Article published by: HeathLine
Aside from water, black tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world.
It comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and is often blended with other plants for different flavors, such as Earl Grey, English breakfast or chai.
It’s stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than other teas, but less caffeine than coffee.
Black tea also offers a variety of health benefits because it contains antioxidants and compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Here are 5 health benefits of black tea, all supported by science..
1. Has Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants are known to provide a host of health benefits.
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant found in certain foods and beverages, including black tea.
Groups of polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins, are the main sources of antioxidants in black tea and may promote overall health (3).
In fact, one study in rats examined the role of theaflavins in black tea and the risk of diabetes, obesity and elevated cholesterol. Results showed that theaflavins reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels (4).
Another study examined the role of catechins from green tea extract on body weight. It found that those who consumed a bottle containing 690 mg of catechins from tea on a daily basis for 12 weeks showed a decrease in body fat (5).
While many supplements contain antioxidants, the best way to consume them is through food and beverages. In fact, some research has found that taking antioxidants in supplement form may harm your health (6).
2. May Boost Heart Health
Black tea contains another group of antioxidants called flavonoids, which benefit heart health.
Along with tea, flavonoids can be found in vegetables, fruits, red wine and dark chocolate. Consuming them on a regular basis may help reduce many risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels and obesity (7).
One randomized controlled study found that drinking black tea for 12 weeks significantly decreased triglyceride values by 36%, reduced blood sugar levels by 18% and lowered the LDL/HDL plasma ratio by 17% (8).
Another study found that those who drank three cups of black tea per day had an 11% reduced risk of developing heart disease (9).
Adding black tea to your daily routine is an easy way to incorporate antioxidants into your diet and potentially reduce your risk of future health complications.
3. May Lower “Bad” LDL Cholesterol
The body contains two lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body.
One is low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the other is high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL is considered the “bad” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol to cells throughout the body. Meanwhile, HDL is considered the “good” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol away from your cells and to the liver to be excreted.
When there is too much LDL in the body, it can build up in the arteries and cause waxy deposits called plaques. This can lead to problems like heart failure or stroke.
Fortunately, some studies have found that consuming tea may help reduce LDL cholesterol.
One randomized study found that drinking five servings of black tea per day reduced LDL cholesterol by 11% in individuals with slightly or mildly elevated cholesterol levels (10).
Another randomized three-month study in 47 individuals compared the effects of traditional Chinese black tea extract and a placebo on LDL levels.
Results showed a significant decrease in LDL levels in those who drank black tea, compared to the placebo, without any undesirable side effects. Researchers concluded that black tea helped improve cholesterol levels in individuals at risk for heart disease or obesity.
4. May Improve Gut Health
Studies have found that the type of bacteria in your gut may play a significant role in your health.
That’s because the gut contains trillions of bacteria, as well as 70–80% of your immune system (12).
While some of the bacteria in your gut is beneficial for your health, some are not.
In fact, some studies have suggested that the type of bacteria in your gut may play an important role in reducing the risk of certain health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even cancer (13).
In addition, black tea contains antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful substances and improve gut bacteria and immunity by helping repair the lining of the digestive tract. However, further research is needed before a strong conclusion can be made regarding the role of black tea and immune function (15).
5. May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects approximately 1 billion people worldwide (16).
It can increase your risk of heart and kidney failure, stroke, vision loss and heart attacks. Fortunately, changes in your diet and lifestyle can lower your blood pressure (17).
A randomized, controlled study looked at the role of black tea in decreasing blood pressure. Participants drank three cups of black tea daily over six months. Results found that those who drank black tea had a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo group (18).
However, research on the effects of black tea on blood pressure is mixed. A meta-analysis of five different studies involving 343 participants looked at the impact of drinking black tea for four weeks on blood pressure.
Although results found some improvements in blood pressure, researchers concluded that the findings were not significant (19).
Drinking black tea on a daily basis, as well as incorporating other lifestyle modifications like stress management strategies, may benefit those with high blood pressure.
5. May Improve Focus
Black tea contains caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine, which can improve alertness and focus.
L-theanine increases alpha activity in the brain, resulting in relaxation and better focus.
Studies have found that beverages containing L-theanine and caffeine have the greatest impact on focus due to the effects of L-theanine on the brain (31).
This may be why many individuals report more stable energy after drinking tea, compared to other caffeinated beverages like coffee.
Two randomized studies tested black tea’s effects on accuracy and alertness. In both studies, black tea significantly increased accuracy and self-reported alertness among participants, compared to a placebo (32).
This makes black tea a great beverage if you are looking to improve energy and focus without a lot of caffeine.
The Bottom Line
Black tea is a great option if you are looking for a low-calorie, non-sweetened beverage with less caffeine than coffee or energy drinks.
It has a strong, unique flavor and contains plenty of antioxidants, which can provide several health benefits. These include improved cholesterol, better gut health and decreased blood pressure.
Best of all, it’s simple to make!
If you haven’t done so before, consider trying black our tea so you can reap its numerous health benefits.