Though green tea often gets the most press when it comes to health benefits, if you're a fan of the richer flavor and deeper color of black teas, you're still choosing one of the best beverages for your health. According to the North Dakota State University Extension Service, tea is thought to have originated in China, and exports from there began around 1,000 years ago. To reap the health benefits of black tea, look for varieties such as Earl Grey, Darjeeling and English Breakfast.
Black tea contains powerful antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of many different cancers. Casual relationships have been established between drinking black tea and lower rates of cancers of the stomach, the colon, the lungs, the ovaries and the breasts, according to MedlinePlus. Drinking tea alone won't ensure that you don't develop cancerous cells, but tea, along with appropriate cancer treatment, can aid in killing cancer cells more quickly, according to the North Dakota State University Extension Service.
Caffeinated drinks, including black tea, may reduce the risks of Parkinson's disease, particularly among smokers, according to MedlinePlus. Risk reduction is highest for men when they consume between 421 and 2,716 milligrams of caffeine per day. In women, the risk of Parkinson's seems to be reduced regardless of how much black tea is consumed daily..
I Heart Tea
Consuming black tea regularly can help lower several risk factors that contribute to heart disease, according to a study published in 2012 in "Preventive Medicine," as reported on Fox News - Health. Regular consumption of black tea can help lower triglycerides and increase the levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The Cleveland Clinic reports that the risk of heart attack and stroke is higher in individuals who have endothelial dysfunction, a condition in which the innermost layer of cells that control the dilation and constriction of blood vessels do not function properly. The flavonoids in black tea can improve endothelial function, helping reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The Fine Print
Drinking up to five cups of black tea per day is safe for most adults, according to MedlinePlus. Too much caffeine can lead to side effects, including headache, irritability, sleep disturbances and irregular heartbeat. Be particularly careful if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, an anxiety disorder or a bleeding disorder, as caffeine can make these conditions worse. Talk to your doctor about how much black tea is safe for you to drink if you have any health concerns or experience undesirable side effects. Decaffeinated black tea still has antioxidants and health benefits, however, so you can always choose a decaffeinated variety if you're sensitive to caffeine.
- North Dakota State University Extension Service: Take Time for Tea: For Health and Well-Being
- MedlinePlus: Black Tea
- Fox News - Health: The Truth About the Health Benefits of Tea
- Fox News - Health: Cup of Tea Lowers Heart Disease Risk
- Cleveland Clinic: Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention - Black Tea