Black Tea

Numerous studies have trumpeted the cardiovascular benefits of green tea, the beverage of choice in much of the Far East. But elsewhere in the world, particularly in Europe and the Middle East, black tea reigns supreme, and fewer studies have examined its heart-healthy properties.

In terms of its rich antioxidant properties, black tea comes next to green tea. The most commonly used and the most popular tea in the West, black tea is originally green tea with the leaves further dried – this changes its color and taste. Black Tea undergoes full oxidation and fermentation. The leaves thus turn black and receive their strong, typical flavor. The oxidation process is stopped once the aroma and flavor develops completely. The leaves are further crushed to various sizes, sorted out and stored according to their sizes.

Black tea is the foundation upon which the popular varieties of English tea are derived from. And many might be delighted to find out that black tea, aside from being an enjoyable drink, can actually be good for the health.

The following are the most popular black tea varieties. Most of them have been named for the region or place they were cultivated in:

    – Ancient Forest Tea
    – Assam Tea
    – Ceylon Tea
    – Darjeeling Tea
    – Earl Grey Tea
    – English Breakfast Tea
    – Golden Monkey Tea
    – Irish Breakfast Tea
    – Keemun Tea
    – Lapsang Souchong Tea
    – Nepal Tea
    – Orange Spice Tea
    – Yunnan Tea

Recent studies in leading medical journals declare black tea a potential heart tonic, cancer blocker, fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother, virus fighter and cholesterol detoxifier. Not bad for a lowly shrub soaked in a little hot water.

John Weisburger, a researcher at the American Health Foundation said that, “Tea is beating all scientific expectations as the most potent health beverage ever,” and “The many ways tea can promote health is truly astonishing.”

Here’s how black tea can potentially benefit your health:

  • Black tea saves arteries. Drinking black tea helps prevent deadly clogging of arteries and reverses poor arterial functioning that can trigger heart attacks and strokes. In arecent test, Joseph Vita, M.D., of the Boston University School of Medicine, had heart patients drink either plain water or four cups of black tea daily. In a month, impaired blood vessel functioning (a risk factor for heart attack and strokes) improved about 50% in the black tea drinkers.
  • Black tea inhibits cancer growth. Tea has long been tied to a lower risk of stomach, colon and breast cancer, although the connection is not proven. Now lab studies find that black tea chemicals actually may stop cancer growth. Rutgers University researchers showed that a compound in black tea called TF-2 caused colorectal cancer cells to “commit suicide”; normal cells were unaffected.
  • Black tea tames inflammation. TF-2, the newly discovered anti-cancer compound in black tea, suppresses the Cox-2 gene that triggers inflammation, says research at Rutgers.
  • Black tea wipes out viruses. Previous tests prove black tea can neutralize germs, including some that cause diarrhea, pneumonia, cystitis and skin infections. New research by Milton Schiffenbauer of Pace University finds that black and green tea deactivates viruses, including herpes. When you drink tea, he says, chances are good you will wipe out viruses in your mouth.
  • For the best benefit … Drink both black and green tea, the regular kind sold in bags or leaves in grocery stores. Their antioxidants are equal.

Some facts about Black Tea, did you know that:

  • Antioxidants in black tea help fight the damages wrought by free radicals which are viewed as the source of many of today’s debilitating diseases. Did you know that aside from the catechins that are so abundant in tea, there are a lot of other types of antioxidants? Discover them all here.
  • Black tea is abundant in the antioxidant compound known as quercetin. Quercetin is a plant-based chemical, or phytochemical, known as a flavonoid. Its proponents say that quercetin helps in protecting against heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Read more about quercetin here.
  • Aside from black tea, the flavonoid quercetin can also be found in such fruits as apples, vegetables such as onions, and drinks such as red wine.
  • Black tea has a high magnesium content. Magnesium is a water-insoluble mineral that aids in helps in forming healthy bones and teeth. It also may help reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Go here for more info on magnesium.
  • Black tea contains a good amount of caffeine, though not as much as coffee. A cup of black tea is said to yield only about a half or a third of caffeine as a similar cup of black coffee. While caffeine is believed to help sharpen and improve brain performance, it is also known to contribute to palpitations and insomnia when taken in large amounts.
  • Black tea has a considerable content of Vitamin B1 or thiamine. Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin that enables the body to use its carbohydrate intake for energy-use. It also helps enhance blood circulation. Discover the benefits of thiamine here.