Health benefits of black tea (2)

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 flavours, such as Earl Grey, English breakfast or chai. Black tea is stronger in flavour 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 is the second part of the benefits of black tea.

6. 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 per cent of strokes are preventable. For example, managing your diet, physical activity, blood pressure and not smoking can help reduce the risk of stroke.

Interestingly, studies have found that drinking black tea may also help reduce the risk of stroke.

One study followed 74,961 people for over 10 years. It found that those who drank four or more cups of black tea per day had a 32 per cent lower risk of stroke than those who did not drink tea.

Another study reviewed data from nine different studies including over 194,965 participants. Researchers discovered that individuals who drank more than three cups of tea (either black or green tea) per day had a 21 per cent decreased risk of stroke, compared to individuals who drank less than one cup of tea per day.

7. 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.

Consuming large amounts of sugar, particularly from sweetened beverages, has been shown to increase blood sugar values and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

When you consume sugar, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin to carry the sugar to the muscles to be used for energy. If you consume more sugar than your body needs, the excess sugar gets stored as fat.

Black tea is a great non-sweetened beverage that has been found to help enhance the use of insulin in the body.

One test-tube study looked at the insulin-enhancing properties of tea and its components. Results showed that black tea increased insulin activity more than 15-fold. Researchers concluded that several compounds in tea were shown to improve insulin levels, specifically a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate. Another study in mice compared the effects of black and green tea extract on blood sugar levels. Results found that they both lowered blood sugar and improved how the body metabolized sugar.

8. 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 prevent cancer cell survival. One test-tube study analyzed the effects of the polyphenols in tea on cancer cells. It showed that black and green tea may play a role in regulating cancer cell growth and reducing new cell development.

Another study analyzed the effects of the polyphenols in black tea on breast cancer. It showed that black tea may help overcome the spread of hormone-dependent breast tumors. Although black tea should not be considered an alternative treatment for cancer, some research has demonstrated black tea’s potential to help reduce cancer cell survival. More research in humans is needed to more clearly determine the link between black tea and cancer cells.

9. 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.

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.

This makes black tea a great beverage if you are looking to improve energy and focus without a lot of caffeine.

10. 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.

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 and can easily be found at many stores or online. If you haven’t done so before, consider trying black tea so you can reap its numerous health benefits.

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