, and polyphenols found in black tea can all help the skin to heal fast, reduce puffiness, and can even banish blemishes. It is also believed that black tea from China can help your hair grow. As black tea also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, this also leads to brighter more radiant skin and glossy gorgeous locks.
Black tea doesn’t just bring a sense of vibrancy, it can also help reduce wrinkles and other signs of anti-ageing thanks to being a dutiful detox remedy and also using those antioxidants to fight free radicals and cell damage.
For those feeling burnt out, dull and tired, pick up a cup of black tea before a big date.
9. Improves fat burning
With obesity being a big problem in recent years, black tea can be added to the list of ways to help weight management. A study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking black tea can increase metabolism by 6 percent. It also helps the body to break down stored fat. The caffeine also increases our flow of energy, pulling us out of a slump and encouraging us to be more active which in turn, also burns more calories.
A cup of black tea only has 2 calories in it (as long as you steer clear from adding milk and sugar) meaning that you can consume happily without the worry of adding to your calorie intake. Drinking hot liquid can also trick the brain into thinking it is full meaning that you may be less inclined to snack on sweet treats or give in to cravings.
Chinese black tea is also believed to aid in weight loss thanks to the oxidation process as it alters the way the body absorbs fat. For those who want to stay within their own unique body mass lane, a cup of tea may just do the trick.
10. Life-extending antioxidants
Swimming with thearubigins, flavonoids, theaflavins, and catechins – black tea is full of antioxidants that bring powerful healing to the body. Antioxidants have a whole host of health benefits including their ability to throw out free radicals and reduce cell damage.
Antioxidants boost your overall health in general and can reduce the risk of chronic disease showing up to spoil the party. As mentioned, those polyphenols really do a number on cutting down the chances of diabetes and cholesterol at the same time as promoting a healthy, happy beating heart and helping prevent blood vessel plaque building up.
Black tea is a bounty of goodness and with all those antioxidants you can sip safe in the knowledge that every cup is adding to your health and wellbeing.
Side effects of black tea
Black tea is brimming with health benefits which is why we love it. From reducing the risk of cancer to promoting clear thinking, lowering stress levels, and nurturing glorious gut health, there is so much to celebrate in just a single cup.
Of course like with any drink containing caffeine, it helps to be responsible with your consumption. Drinking black tea is a super safe and enjoyable experience for most people. If possible, it may be best to keep your daily intake below 4 or 5 cups a day just because the caffeine can add up. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, you may have side effects that include the following:
- Trouble sleeping
- Urinating more
- Higher blood pressure
Remember, these side effects aren’t common for the casual drinker and are mostly linked to excess caffeine when someone has consumed a ton of tea. If you want to keep your tea as pure and healthy as possible you may want to avoid adding extra spoons of sugar or find more natural ways to add sweetness or adjust the taste. There are plenty of different varieties of black tea out there so find one that suits your tastes and mood.
Check out our Thai Iced Tea
With all of these black tea benefits, we’ll be sipping on more chai lattes and Earl Grey in the weeks (and years!) to come. The varieties of flavors, the energetic boost, and the beautiful fact that it can be enjoyed either as part of your delicate morning routine to wake up your senses or as an afternoon pick me up make it one of the most versatile brews. We also love that black tea can be adapted to your own taste buds depending on the variety.
From a citrus slice of lemon to balance astringent notes to a splash of milk or smidge of honey, black tea will make a true tea connoisseur of you.
It can also be enjoyed hot and steaming or chilled with ice on sweltering days. You can also use your black tea bags as a base to get creative – add some mint, infuse with pomegranate or orange, a pinch of turmeric for an extra punch, or top with coconut or condensed milk for a sweet Thai treat.
Take a look at this super simple black tea recipe we are loving today.
- Start by boiling 2 cups of water.
- Once the water has boiled, switch off the heat and add 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves.
- Let the tea steep for 3 - 5 minutes
- Strain the tea and discard the tea leaves
- Pour into a cup and add milk and sugar or a slice of lemon depending on your tastes.
We hope you’ll join us and enjoy a healthier and happier life with tea as part of our hydrating and healthy rituals.
Cheers to hitting our goals and feeling good while doing it.
What’s your favorite way to drink black tea—hot, iced, as a blend, or on its own? What benefits of black tea surprised you? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Not into black tea? Our green tea benefit guide has everything you need to know!
Medical Disclaimer: While we have delved into the research available on the health benefits of these teas, this is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.