Ever since it was first discovered in China 5,000 years ago, tea has become one of the most consumed hot beverages in the world.
It is the go-to drink when people feel under the weather or are looking for ways to warm up during cold winter months. With so many tea varieties out there, it is often difficult to choose the one that best suits your preferences and brings you the most benefits.
Black tea, in particular, has increasingly grown in popularity in recent years and its impressive health benefits are responsible for that. Mainly produced in Asia and Africa, black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant which accounts for the tea’s signature flavor profile.
If you are willing to learn more about why black tea is so popular among tea lovers, keep reading to find out about its benefits and what makes it distinct from other tea types.
Black tea reaching Europe
Black tea was the first tea type introduced in Europe with earl grey tea being its most common representative. It is different from other black tea types due to the infusion of the bergamot citrus fruit which accounts for the exotic aroma of the tea.
However, various regions of the world have created their own inspired earl grey tea and have come up with many distinctive variations. For example, the English combined the original earl grey tea with the Chinese lapsang souchong black tea to create a smoky version. The French earl grey tea is even more unique as it is blended with lavender which offers a distinctive Parisian taste.
Therefore, if you are a fan of black tea in general, you can look for the best earl grey tea and find the one which best serves your flavor needs.
Nutritional value of black tea
The nutritional value of black tea must first be mentioned in order to better understand the health benefits this tea offers.
Black tea is made by oxidizing the tea leaves which leads to the formation of certain compounds responsible for the tea’s color and taste. Besides this, such compound formation also accounts for the many possible health benefits black tea provides.
One cup of brewed black tea contains:
- 2 calories
- 0.7g carbohydrates
- 0% fat
- 2% potassium
- 1% magnesium
As far as caffeine content in black tea is concerned, there are about 50 milligrams of caffeine per cup. However, there are a few factors that can affect the caffeine levels such as the black tea variety, the way it is brewed and whether the tea leaves are whole or broken. Sometimes people add milk or spices that can also affect the caffeine content by lowering it.
Health benefits of black tea
There are many health benefits of drinking black tea, but the following are the most common ones. Here is a brief description of each.
Protects against infections
Black tea is extremely rich in antioxidants which protect the immune system against bacterial infections. More particularly, polyphenols are the main sources of antioxidants which promote overall health and reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In addition to this, the polyphenols also lower the symptoms of the Helicobacter pylori infection especially when mixed with honey.
Black tea is useful if you have an upset stomach or are experiencing irregular bowel movements. This is because the presence of tannins and other chemicals in this tea have positive effects on digestive health. The anti-inflammatory properties help kill off any harmful substances in your gut and promote the growth of good bacteria.
Prevents severe health conditions
By regularly drinking black tea you will be able to reduce the risks of many severe health conditions. For example, this tea consists of flavonoids which are antioxidants that benefit heart health and reduce the risks of high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol. The presence of polyphenols also helps in preventing the survival of cancer cells.
Due to the low presence of caffeine content and the mixture of chemicals, black tea actually works as a stress reliever and speeds up the process of recovering from stress. For example, by drinking one cup of black tea per day, stress hormones like cortisol can be lowered. Also, the amino acid L-theanine in black tea improves alertness and focus.
Black tea vs. white tea vs. green tea
The biggest difference between black, white and green tea lies in the production process the tea leaves undergo. More specifically, the oxidation process of the tea leaves in all three tea types affects the flavor, aroma and health benefits each tea provides.
Besides this, the caffeine content is also different. For example, white tea has the lowest amount of caffeine with about 20 milligrams, green tea with 30 milligrams and black tea with 50 milligrams. Because it includes the highest concentration of caffeine, black tea serves as a popular alternative to coffee. Also, the presence of various chemicals in black tea help boost energy levels and focus.
Preparing the perfect cup of black tea
When you are preparing your black tea, make sure you use loose leaf tea rather than tea bags. This is because the latter usually contains leaves produced using the Cut-Tear-Crush (CTC) method which breaks the leaves into small pieces. When produced like this, the leaves lose the strong flavors which loose leaf teas otherwise have.
As for the preparation of black tea, you can brew your tea using filtered or spring water. Make sure the temperature isn’t too high or that you don’t brew it too long. After being brewed for a couple of minutes, steep the black tea for about a few minutes. The longer you steep the stronger the flavor of black tea becomes. If you want, you can add honey, milk or lemon depending on your preference.
With so many types of black tea, finding the perfect one can be difficult. Whichever tea variety you choose, there is no denying that each offers many impressive health benefits. If you are a true tea enthusiast, black tea should immediately become part of your favorite teas list. It is certainly the go-to hot beverage you can opt for in the morning or when you are trying to warm up during colder days. So, don’t wait any longer and try a cup of black tea which you will instantly fall in love with.