Here are 10 health benefits of black tea, all supported by science.
- Has antioxidant properties
Antioxidants are known to provide a host of health benefits. Consuming them can help remove free radicals and decrease cell damage in the body. This ultimately may help decrease the risk of chronic disease.
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.
In one study in rats, the aflavins and the arubigins were examined in relation to diabetes, obesity, and elevated cholesterol. Studies have shown that the flavins and the arubigins reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Researchers examined the effect of catechins from oolong tea on body weight in an older study. In the study, the participants consumed 690 mg of catechins from tea daily for 12 weeks and their body fat decreased.
- May boost heart health
Black tea contains another group of antioxidants called flavonoids, which benefit heart health.
Flavonoids are also 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, 8).
One large review of studies found that for every cup of tea consumed daily, there was a 4% lower risk of death from heart disease, 2% lower risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events, a 4% lower risk of stroke, and a 1.5% lower risk of death from all causes.
Black tea contains flavonoids, which are beneficial for heart health. Studies have found that regularly drinking black tea may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Lowers “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 removed from the bloodstream.
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 review of well-designed studies found that drinking black tea significantly reduced LDL cholesterol by 4.64 mg/dL. This effect was more pronounced in people with higher cardiovascular risk.
LDL and HDL are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol throughout the body. Too much LDL in the body can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have found that black tea may help reduce LDL levels, but results are mixed.
- May improve gut health
There is evidence that the type of bacteria in your gut plays an important role in your health. While some bacteria in your gut are 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.
The polyphenols found in black tea may help maintain a healthy gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria.
In addition to killing off harmful substances, black tea may possess antimicrobial properties, improving gut bacteria and immunity by helping to repair the lining of the digestive tract. The gut houses trillions of bacteria and the majority of your immune system. Polyphenols and antimicrobial properties found in black tea may help improve gut health and immunity.
- May help reduce blood pressure
High blood pressure 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).
One review of well-designed studies looked at the effects of drinking tea on blood pressure in people with hypertension, or high blood pressure.
The review found that regular tea intake helped lower systolic blood pressure by 4.81 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.98 mm Hg in people with hypertension. Further, those who drank tea regularly for longer than three months experienced even greater decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Another review of studies looking at the effects of black tea on blood pressure found that drinking black tea significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to control . The effects were more pronounced for men and people who drank black tea for longer than seven days.
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.
High blood pressure can cause many health complications. Drinking black tea on a regular basis may help decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- May help reduce the risk of stroke
A stroke can occur when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked or ruptures. It’s the second leading cause of death worldwide.
Fortunately, 80% of strokes are preventable. For example, managing your diet, physical activity, blood pressure, and not smoking can help reduce the risk of stroke.
The study found that if you are genetically predisposed to drinking more tea per day, you also have a lower risk of stroke .
Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally. Fortunately, in many cases, it can be prevented. Studies have found that black tea may help reduce the risk of stroke.
- May lower blood sugar levels
Elevated blood sugar levels may increase your risk of health complications, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and depression (24, 25).
Consuming large amounts of sugar, particularly from sweetened beverages, has been shown to increase blood sugar values and the risk of type 2 diabetes (26).
When you consume sugar, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin allows the sugar to enter cells, including muscle and liver cells, to be stored as energy, or glycogen. When the body need to use energy, a different hormone, glucagon, is released to help the body break down glycogen to release energy. If you consume more sugar than your body has space to store a glycogen, then the excess sugar gets stored as fat.
Research suggests drinking black tea may help lower your blood sugar following a meal or snack, also known as postprandial glucose.
One small, well-designed study looked at the effect of drinking black tea on blood sugar levels following consumption of a high-sugar beverage.
If you are buying black tea, especially pre-made tea, it’s important to check the packaging label. Some brands of pre-made black tea are sweetened with added sugars like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. You can look for pre-made tea that is labeled as non-sweetened.
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted when you consume sugar. Black tea is a great non-sweetened beverage that may help improve the use of insulin and reduce blood sugar.
- May help reduce the risk of cancer
Over 100 different types of cancer exist, and some are not preventable.
Nevertheless, the polyphenols found in black tea may help slow the development of certain types of cancer and promote cancer cell death.
The study found that those drinking the highest amounts of green tea had a 22% reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Further, every increase in one cup of green tea per day was associated with an 11% reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer.
However, no significant association was found between consumption of black tea and endometrial cancer risk.
Black tea contains polyphenols, which may help fight cancer cells in the body. Although consuming black tea will not cure cancer, it may help decrease cancer cell development and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.
- 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.
Tea can help improve focus due to its content of caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine. This amino acid increases alpha activity in the brain, which can help improve focus and alertness.
- Easy to make
Not only is black tea good for you, it’s also simple to make.
To make black tea, first boil water. If using store-bought tea bags, simply add a tea bag to a mug and fill it with the hot water. If using loose-leaf tea, use 2–3 grams of tea leaves for every six ounces of water in a strainer.
Let the tea steep in the water for 3–5 minutes, depending on your taste preference. For a stronger tea, use more tea leaves and steep for a longer period of time.
After steeping, remove the tea leaves or tea bag from the water and enjoy.
Making black tea is simple and takes only a couple of minutes. You can use either tea bags or loose leaves and adjust the taste to your preference.