Health Benefits of Black Tea
Until recently, tea research has been focused more on green tea. Scientists say that green tea is loaded with the compound epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant that fights harmful free radicals in the body. Since the fermentation process used to make black tea converts EGCG into other compounds, researchers assumed that the health benefits of black tea were lesser compared to those of green tea. However, recent studies indicate otherwise.
The health benefits of black tea could be attributed to compounds contained in the drink. They’re called theaflavins and thearubigens and scientists say they can do more than contribute to the tea’s dark color and distinctive flavor. They also provide the health benefits of black tea which were originally attributed solely to green tea.
But before you start drinking black tea by the buckets, it’s important to remember research on the health benefits of black tea is still in the early stages.
“Although numerous observational studies have examined the relationships between tea consumption and the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer, there is no conclusive evidence that high intakes of tea are protective in humans,” writes Jane Higden, a research associate with the Linus Pauling Institute, in a recent article.
Research on Black Tea
One of the first studies on the health benefits of black tea was a long-term research conduced by scientists at the Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and the Environment. According to them, they have found a correlation between regular consumption of black tea and reduced risk of stroke.
In the investigation, researchers looked at data from a study examining the health benefits of foods that are high in flavonoids. This previous study on phytonutrients with antioxidant benefits became the basis of their own study on the health benefits of black tea. They knew that while some of the flavonoids are obtained from fruits and vegetables, about seventy percent actually came from black tea. And so based on this fact, they decided to look into the effects of flavonoids in black tea by examining 552 men over a 15-year period.
After the study was finished, the 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. Furthermore, men who drank over four cups of black tea per day had a significant lower risk of stroke than men who drank only two to three cups per day.
In a separate study at Boston’s School of Medicine, Dr. Joseph Vita also studied the health benefits of black tea and came up with results that corroborated the findings of Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and the Environment.
To arrive at his conclusion, Dr. Vita studied for four months sixty-six men who drank four cups of either black tea or a placebo daily. After four months, 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.
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