Tea is actually the most consumed beverage worldwide after water so it’s quite likely you may be acquiring black tea benefits already on a regular basis. But is black tea good for you? Loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols that protect human cells from hazardous free radical damage, black tea definitely makes the list of one of my top anti-aging foods. Plus, black tea has been linked with improved mental alertness, lower ovarian cancer risk, and a possible decreased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and heart disease.
While it’s typically consumed “black” and hot in the East, in the West it’s often consumed cold with lemon as iced tea or hot with milk and a sweetener like sugar or honey. Some varieties of black tea that may ring a bell include “English Breakfast” and “Irish Breakfast.” You may also be familiar with “Early Grey,” which is a black tea with bergamot essential oil, or chai tea, which combines a variety of spices with black tea. Any of these varieties come with black tea benefits so you can choose whichever one you prefer.
Today, black tea is by far the most popular of the tea varieties, and it’s commonly consumed daily in Western as well as South Asian countries like Sri Lanka and India. So we definitely know it has a lot of fans, but how healthy is black tea? Let’s take a look at exactly how black tea benefits your health whether you’re already a long-time devotee or you’re considering making it your new go-to caffeine of choice.
Is Black Tea Good for You? 7 Major Black Tea Benefits
What is black tea good for? Short answer: a lot. For starters, here are just some of the most impressive black tea health benefits:
1. Boosts Heart Health
There have been numerous studies revealing black tea’s positive impact on heart health. A study published in 2017 looked at the effects of tea consumption on the risk of ischaemic heart disease. The study looked at more than 350,000 men and women between the ages of 30 and 79 from 10 areas in China. When the researchers followed up about seven years later, they found that consumption of tea was associated with a reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease as well as a lower risk of major coronary events (like a heart attack).
Another study compared black tea (without additives) drinkers to plain hot water drinkers for a period of 12 weeks. The black tea contained high amounts of flavan-3-ols, flavonols, theaflavins and gallic acid derivatives. The researchers found that daily consumption of nine grams of black tea resulted in “a highly significant decrease” of cardiovascular risk factors, including triglyceride levels and fasting serum glucose. There was also a significant decrease in the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol as well as an increase in HDL (“healthy”) cholesterol levels. Overall, the researchers conclude that drinking black tea “within a normal diet” leads to a decrease in major cardiovascular risk factors, and it also boosts antioxidant levels in humans.
2. May Help Fight Cancer
Cancer fighter is also on the list of black tea benefits, as black tea consumption has been linked with the reduction of certain types of cancer.† For starters, a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology investigated the effects of consuming flavonoid-rich black tea on prostate cancer risk in over 58,000 men in the Netherlands who provided detailed baseline information on several cancer risk factors. Black tea is considered a major source of health-promoting flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, kaempferol and myricetin. The study revealed that increased flavonoid and black tea intake was linked to a lower risk of advanced stage prostate cancer. However, no associations were observed for overall and earlier stages of prostate cancer.
Another promising study published in 2016 showed how the theaflavin-3 found in black tea had a very strong ability to stop the growth of cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells. A highly impressive finding since cisplatin is said to be “one of the most effective broad-spectrum anticancer drugs.” In addition, the theaflavin-3 was less toxic to the healthy ovarian cancer cells, which is awesome since many conventional anticancer drugs kill both cancerous and healthy cells.
3. Helps Reduce Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is an ever-growing chronic health problem around the world. A study published in the journal Diabetologia wanted to look at tea (and coffee) consumption in relationship to the development of type 2 diabetes. The study involved 40,011 participants, and at the mean follow-up time of 10 years, the researchers found that 918 subjects had developed type 2 diabetes.
They also found that drinking both tea and coffee was linked with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, consumption of at least three cups of tea or coffee per day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 42 percent. This makes black tea beneficial as part of a diabetic diet plan.
4. Potentially Staves Off Strokes
A meta-analysis published in 2009 found that drinking black or green tea daily may prevent ischemic stroke. Specifically, the researchers found that regardless of what country the subjects came from, the people who drank the equivalent of three or more cups of tea each day had an overall 21 percent lower risk of stroke as compared to the subjects who drank less than one cup daily.