There are so many kinds of tea that you would be spoilt for choice if you are a tea person. We are going to look at various kinds of black tea and what makes them stand out from other types of tea such as White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, and Black tea. We shall also look at the popular health benefits and put to rest the numerous rumors being made about them in recent times.
It is important to start by making clear what we mean by ‘Black tea’. Originally, black tea was made from Camellia sinensis, a plant that initially grew in China. You would also be fascinated to know that in China, black tea is actually referred to as “red tea (Hong Cha)”. The rest of the world prefers to associate red tea with a South African herbal tea called rooibos.
What is Black Tea?
It may come as a surprise to many to know that black tea is quite similar to green tea and white tea, except that it is fermented/oxidized. Ninety percent of all tea enjoyed in the West is purely black tea. There are five kinds of tea respected as ‘true teas’ and black tea is proudly on this list. Alongside black tea is green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and Pu-erh tea. Usually, black tea is enjoyed on its own, but it may also serve just fine as a base tea in flavored teas like Earl Grey and Masala Chai. If you are a fan of malty flavors with full body and hints of caramel or chocolate notes, then loose-leaf black tea is right up your alley!
Fermented Vs. Oxidized Tea
Fermented tea is tea whose leaves have been oxidized. The tea leaves pick up all sorts of flavors and aromas during this process and even become darker. Hence the name black tea, especially in the West. The Chinese regard it as red tea because when brewed, it appears rich red in color.
Types of Black Tea
There are many kinds of tea that are popular in different countries, each country has feature types but spread worldwide these years.
Da Hong Pao, Keemun, Lapsang Souchong, Dianhong, Yingdehong, Jiu Qu Hong Mei, and Pu-erh (truly fermented black tea) are all from China. Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake easily takes the day as the best-known black tea, Indians usually enjoy Assam, Darjeeling, Kangra, Munnar, and Nilgiri black teas, Korea gives us Jaekseol, Nepal is known for its Nepali, and last but not least are Ceylon and Rize from in Sri Lanka and Turkey respectively.
Some other kinds of famous black tea around the world are Chai tea, Earl Grey, and English breakfast. The most well-known of these are;
- Earl Grey is a black tea infused with bergamot oil.
- English Breakfast Tea assorted Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya black tea.
- English Afternoon Tea assorted Keemun, Ceylon, and Darjeeling black tea
- Irish Breakfast Tea assorted a variety of Assam black tea buds and leaves.
Now when we talk about black tea’s health benefits, essentially include the features below.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Enhances Weight Loss
There are more than 500 Polyphenols, antioxidants that protect cell structures like DNA and cell membranes. Polyphenols are a group of phytochemicals, and they protect against damage and free radicals. They stimulate the metabolism process and when ingested they are absorbed into the bloodstream and body tissues, thereby changing the liver’s metabolization of energy leading to loss of weight. “Black teas are prebiotics, substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person’s well-being.” as shown by recent research, which was running on mice that ate a high-fat and high-sugar diet to four groups of mice. One group was also given tea supplements and another green tea and the last one black tea.
The research results revealed that black tea mice had reduced fat and an increase in a bacteria called pseudobutyrivibrio, which greatly influences metabolism.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Have you been suffering from any anxiety and stress? Worry no more! It turns out that black tea is actually one of the many cures to these 2 problems.
A professor at the University College London Andrew Steptoe had this comment about black tea, “Drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from daily stresses in life.”
Black tea was found to reduce stress and help with relaxation, as evidenced by a study that was done on a group of healthy males with a mean age of 33. They were split into two groups, with one drinking black tea and the other a placebo caffeinated beverage with zero benefits that you would normally find in tea. After being issued duties to do which would strain their heart rate, pulse and stress, the results were astounding. The cortisol levels of the group that consumed black tea were significantly lower than the group that took fake tea. (Just in case you didn’t know, cortisol is a hormone usually produced in the adrenal cortex in response to stress). The participants in the first group also reported being more wound up upon finishing the tasks.
Black tea drinkers were also found to have lower blood platelet activation levels, which are directly connected to blood clot formation, well known to be responsible for the risk of heart attacks.
Please kindly notice here, Black tea will not completely get rid of stress, but it definitely calms the stress hormones. As if that’s not enough, black tea can also improve energy, thanks to L-theanine, an amino acid that pushes up your energy and motivation levels in no way coffee does. You might want to pick up black tea tomorrow morning, instead of that mug of star bucks you have been enjoying for the last so many years.
If you dread cancer, then am sure you would be happy to know that black tea has the ability to prevent various kinds of cancer. Yup! Even breast cancer is one of the ugliest types of cancer. Here I back my claim with evidence from scientific research which reveals that antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, catechins, flavonoids, thearubigins, and theaflavins, can substantially prevent and even reduce the spread and development of cancer. What are antioxidants? Well, they are substances that prohibit or prevent the oxidation of beneficial molecules in our bodies. Both antioxidants and free radicals are created in our bodies and are essentially opposing forces within our bodies that must be balanced to maintain health.
Free radicals are highly reactive, due to an unpaired electron which endlessly seeks (often destructively) another electron to find equilibrium. Antioxidants have that extra electron and neutralize the otherwise damaging effects.
Black tea has been tested in the lab on rats and other animals and found to minimize cancerous tumors in prostate, breast, lung, stomach, and ovarian cancer. Antioxidants in black tea are able to absorb free radicals as the main agents of decreased risk of cancer. Plenty of tests have still to be done on humans to verify the possibility of these benefits. Findings in laboratory studies on animals and meta-analysis of studies note that green tea and black tea are also associated with the prevention and slowing of cancer cells in the colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells.
Black tea contains great amounts of tannin which have the ability to fight diarrhea. As you know, too much diarrhea causes dehydration. Drinking black tea restores the large amounts of fluids lost because it contains vital nutrients and fluids that help replenish your body’s resources. Black tea also protects the stomach lining from acids and pathogens, which are the usual causes of ulcers.
Possible Diabetes Treatment
As we have seen, black tea can alleviate the possibility of dehydration. Since diarrhea is a symptom of diabetes, black tea can therefore reduce the chances of getting diabetes. Scientists through numerous lab tests on rats have uncovered the truth that black tea plays a significant role in reducing sugar levels and diabetic cataracts. Lower blood sugar levels have also been observed in human beings.
If you are wondering how black tea affects blood sugar levels and cataracts, the answer is simple. Studies show that restraint of glucose absorption is normally done by polysaccharides. Antioxidants found in black tea, boost immunity and also have antihypertensive properties. Studies also show that drinking black tea restrains alpha-glucosidase, the enzyme that turns starch into glucose. Conversely, the immune system can be boosted by taking in black tea. Common colds are also known to be rather afraid of black tea.
Black tea can also be the cure for various kinds of headaches. For example, it can cure a tension headache since it minimizes stress as we have already seen. In fact, it might be more effective than your average painkillers. Unlike many caffeinated drinks, black tea can easily help you relax because of the antioxidants in it.
Interested to note, however, is that black tea contains caffeine so it may not help you if you are susceptible to caffeine headaches and drink coffee and caffeinated sodas. Black tea contains about half the amount of caffeine you would find in coffee. Although antioxidants are found in coffee, they are absent in caffeinated sodas. Before running to black tea as the cure for your headaches, ensure that you know the real causes.
Minimizes Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
You may have heard rumors that black tea reduces the chances of contracting Parkinson’s disease. They are true. Scientific research showed that 71 percent of those who consumed black tea daily in a 12-year study were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The study proved that drinking black tea is directly proportional to an increase in protection against the crippling effects of the disease. Black tea was used alongside caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties of tea and black tea “conferred protection, suggesting compounds other than caffeine were responsible.” So there you have it: if you drink black regularly, your chances of suffering a stroke are lower.
Improve Oral Health
Research presented at the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida shows that “compounds in black tea may attack the harmful bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease and cavities.
It was also confirmed that “compounds in black tea were capable of killing or suppressing growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque.”
The results were undeniable. “One experiment showed that when volunteers rinsed with black tea for 30 seconds five times at three-minute intervals, plaque bacteria stopped growing and producing acid, which breaks down the teeth and causes cavities.”
Protect Heart Health
Black tea contains anti-inflammatory qualities that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases with minimal side effects. The antioxidants contained in black tea reduce inflammation in blood vessels reducing high blood pressure. Once inflammation is done away with, these antioxidants also reduce the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. Hence, constant intake of black tea lowers the chances of heart disease and improves overall health.
By managing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, black tea likely reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. The antioxidants in black tea also minimize bad LDL cholesterol while enhancing good HDL cholesterol. They minimize overall cholesterol levels to protect heart health.
Innovative Ways to Use Black Tea
By now you may have no confusion regarding the benefits of Black tea. So, yes! Feel free to enjoy loose tea leaves or tea bags, Chinese black teas, or versions from Africa.
Other non-drinking benefits realized from black tea are:
- Kill the bacteria that causes stinky feet by soaking your feet in a foot bath with two bags of black tea.
- Relieve pain and reduce swelling on a cut or scrape by pressing a cool, damp tea bag.
- To relieve the inflammation from poison ivy, soak in a black tea bath, prepared with five tea bags.
- Place tea bags soaked in hot water and strained over your eyes to reduce irritation.
Reap the Benefits of Black Tea
Whether you are a fan of piping hot tea or opt for a black iced tea using loose-leaf tea, whether you brew black tea yourself or drink tea at home, don’t hesitate to allow its unique aromas to come in through your nostrils. Can you identify the different tea types by scent? The subtle nuances of the different regions? using citrus peels or fruits to enhance the flavor in the place of dairy or sugar which are only enemies of its real flavor.
You could even buy a black tea and explore to find out which variety you like most. Feel free to go through Our TEA Blogs to give your comments. You’ll be surprised to find new ways of enjoying this traditional drink and its benefits for many years to come.