After water, tea is the second most consumed drink in the world. Whether it's black, green or oolong tea, the plant from which it is obtained is always the same, Camellia sinensis, whose leaves are processed differently according to the variety of tea to be obtained. Today we are talking about black tea, obtained by fermenting the leaves of the tea plant. This tea is characterized by a more intense aroma and higher caffeine content than other tea varieties, making it a perfect drink to start the day. But black tea is also a valuable source of antioxidants that give it important health properties. In short, a sip of black tea is also a sip of health benefits that we are now going to deepen. Here are the properties of black tea, all supported by scientific studies.
Black tea against flu
Black tea is rich in antioxidant and antiviral substances. Studies have shown that black tea extracts, especially the Assam and Ceylon variety from Sri Lanka, are able to counteract the influenza A virus by binding directly to the viral membrane. Darjeeling black tea, on the other hand, showed the weakest antiviral action (Iijima et al, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem, 2022).
Black tea reduces inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a condition that can be caused by stress, unbalanced diet, cigarette smoking, alcohol, pollution, sleep disturbances and diseases, such as viral infections. Chronic inflammation acts silently and, over the years, can explode, increasing the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, obesity, depression, weak immune system, neurodegeneration and cellular degeneration. Black tea can be considered one of the allies available to us to reduce circulating pro-inflammatory substances. As scientific studies have shown, the antioxidants in black tea, such as quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate, reduce prostaglandins PGE2, which are substances that play a key role in the inflammatory process (Hedbrant et al, Molecules, 2022).
Black tea against diabetes and obesity
Regular consumption of black tea is associated with a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes. This beneficial effect is due to the high content of flavonoids such as theaflavins and thearubigins (Beresniak et al, BMJ Open, 2012). Drinking black tea also helps to keep body weight in check and contributes to a more favorable redistribution of body fat. In particular, it has been observed that drinking black tea regularly helps reduce waist circumference and the accumulation of visceral fat, which is the most harmful (Bohn et al, Food Funct, 2014).
Black tea for heart health
Regular consumption of black tea is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular risk thanks to the precious action of the polyphenols contained in this drink. In particular, drinking black tea regularly has been shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure within six months (Hodgson et al, Food Funct, 2013). It is hypothesized that a part of the polyphenols contained in black tea arrives intact in the colon where it can support the functionality and good health of the intestinal microbiota, favoring the production of anti-inflammatory substances, also useful for controlling blood pressure (Duynhoven et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2013). Not only that, the polyphenols in black tea also protect the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels and the heart and help to reverse any endothelial dysfunction in the case of coronary heart disease (Widlansky et al, Free Radic Biol med, 2005). Also very interesting is a study from a few years ago in which the action of three cups of black tea a day, for three months, on cardiovascular risk parameters was evaluated. Well, black tea led to a reduction in fasting blood sugar, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol and increased levels of circulating antioxidants (Bahorun et al, Prev Med, 2012).
Black tea and its antioxidant and anticancer properties
Black tea leaves are a valuable source of antioxidant substances that counteract free radical damage and cellular degeneration (Singh et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2017). In particular, a clear association was observed between the consumption of black tea and a reduction in the risk of oral cancer (Zhou et al, Medicine, 2018).
Black tea, preparation and warnings
Black tea is prepared in the following way. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add either a black tea bag or a teaspoon of dried leaves. Let it brew for five minutes, then filter and drink. The recommendation is, as always, not to overdo it. In fact, black tea, as we have seen, is beneficial but, since it contains caffeine, it is important not to exceed its intake, as it can cause an excessively stimulating action, which can also lead to anxiety and nervousness.