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13 Health Benefits of Black Tea (Plus Potential Risks)

Black tea comes in a variety of flavors, and it has a plethora of health benefits. Black tea first originated in China around the mid 17th century, and it’s also known as “red tea.”

It is more oxidized than green, white, and other teas, making it typically more potent in flavor than its counterparts. Some types of black tea include Assam, English breakfast, Masala chai, Ceylon, Golden monkey, and more.

There is a reason tea of all kinds, especially black tea, gets consumed so much. It contains many polyphenols or micronutrients that can significantly enhance your health. Black tea can be a great option if you want to cut down on your coffee intake.

Is it time to start adding black tea to your daily routine? Drinking tea, much like most drinks and foods, depends on you as an individual. Even though there may be many health benefits, always weigh the risks and your health concerns before adding a beverage to your daily regimen.

Health Benefits of Black Tea

Check out the information below to see the many health benefits of black tea, along with the potential risks.

1. It Can Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation promotes many chronic diseases in the body. Too much can cause many downstream issues, especially when built up over time.

The good news is, black tea can help to decrease inflammation in the body, promoting more healing. The extracts of black and green tea have potent anti-inflammatory properties (1).

If tea is right for you, make sure to add in some black tea to your routine to help decrease inflammation and prevent many chronic diseases.

2. It May Enhance Heart Health

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, affecting millions of people annually. One person passes every 37 seconds from heart disease in the United States.

While the research on coffee is conflicting around heart health, black tea shows only positive effects on the heart. Many studies show that black tea has protective benefits that can prevent heart disease (2).

 

The anti-inflammatory components of black significantly benefit the heart, and it is worth looking into, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.

3. It Can Reduce Free Radicals

Black tea and many other teas are high in disease-fighting antioxidants and polyphenols. Antioxidants and polyphenols are necessary to reduce the free radical build up in the body.

Free radicals build up in the body for a variety of reasons. These can include a lack of exercise or movement, environmental toxins such as air pollution, smoking, poor diet, and more.

It is crucial to replenish the body with as many antioxidants and polyphenols as possible to keep it healthy and functioning optimally. An easy way to do that is to grab some black tea instead of your typical beverage here and there.

4. It May Have Anti-Cancer Properties

Cancer starts in the body for a variety of reasons ranging from malnutrition, genetics, UV radiation, environmental concerns, chemical exposure, lifestyle habits, and much more.

While cancer is a complex topic, there is some evidence that black tea consumption can be just one preventive measure.

Black tea has polyphenols that are powerful enough to help prevent cancer by regulating cancer cell growth, survival rates, and more (3). Always remember that cancer prevention requires many overall lifestyle changes and behaviors. Black tea can be a helpful addition to preventing some cancers.

5. It Can Boost Cognitive Health

Black tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps to create more focus and alertness in the brain. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine in black tea can have potent health benefits for the brain (4).

Drinking black tea can even help to increase working memory and memory recognition. Tea has neuroprotective qualities that can prevent common brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Don’t miss out on the brain-boosting benefits black tea can bring. Need a brain boost in your day? Try to drink some black tea instead of that third cup of coffee, and see how you feel.

6. It May Improve Cholesterol Levels

The flavonoids or antioxidants in black tea are another reason why they can improve cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol in the body does not necessarily mean a negative thing, but black tea can prevent LDL from oxidizing. That means it can prevent blood clots and improve blood vessels in the heart. It can even reduce total cholesterol levels in some (5).

LDL is low-density lipoprotein that carries cholesterol in the body. It’s the only cholesterol that travels around in the body. LDL typically only becomes dangerous for cardiovascular health when arteries are inflamed, from diabetes or toxicity, but black tea can help prevent too much LDL cholesterol in the body.

7. It Can Reduce Stress

Stress is a health factor that is always critical to consider. Millions of people suffer from stress-related conditions or chronic stress each year, and it can aggravate many conditions and diseases by causing more inflammation.

You can decrease inflammation by drinking black tea. One study shows that tea consumption of over six weeks leads to lower post-stress cortisol levels (6).

See if you can stress less by making improvements to your overall lifestyle, and maybe adding some black tea can help with stress recovery as well.

8. It May Help You Lose Weight

Polyphenols in black tea are the front-runners again. Although more research is necessary, black tea polyphenols may have the capability to air in weight loss for some.

One study performed on rats shows that it can help decrease weight in obese mice by altering bacteria in the gut microbiome (7). It is essential to have a healthy microbiome to effectively lose weight and keep it off for the long haul.

Weight loss includes a diet that works for your body, a lifestyle with plenty of movement, and that can look like drinking some black tea in your daily routine.

9. It Can Improve Gut Function

Gut health is crucial for many aspects of health, far beyond weight loss. The gut houses tens of billions of bacteria, and the right balance is essential to boost immune function, prevent disease, and much more.

Good and bad bacteria live in the digestive tract, and black tea may play a significant role in balancing and improving gut function.

It can even help to offset gut dysbiosis from obesity or high-fat diets (8). Keep the gut bacteria in your intestines healthy by adding probiotics to your diet, and you can even get a bonus with probiotic or prebiotic-rich black tea for an extra boost.

10. It May Improve Bone Health

The ability for black tea consumption to lower inflammation is another perk for optimal bone health. When the body has lower levels of inflammation, there can be a direct link to high bone density, along with the many other benefits.

When you have high bone density, there is a much lower risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis, even if you have a genetic predisposition.

One study shows that black tea extracts may even have the power to diminish the genetic expression of proteins that cause osteoporosis (9).

11. It Can Give You an Energy Boost

Are you looking to cut back on your coffee intake? Coffee can come with many health benefits, too, but some people cannot tolerate the caffeine level that coffee has for a variety of reasons.

If that is the case for you, try some black tea for a quality energy boost. It still contains caffeine, but not as much as a typical cup of coffee.

Black tea still brings a punch of caffeine for energy, although it is half the amount of coffee. See if switching up your coffee to black tea positively affects your mood, energy, or performance.

12. It May Reduce Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is another disease that affects millions of Americans. Many factors contribute to high blood pressure, including chronic dehydration, poor diet, too much salt, not enough potassium, and much more.

In combination with a healthy lifestyle, getting more antioxidants into your diet from black tea can help to reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure.

Always try to eat well, move often, and get a healthy amount of nutrients to prevent hypertension, which puts extra stress on the heart and body.

13. It Can Improve Oral Health

It turns out that bacteria in the mouth may even benefit from drinking black tea. Digestion begins in the mouth, and adding black tea is an easy way to ensure healthy teeth, gums, and more.

Black tea can help to improve oral health by minimizing plaque build-up, preventing oral cancer and gingivitis, bad breath, and more (10).

All the nutrients and antioxidants in black tea help it to work as a type of antibacterial property in the mouth. That does not replace good oral hygiene, of course, but it can be an extra help if you are suffering from poor oral health.

Are There Any Health Risks to Black Tea?

There are some health risks to drinking black tea, although they are typically rare. Everyone digests and tolerates black tea differently based on their specific needs.

Consuming black tea is generally safe, even with a few cups a day. Remember that black tea does contain a decent amount of caffeine. That is why some side effects and health risks can occur when drinking four or more cups of black tea per day.

Some common side effects or health risks of too much black tea include:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Tremors
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Frequent urination

Do you think you are drinking too much black tea? If you experience any of these symptoms and you drink four or more cups of black tea per, day considers cutting back a bit.

Always be sure to consult your doctor if your symptoms do not disappear by cutting back on your black tea consumption. These symptoms can occur for a variety of reasons in the body.

Conclusion

Black tea is generally a safe and effective tea to include in your diet. For thousands of years, people have enjoyed black tea, and many still do.

There are many types of black tea to try, along with combinations of green, white, and black teas. Try some new tea and see if it fits your lifestyle well.

Most of all, see if black tea can give you some of these potential health benefits to keep you away from the doctor and feeling great.

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, and written, fact-checked & medically reviewed by health experts.

Throughout this article, you'll find scientific references (clickable links to highly trusted peer-reviewed scientific papers, links denoted by the numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3)).