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Zero Calories & A Healthy Heart: 8 Awesome Benefits of Black Tea

by Vivian KELLY ,
Zero Calories & A Healthy Heart: 8 Awesome Benefits of Black Tea© iStock

Who doesn’t like a rich cup of tea first thing in the morning? It’s the first thing we think about when we wake up, the first thing we offer when someone's upset and the first thing we reach for when biscuits are in sight. But trust us, tea can do A LOT more for you than being an excuse to get away from your desk for five minutes...here's what the experts said.

  1. · There are plenty to pick from!
  2. · It’s heart healthy!
  3. · It improves cognitive function
  4. · It can help maintain manage your weight
  5. · It’s good for oral health
  6. · It can help prevent type 2 diabetes
  7. · It's cancer fighting!
  8. · You can enjoy it in SO many different ways

Did you know about 40% of the population’s intake of liquid today WILL be tea? Probably not that surprising if you’re a Brit, but when you find out just how impressive some of its health benefits are, we promise you, if you’re not much of a tea drinker, you will be now.

Black tea was originally made popular in the Western world in the late 17th century, although there it's better know as 'red tea'. While many Eastern countries still enjoy the benefits of green tea, western countries like ours, have a preference for black.

Here are some little known facts you need to know.

  • Black tea without milk has ZERO calories. Yeahuh, and if you use semi-skimmed it adds around 13 calories per cup. Not bad!
  • Four cups of tea with milk provides 21% of your daily calcium requirement so no need for those supplements ladies!
  • It's a great source of the minerals manganese and potassium.
  • ​​The average cup of tea contains less than HALF the level of caffeine found in a cup of coffee.
  • It's a natural source of fluoride! Only 11% of UK water supply has fluoride you know.
  • ​Green and black teas are from the same plant, Camelia sinensis. Green tea isn't as oxidised as black tea, which is what gives it a different flavour and colour.

Keen to know more about how black tea can benefit your health? We spoke to the experts at the Tea Advisory Panel and Whittards to tell us everything we need to know about our favourite all-time brew.

1. There are plenty to pick from!

All tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, which grows in sub tropical climates around the world. But it's the process of the leaf in which it is oxidised that makes it the different types, such as black, green, white or oolong.

Experts at Whittards says, “Black tea is a fully oxidised leaf. So there is one main type of black tea which is defined by the process but depending on where it's grown there are thousands of different types.

"Just like wine, the terroir gives teas different nuances of flavour. Today we see many different black teas most of which are blends and each county or tea company will have many different ones.” We think it's always worth trying out different tea companies to find out which variety you like best. Remember, they don't all taste the same.

2. It’s heart healthy!

You'll be happy to know that next time you sip on your morning cuppa you'll be doing some amazing things for your heart's health. Research has revealed that drinking 3 to 4 cups of tea per day (about 2 mugs full) could significantly cut the risk of heart attack by 11% and in some studies up to 70 percent.

A study in Finland found that men who drank more than two cups of tea a day had a 21% reduced risk of stroke, while French research has found that women who drank more than 3 cups of tea a day had a 32% lower risk of developing blocked arteries.​

3. It improves cognitive function

In need of a morning pick me up? It's not surprising that tea is our first port of call. A review of 23 published studies on the impact of caffeine on cognitive function found benefits in mood, alertness and mental performance. The research also suggested that flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) may help boost your brain power by promoting better blood flow around the brain. So go on, have another!

4. It can help maintain manage your weight

A new study which tested 111 men and women (some of who drank tea or a controlled placebo based drink) found that regular consumption of black tea CAN in fact improve body weight and body fat distribution.

Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) expert, Dr Tim Bond says, “Regular consumption of black tea over the three month study significantly inhibited weight gain by an average of 0.64kg and reduced waist circumference by 1.88 cm, and also waist-to-hip ratio.“ So if you're after model-esque curves a la Kate Upton forget the waist trainer, sip on THIS.

5. It’s good for oral health

“Black tea can help prevent the build up of plaque. Though as long as you don't add any sugar!” says experts at Whittards.

The polyphenols in black tea, have been found to inhibit growth of oral bacteria helping to prevent the build up of plaque, bad breath and eliminating infections. However, always remember to brush, black tea CAN stain teeth.

6. It can help prevent type 2 diabetes

New studies have found that black tea may help to prevent type 2 diabetes by helping to control the digestion of carbs and by inhibiting certain digestive enzymes.

TAP expert, Dr Catherine Hood says, "Diabetes is a condition of disordered glucose metabolism. The main source of glucose in the body comes from the digestion and hydrolysis of dietary carbohydrates but the inhibition of these enzymes (and hence the inhibition of glucose formation) could contribute to the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes." Which tea has proven to do so. Just stay away from the sugar!

7. It's cancer fighting!

Our main source of flavonoids in our every day lives are black tea and citrus fruits and juices. Which is why it's so important to carry on brewing! In fact the rich flavonoids in tea have even been found to reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consumed more flavonoids were significantly less likely to develop endothelial ovarian cancer - which affects over 6,500 women in the UK each year. Just a couple of cups a day and you could reduce your risk by 30 percent.

8. You can enjoy it in SO many different ways

Black tea can be enjoyed in many different ways from the traditional milk and sugar, to drinking a lovely loose leaf tea on its own or adding a nice slice of lemon for some extra detoxing.

If you can't bare tea without a bit of sweetness, we suggest adding a spoonful of agave syrup or Manuka honey as a healthier alternative.

How much do you love your brew? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!

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Vivian KELLY
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