If you’re reading this, I assume you’re looking for an answer to the question: Is black tea really the fountain of youth?
I’ll give you a definitive, No, it’s not. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t merit in the substance. Let’s discuss.
Vascular Health Benefits
It’s a commonly held belief that taking a daily drink of tea can help improve your health. And it’s definitely true in the case of black tea. In fact, recent studies have linked drinking three to five cups of tea per day with numerous health advantages.
First, let’s discuss the most prominent vascular health benefit of black tea: Its ability to improve blood circulation. As you may know, high blood pressure is one of the nation’s largest health problems. It affects more than 130 million people worldwide and is responsible for about 40% of the heart disease and stroke cases. One cup of black tea contains compounds that can significantly lower your blood pressure.
These compounds are known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and theanine. EGCG, in particular, can reduce your blood pressure by up to 10 points, while theanine can help to relax your blood vessels and reduce the workload of your heart. When you combine the cardiovascular benefits of EGCG and theanine, you begin to see how black tea can truly be considered an excellent food source for your health.
Another important aspect of tea’s health benefits is its antioxidant activity. As you may know, free radicals are small molecules that can damage your body’s cells. Antioxidants are substances that cancel out the effects of free radicals and protect your body from the adverse effects of oxidative stress. There are numerous studies that associate tea’s antioxidant activity with its protection against cancer and heart disease. One such study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing the body’s antioxidant levels. And what type of tea do you think provides the most antioxidants? You guessed it: Black tea.
Not only does it contain the aforementioned EGCG and theanine, but it also has a high degree of polyphenols, which are compounds that have antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that the polyphenols in black tea act as radical scavengers, removing free radicals from your body and preventing them from doing any further damage.
Black tea also has anti-inflammatory activity. Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to harmful stimuli such as toxins or bacterial infection. It’s actually helpful in the fight against disease, as studies have shown that low-grade inflammation is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, when your body becomes over-reactive and begins attacking your tissues, you start suffering from inflammation-related diseases such as arthritis and heart disease. While the reason for this is not completely understood, it’s believed that antioxidants and polyphenols in black tea act as potent anti-inflammatory agents.
If you want to maintain good health, it’s important to keep your body’s inflammatory response in check. Luckily, black tea can help with this as well. Experts hypothesize that the anti-inflammatory properties of tea may be due to its interaction with the body’s cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB2 receptors. These are the same receptors that marijuana binds to, as you may know. In fact, some studies suggest that cannabinoid receptors in the brain and spinal cord may be mediating the therapeutic effects of marijuana in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
So, as you can see, black tea has a lot going for it when it comes to vascular health. It contains compounds that can lower your blood pressure and prevent hypertension. It also has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can protect your body from the adverse effects of aging and exposure to toxins. So, if you’re looking for a healthy beverage option, black tea is the way to go.
Of course, the list of vascular health benefits of black tea is not complete without mentioning its antimicrobial activity. As you may know, bacteria and viruses can cause disease. Antimicrobial agents are substances that can help prevent and treat bacterial and viral infections. When it comes to preventing such infections, antimicrobial activity is one of the most desired properties of any substance.
In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) lists antimicrobial activity among the criteria used to determine whether or not a compound or agent is a potential antibiotic. To this point, black tea has been shown in studies to have antimicrobial activity against numerous bacteria and viruses, including E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). So, if you’re looking for a natural and organic option that can protect your health, look no further.
Finally, let’s not forget about cancer! Studies have shown that tea can help reduce your risk for various forms of cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer. It does this by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells and inducing apoptosis (cell death).
A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Biology examined the effect of EGCG on the growth of human leukemia cells in vitro (in artificial media). The researchers concluded that EGCG treatment caused tumor cell death by induction of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis, which involves the death-inducing proteins caspase-9 and caspase-3. So, this is good news for anyone with or at risk of cancer!
Other research into the effect of tea on cancer cells has yielded similar results. In another study published in the International Journal of Cancer, green tea was shown to significantly reduce the viability of human oral cancer cells and inhibit their growth in a dose-dependent manner. The study authors concluded that green tea could potentially be used to treat head and neck cancer. Still more evidence supports tea’s ability to reduce the risk of liver cancer. One such study showed that drinking green tea can inhibit the growth of cancerous hepatocytes (liver cells) by enhancing the expression of tumor suppressor genes and causing apoptosis. This is important because the earlier you begin treatment, the better your chances for a successful outcome. So, if you’re looking for an option that can prevent or treat cancer, green tea is your best bet.
As you can see, black tea has numerous health advantages. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of numerous diseases, and even fight cancer. So, if you’re looking for a healthy beverage option, black tea is the way to go.