Over the years black tea has been neglected as green tea gets all of the press and attention, however black tea has many excellent health benefits and should be seriously considered as an addition to your daily drink regimen.
Black tea, known to the Chinese as red tea, is the most common product of the tea bush Camellia sinensis, produced by encouraging freshly picked tea leaves to darken with large amount of cellular oxidation. It is the same plant as green and oolong tea, but is left to oxidize longer than either of these and so has a different, generally stronger flavor and different health benefits. Black tea stores better than other types of tea and can keep its flavor for several years. Whole leaf black tea is considered the best quality, whereas broken leaves are often used in tea bags. Black tea is often mixed with other ingredients such as bergamot (orange) oil to create Earl Grey tea, or cinnamon and other spices to create chai tea. In many cultures, black tea is taken with milk, lemon and/or sugar or sweetener as well.
Black tea contains caffeine. It has very few to no calories or nutrients, although it does contain antioxidants. Black tea should be steeped in just boiled water. While the tea in tea bags usually has a high surface area and should only be steeped for a couple of minutes, whole leaf tea can be steeped for 5 minutes without turning bitter. Many cultures have significant rituals surrounding the brewing and serving of tea.
Black tea has many health benefits, most of them stemming from the polyphenols it contains, which are a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants are protective chemicals which prevent free radicals from damaging the body. Black tea has been shown to reduce some symptoms of heart disease and may even help to keep blood cholesterol levels from rising.
Black tea also helps to boost the immune system, as well as lower the chances of dementia in later life. Drinking black tea may give a short mental boost by increasing alpha brain-wave activity, as well as lowering the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol are linked to the eventual development of osteoporosis. Black tea can also help to reduce bad breath and tooth decay.
Research has shown a long-term study by the Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and the Environment found a correlation between regular consumption of black tea and reduced risk of stroke. Researchers looked at data from a study examining the health benefits of foods that are high in flavonoids – phytonutrients with antioxidant benefits. While some of the flavonoids were obtained from fruits and vegetables, seventy percent came from black tea. The study looked at 552 men over a 15 year period. Researchers concluded that the flavonoids in black tea helped reduce the production of LDL – the “bad” cholesterol that can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
Men who drank over four cups of black tea per day had a significantly lower risk of stroke than men who drank only two to three cups per day. A separate study by Dr. Joseph Vita at Boston’s School of Medicine supported these results. For four months, sixty-six men drank four cups of either black tea or a placebo daily. Dr. Vita concluded that drinking black tea can help reverse an abnormal functioning of the blood vessels that can contribute to stroke or heart attack. Furthermore, improvement in the functioning of the blood vessels was visible within two hours of drinking just one cup of black tea.
Finally, a study of over 3,000 adults in Saudi Arabia – where black tea is favored over green – found that regular consumption of the dark brew can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by fifty percent.
Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on Zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.
QUOTE: Ever since tea was first discovered, its cultivation and consumption have been encouraged because of its apparent ability to ward off disease, strengthen powers of concentration, cleanse the body, and aid digestion. Legends of its medicinal properties reached Europe and the New World from China, intriguing the Western consumer, and now, centuries later, modern research has begun to confirm many of those early beliefs. —JANE PETTIGREW
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:While references to tea in Chinese literature go back approximately 5,000 years, the origin of tea’s use as a beverage is unclear. Ancient folklore places the creation of the brew at 2737 BC, when a camellia blossom drifted into a cup of boiled drinking water belonging to Emperor Shen Nung. However, most scholars credit a reference found in Erh Ya, an ancient Chinese dictionary, dated about 350 BC.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Tea Leaves: Write your own destiny grasshopper…what are you waiting for?
ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Drink several cups of delicious Black tea daily to reduce the risk of stroke, dementia, and coronary heart disease.
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