Today we will explore the health benefits of drinking black tea. Most of us are familiar with the black tea bags you can purchase in stores for drinking hot or as iced tea. Yet there is so much more to explore and enjoy. Tea is consumed by most cultures of the world and tea can be done ritually or not. It is taken as an elixir or as a tasty beverage.
First, let me begin with this information taken from Wikipedia:
What is black tea? Black tea is more oxidized than Oolong, Green and White teas and has a stronger flavor than its counterparts. Green tea can lose its flavor in a year where as black tea will hold the flavor for several years.
All four types are made from leaves of the shrub (or small tree) Camellia sinensis. Tea comes from two varieties – the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis subsp. sinensis), used for most other types of teas, and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis subsp. assamica), which was traditionally mainly used for black tea, although in recent years some green and white have been produced.
Some of the most familiar black teas are Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling and Kenyan.
Popular blends of black tea are:
Earl Grey Tea which is black tea blended with Bergamot
English Breakfast Tea which is full bodied and robust and made to be blended with milk and sugar.
English Afternoon Tea is medium bodied, bright and refreshing and is blended with Assam, Kenyan and Ceylon teas.
Irish Breakfast Tea is a blend of several black teas: most often Assam teas and, less often, other types of black tea.
Masala Chai combines black tea, spices, milk, and a sweetener such as sugar or honey; a traditional beverage from India which has been adapted in the West with changes to the method of preparation.
For added health benefits, many of these teas can be blended with additional herbs and flowers.
Health Diaries shares the following benefits of drinking black tea:
Black tea is abundant in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, demonstrated to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, preventing damage in both the bloodstream and at artery walls, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Additionally, it has been shown that black tea flavonoids are able to both improve coronary vasodilation and reduce clots. Polypehnols found in black tea are also very strong antioxidants, and the manganese in black tea may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by helping cardiac muscle function.
Bone and Connective Tissue
Studies indicate that the bones of regular tea drinkers are stronger than those of non-tea drinkers, even when other variables were adjusted for. Scientists theorize it may be an effect of the powerful tea’s phytochemicals.
Digestive Tract Health
The tannins in tea have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and make it a great digestive aid, used in China as such for thousands of years. These tannins decrease intestinal activity and exercise an antidiarrheal effect. The polyphenols in green tea have been demonstrated to have an effect on intestinal inflammation suffered by people afflicted with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
In moderation caffeine can be a benefit – in black tea it stimulates the metabolism, increases brain function and aids alertness. The caffeine in tea acts as more of a subtle stimulant, taking more than a few minutes to take effect, rather than hitting your system as quickly as coffee or cola. This effect is assisted by another compound found only in tea, theophylline. While caffeine chiefly targets the brain and muscles, theophylline stimulates the respiratory system, heart and kidneys. This helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Tea is full of substances called “tannins,” which studies have shown have the ability to fight viruses such as influenza, dysentery and hepatitis. One such tannin named “catechin” helps suppress tumors. Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens, which help boost immune response.
This is just a small handful of benefits to be enjoyed while drinking your tea. You can enjoy your tea with a “spot” of milk, cream, lemon, sugar, honey or stevia. Enjoy a cup anyway you want and as often as you want. Do you know you can also add black tea to recipes? Try Earl Grey cookies!
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