Switch up your tea game: Black tea is beneficial too!

By Erika Guzman a Recent ASU Nutrition Student Article

It’s no surprise that tea is one of the main beverages people in the world consume today, next to water and coffee. It’s also very well known that green tea is beneficial to your health and chock full of antioxidants. But in the west, black tea is well known. Most people drink it iced, mixed with lemonades, sweetened, or as Arnold Palmers. Black tea isn’t just a mixer, it also has its benefits!

Again, black tea is more common and popular in the states, and although not known for its benefits, it’s definitely known for its uses and mixes. Black tea also has a different set of benefits from green tea, as well as some tasty combinations that help amp up its benefits.

Black tea comes from the same tea leaves as all others do, the Camellia Sinensis. Unlike green tea, black tea is fermented and fully oxidized, so some of its benefits can be lost in the process. Despite the process, black tea still has a lot of nutritional value and valuable antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases, and cancer-causing cells, or catechins. Another benefit is that black tea has high contents of flavonoids as it helps improve blood flow for the heart and can reduce blood sugar levels. Like coffee, it also has caffeine, so it’s great to be alert and awake without the jitters. Although the caffeine content is about one-third to a cup of coffee, it’s a nice alternative.

Another benefit is that black tea may have dental benefits. A study from the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition did a test on hamsters with a high-sugar diet, one group with water, and another with black tea. As a result, the black tea-drinking hamsters produced fewer caries, or cavities, than the other group. However, nothing is noted on tea stains on the teeth.

According to the National Institutes of Health and UCLA Center for Human Nutrition,  black tea can also benefit weight loss, but different than green tea. Both types of teas contain polyphenols or antioxidants that protect cellular structures. With green tea, it’s small enough to absorb in the body tissue and bloodstream. However, with black tea, it’s too large to be absorbed, so it lives in the intestines and boosts the growth of gut bacteria. Black tea also has increased levels of Pseudobutyrivibrio or helpful bacteria in your body. In short, it helps you develop more friendly gut bacteria while it boosts your metabolism. Because of the bacteria in the intestines, it is also beneficial if you have gastric and intestinal problems!

The beauty of black tea is that it comes in many different mixes that can add benefits. One very common blend is Earl Grey, black tea infused with bergamot, and it can lower cholesterol levels as well as help with illness. Another very common black tea blend is chai. Although popular in India, there’s a reason why it’s preferred. With chai, every blend is different, yet the majority of the blends have similar base spices. Cinnamon helps reduce blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risks, and lower cholesterol. Ginger helps the gut, relieves nausea and pain and can even help with sickness. Ginger can also be used as a weight loss spice as it helps satiation and possibly reduces food consumption. The last most common ingredient in chai is clove. It’s strong in flavor, but it helps reduce inflammation, relieve upper respiratory problems and infections, and can help improve digestion.

There’s no need to buy “skinny” or “weight-loss” teas when you have natural teas available for you. What’s even better is that black tea can be found everywhere in the United States. Whether you enjoy green tea or black tea, it’s nice to know there are more options to benefit your health with a nice hot cup of tea.


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