Health Benefits of Black Tea
Did you know that black tea is the most popular tea in the world? All other teas combine for a measly 10% of the remaining market share. Worldwide, it is Ireland that tops the list of black tea drinkers, closely followed by the United Kingdom, with Turkey on 3rd spot. Surprisingly, China the country where tea really originated landed near the bottom of the list with Morocco, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico. This is not to say that tea is not a drink of choice in these countries, but only black tea is considered when looking at this list. Take China, for example, where tea is a staple drink, but it is green tea that is widely preferred.
Black, green, oolong and white tea, actually, all come from the fresh leaves of the same tea bush and just differs in its preparation. Black tea, as compared to the three other types, is left to oxidize for a longer period of time; meaning, its leaves are dried longer. This process results in a considerably stronger flavor but with lesser medicinal benefits. The good thing, however, with being oxidized longer is that it has a longer shelf life and retains its flavor and potency for a lot longer than the other types of tea.
On the other hand, in this longer process of oxidation, it is believed that black tea loses more of its health benefits. Although black tea might have less anti-oxidants compared to the white and green tea there is still more than enough left in the leaves to be beneficial for your body.
We sip a cup of black tea without really realizing that our bodies benefit from it as much as we enjoy it. Black tea, despite its oxidation process, still contains polyphenols, a kind of antioxidant that protects our bodies from damaging free radicals.
Antioxidants primarily strengthen our immune system so our bodies can fight infections and even lower risks of cancer, as the case is with antioxidants that black tea contains.
In addition, black tea also lowers the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. A study conducted on 66 men who were made to drink 3 to 4 cups of black tea daily, reduced their cholesterol levels significantly lessening the risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis.
Black tea has also been observed to decrease the number of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone that is released in our body system when we live fast-paced and stressed lifestyles which is already a normal condition in many people’s lives with all the pressures and demands that we have to live with.
Diabetics will also greatly benefit from black tea as it assists in controlling type2 diabetes through the similar effects it has with insulin. Results of one study published in BMJ open proved that among 50 nations included in the research, countries with the highest consumption of black tea registered the lowest number of type2 diabetes patients. A consequent study in Scotland in 2008 concurs with the potential beneficial effect of black tea on diabetes.
Drinking black tea has also been proven to minimize the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder involving balance and mobility. Researches have proven that a great decrease in risk comes with consumption of 421-2716mg daily but even with 124-208 mg, some decrease is already observed. More importantly, black tea can be a preventive measure against the disease as studies show there is a 71% less chance of developing Parkinson’s with regular consumption of black tea.
Black tea also contains caffeine which, just like other caffeinated drinks, promotes mental alertness. The effect of a mental boost brought about by increased alpha brain-wave activity keeps drinkers alert throughout the day.
Even bad breath and tooth decay are said to be possibly treated by drinking black tea regularly in large doses.
With the various health benefits offered by black tea for many different diseases, it is certainly a drink to be had anytime of the day and as often as possible,