When most people think of the connection between tea and health benefits, their minds usually go green. We have heard so much talk and information about green tea’s health benefits that it’s only natural to think of it first. The richer, fuller flavored black variety is left on the sidelines as everyone sounds off about all things green. And while green tea does have some amazing health properties, one shouldn’t dismiss its’ black cousin so quickly. So, what are the health benefits of black tea?
As mentioned above, when the talk comes around to health, green tea gets all the attention. There has been much more research done on green tea, but you have to keep in mind that both black and green tea originate from the same plant, which means their health giving properties are very similar. It is true that green tea goes through less processing than black, which means it has a higher antioxidant level, but both have basically the same benefit in terms of health.
There is an antioxidant compound in black tea called TF-2 that has been shown to help with a wide array of health concerns including helping in cancer prevention and inflammation in the body. A ten year study in the Netherlands showed that men who drank three cups per day actually decreased their chance of dying from heart disease by a whopping 50%
So, sipping that bold black tea can yield a lot more benefit than you thought. It’s a lot more than just flavor. Just remember, that as with most teas, you will derive the greatest benefit in all areas by drinking it in loose leaf form rather than bags. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good bagged teas out there, but for antioxidant level and definitely flavor, loose leaf is the way to go.
And don’t forget that when you are looking for black tea, it falls under some of the most recognizable names in the world of tea….Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey and English Breakfast are all black teas most of us have tried at one time or another.
Taking off from Japan at least once a year, I am used to hearing Japanese flight attendants creatively trying to put Japanese into English. When an American flight attendant first asked me if I wanted green or black tea though, I was surprised. This was the first time I heard another native English speaker refer to black tea, or at least the first I remembered. Curious, I queried her as to if that was common English usage where she came from. She replied that black differentiated black from green, but that was new vocabulary to her too, something she learned as a flight attendant.
Googling, I found millions of references to black tea. Wasp tea references merely numbered in the hundreds. Never having drunk wasp tea, I wondered what it would taste like. Once in Morocco, sitting outdoors on a plaza in Fez, or perhaps Marrakech, drinking sweet tea, the wasps began to gather. Attracted by the sweet scent they climbed up the spout and into the teapot. A few wasps became ten and then twenty and then over a hundred.
I am not sure if wasp tea offers health benefits. Green and black certainly do. Traveling or living in Japan, one often hears of the many health benefits green tea offers. Green reduces cancer risk by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Green tea also lowers your total cholesterol levels and improves your ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. The list goes on to cover health benefits for rheumatoid arthritis, infections, and more. While green tea may not have all the powers we hear about, it does offer much.
We may think that black tea does not offer as many benefits as green, but black and green are from the same plant. They basically offer the same benefits. As green tea is less processed than black, black offers fewer antioxidants than green, but the difference is not as significant as one might imagine.
Milton Schiffenbauer of Pace University states that both green and black can fight viruses in your mouth like herpes. According to Schiffenbauer, tea also helps to skinos prevent diarrhea, pneumonia, cystitis, and skin infections. Rutgers University research has demonstrated the potential of black tea for preventing stomach, prostate, and breast cancer. Black tea contains a compound called TF-2 that may slow down cancer growth. TF-2 can kill cancer sells while leaving healthy cells untouched.
Dr. Joseph Vita of the Boston University School of Medicine has shown how black tea also fights potential heart attacks and strokes by saving our arteries. His tests compared heart patients who drank plain water with others who drank black tea. After only one month, the tea-drinking patients had improved their impaired blood vessel functioning by 50%. Additional health benefits from black tea are preventing tooth decay, lowering cholesterol, and soothing arthritis. Black tea may help us to burn fat too.
The many benefits of green and black go on. For cultural reasons black tea may not have as many vocal admirers as green tea. Scientists who conduct research and black tea drinkers may just not feel as strongly as green tea researchers and drinkers. For many Japanese, green tea is more than a drink. Green tea is part of their national heritage and a source of pride. Publicizing green tea health benefits may seem like a mission to many Japanese whereas publicizing the health benefits of black tea speaks only to health for most Americans. Most of us do not identify with black tea the way Japanese do with green tea. Black tea is just a terrific drink, not a way of life. Coffee is probably more a way of life to Americans.
Either way, research is still in its infancy and more research is necessary on both animals and humans to further investigate and understand the health benefits of tea.( I am happy to hear that black tea is as healthy as green tea. I like both, but tea bags are just so easy. While you can buy green tea tea bags, making green tea from tea bags is not the way for me to drink green tea. It just seems so…