After water, the second most-consumed beverage in the whole world is tea. Camellia sinensis is the plant from which tea is derived, and the different ways of harvesting and processing this plant determine which type of tea is produced. One of the most famous types of tea is simple black tea, consumed by 75% of tea drinkers. Maybe this is because of the beverage’s astounding health benefits!
Black Tea: How is it Made?
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All types of tea, including black tea, comes from Camellia sinensis plant. For the plant to become a black tea, you need to wilt, bruise, roll, and fully oxidize the tea leaves by leaving them exposed to air for a long time. The enzymes break down all the chemicals in the leaves, giving them the familiar brown color and scent of tea.
Green tea is made from the leaves that aren’t oxidized.
Oxidation helps give black tea certain nutritional benefits that don’t exist in green tea, including the ability to reduce the risk of cancer, protect against atherosclerosis and maintain healthy blood pressure.
Black Tea: Nutritional Value
The National Cancer Institute states that black tea contains the following nutrients:
- Impulsive organic compounds that contribute to the tea’s odor and taste
- Trace elements and minerals
- Alkaloids like theophylline, theobromine, and caffeine
- Amino acids
Additionally, black tea contains a chemical compound polyphenols, which helps protect the plant from ultraviolet radiation, disease-causing pathogens and other harm.
When humans consume polyphenols, they’ll benefit from their antioxidant properties, which help counter the activity of free radicals in the body. These free radicals may harm a person’s overall health by killing cells in the body. Free radicals also contribute to the onset of many health conditions or diseases, including cancer.
Potential Health Benefits of Black Tea
Here are some of the possible health benefits of black tea:
Helps prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the sudden accumulation of plaque in the arterial walls throughout the body. This condition may lead to some coronary heart diseases and, sometimes, chronic kidney diseases. What causes this is free radicals, but studies show that the antioxidant properties of black tea help combat the free radicals that may cause atherosclerosis.
Helps reduce blood pressure. Some studies show that tea reduces diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Furthermore, it also helps cancel the effects of high-fat meals on blood pressure.
Helps reduce the risk of cancer. Studies suggest that the polyphenols in tea help reduce possible tumor growths in the body. Furthermore, other tests show that it may help protect the body from UV damage. Black tea is also said to have an effect on cancers of the lungs, prostate and bladder.
Possible Health Risks of Black Tea
Toxic elements. The tea we brew contains several minerals that, in excess, can poison us. These include lead and aluminum, heavy metals which may cause harm. Furthermore, traces of cadmium and arsenic can be found in certain types of tea, but not in harmful amounts.
Effects of caffeine. Black tea has a 2-4% caffeine content. Those who are sensitive to caffeine may experience side effects like anxiety, insomnia, irritation or stomachaches if they consume excessive amounts of black tea.
Some other effects of caffeine include:
- Increase in blood sugar levels
- Proliferation in calcium dumping through urination
- Irregular heartbeat
May lead to anemia. Research states that there is a decrease in the bioavailability of iron in the body when tea is taken with meals. In layman’s terms, this means the body’s ability to absorb iron is reduced. However, do not take an iron supplement at the same time as your are drinking your tea.
Interaction with medications. There is a possibility that black tea interact with your supplements and medications, including:
- Ritalin and some stimulants
- Medications to cure arrhythmia, heartburn, insomnia, anxiety and ulcers
- Folic acid
The health benefits of black tea are extremely amazing, with its nutritional value boosting the overall health of the body. It is also extremely refreshing! However, it is important not to drink it in excess, as that may cause more harm than good