Some people don’t need to drink black tea or espresso to wake up with a jolt, energetic and ready for the day out of the gate with no need for extra pep in their step. For the rest of us, thank goodness there’s no shortage of caffeinated beverages to help us shake off the sleep in the morning. While coffee is the most common early morning beverage for millions of Americans, black tea is also a popular way to start your day, according to the Tea Association of the USA.
There are some advantages of black tea over coffee, depending on your personal needs: It generally has less caffeine, and it provides a more gentle onset of energy, according to Healthline. That’s super helpful for caffeine-sensitive folks especially, who might find themselves jittery and anxious when they have coffee.
So what are the other health benefits of brewing a cup of black tea every morning? And are there any potentially negative impacts that drinking black tea every day can have on your health? Read on to find out!
If you drink black tea every day, you can fight bad breath
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, chances are you’re fairly used to having coffee breath, and perhaps you have taken to carrying some mints with you to alleviate it. But if you regularly drink black tea, you’ve probably noticed that it makes your breath more pleasant — bonus! Well, actually it’s just science, according to Dr. Mike Golpa, a dental CEO. “Black tea helps fight bad breath,” he told The List. “The polyphenols present in black tea kill the bacteria most commonly at fault for bad breath.” Bear in mind if you add dairy products to your cup, that might change the equation just a little.
Golpa is absolutely correct in his assessment, as researchers from the University of Illinois came to the exact same conclusion back in 2003, according to an article in ABC Science. After incubating three species of bacteria with the polyphenols found in tea, they found that they slowed the growth of that bacteria by 30 percent. Not bad!
If you drink black tea daily, you might lose weight
One of the main reasons people reach for black tea in the morning is for its stimulant effect; it helps folks wake up and get moving because of the caffeine in it. But that’s not all the caffeine in black tea does though, according to Hillary Cecere, a registered dietitian. “You may experience more energy and even a reduced appetite from the caffeine content found in black tea,” she told The List. “Caffeine acts as a short term stimulate which can provide positive effects on energy level, mood and alertness.”
Additionally, drinking a few cups of black tea on a daily basis might just help you shed any unwanted pounds, which is a nice side benefit. “It has also been shown to temporarily reduce appetite which can be beneficial to weight loss efforts,” Cecere continued. Of course, if you drink black tea and have a couple of doughnuts with that every morning, you might find yourself dealing with a different outcome. Donuts are definitely one of many breakfast foods you should avoid at all costs.
You could prevent oral infection if you drink black tea every day
There’s absolutely nothing pleasant about getting a sore throat. On top of the constant pain and inability to swallow without wincing, it can knock you out of your daily flow and usher you into your doctor’s office. So if you’re prone to sore throats, or just plain don’t ever want to deal with them, a daily cup or two of black tea can help ward them off, as noted by dental CEO Dr. Mike Golpa. “Black tea fights oral infections,” he explained to The List. “The same polyphenols that fight bad breath fight off the bacteria that can cause strep throat.”
If you’ve found yourself already laid out with a bad case of strep, you can help soothe it if you drink black tea, according to Diane McKay, an antioxidants researcher at Tufts University. “For colds and sore throat, a warm cup of any kind of tea will likely help soothe a sore throat immediately,” she revealed in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Teas made from Camellia sinensis, i.e., black, green and oolong, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate symptoms.”
If you have diabetes, choosing to drink black tea every day may help you control it
Cookies. Candy. Cakes. Soda. What do all of these things have in common besides being foods healthy people never eat? Why sugar, of course, which is the cane-derived sweetener that makes these foods taste so good. But unfortunately, consuming too much sugar — especially sugar-sweetened beverages — can lead to weight gain, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. And some people may even get used to eating these sweet treats, so it’d be smart to keep in mind the ways you can tell you’re addicted to sugar.
But there’s good news for people who drink black tea everyday and have diabetes, as consuming it has been shown to help control the condition. And in the future, derivatives might help the fight even more, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science. “Many efforts have been made to search for effective glucose inhibitors from natural materials,” said lead researcher Haixia Chen. “There is a potential for exploitation of black tea polysaccharide in managing diabetes.” So there could be some good news on the horizon!
You'll have fewer cavities if you drink black tea every day
As much as we rely on modern dentistry to maintain our oral health and have a beautiful smile — as well as to reduce and prevent pain — going to the dentist can be an unpleasant experience for many. Fortunately, your daily black tea habit may be keeping you out of the chair more than you know, as noted by Dr. Mike Golpa, a dental CEO. “Black tea fights cavities,” he shared with The List. “Tea is a natural source of fluoride. Combine that with the tannic acids in tea that help naturally strengthen tooth enamel and you have a natural defense against cavities.”
That’s not to say that you should in any way rely solely on drinking tea to keep your mouth healthy, or substitute it for flossing. Drinking black tea is simply an added perk on top of your daily regimen, which should include brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, avoiding sugars, and having regular checkups, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Your heart will be happy if you drink black tea every day
Did you know that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease? According to the CDC, 647,457 Americans passed away as a result of it in 2017, which is more than deaths from cancer, accidents, or lung disease, among others. That’s a pretty serious statistic, one that can make you concerned about your personal heart health.
Fortunately for those who drink black tea every day, your heart may be happier for it, as noted by Hillary Cecere, a registered dietitian. “You may have a healthier heart,” she revealed to The List. “Black tea is a good source of group of plant chemicals called flavonoids. Research suggests that flavonoids may help reduce inflammation, may lower harmful LDL cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
That’s not all either, as regular consumption of black tea has been shown to slightly decrease blood pressure, according to a study in PLOS One.
Drink black tea every day and improve your focus
You might have heard that the human attention span has decreased to eight seconds, one second shorter than even a goldfish. But as it turns out, not only is that statistic dodgy at best, but also goldfish have much more complex memories, according to Professor Felicity Huntingford. “They’ve become a model system for studying the process of learning and the process of memory formation, exactly because they have a memory and because they learn,” she revealed in an interview with the BBC.
All fish and dubious statistics aside, it can be difficult to focus in an ever-connected world for some of us. Fortunately, if you drink black tea every day, you can help with that, as noted by Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Theanine is an amino acid that is virtually unique to tea (apart from the fungus Bay bolete),” she shared in an interview with Reader’s Digest. “It may also improve attention by relaxing the brain, but stimulating it when it is time to focus.”
Drinking black tea every day can help your digestion
Are you plagued with digestive issues such as IBS or unwanted gas? Turns out that sipping on black tea every day might help you get some of those issues under control naturally, as noted by Hillary Cecere, a registered dietitian. “You may have less digestive issues,” she explained to The List. “The tannins found in black tea may soothe the intestinal tract which can reduce stomach upset and diarrhea.”
Additionally, if you drink black tea every day, you could help maintain a healthy bacterial balance, according to a study in Food Reviews International. Specifically, the dietary polyphenols in black tea promote the growth of good bacteria, and inhibits the proliferation of bad bacteria like Salmonella and H. pylori — and that’s good for your overall gut health. But if you add dairy milk to your tea, you may have an adverse reaction, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. If that’s the case, consider using a non-dairy creamer like soy milk.
If you drink black tea every day, it may be good for your brain
Do you have a history of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease in your family, and want to stave it off as much as possible? If you drink black tea every day, you just might help with that, as noted by Feng Lei, a professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. “Our results offer the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure, and suggest that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organization,” he summarized in an interview with Science Daily.
This is in addition to other benefits that Lei and his team have previously found, too. “We have shown in our previous studies that tea drinkers had better cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers,” he continued. “Our current results relating to brain network indirectly support our previous findings by showing that the positive effects of regular tea drinking are the result of improved brain organization brought about by preventing disruption to interregional connections.” In other words, black tea is simply good for your brain.
If you drink black tea every day, you may reduce your risk of cancer
Thanks to improvements in cancer treatment and detection, the number of cancer survivors living in the United States increases every year, according to the American Cancer Society. Preventative efforts remain super important as well, as well as regular checkups to facilitate early detection, whether you’ve had cancer or not.
As it turns out, you can add your decision to drink black tea every day to your list of preventative measures, according to Hillary Cecere, a registered dietitian. “You might reduce the risk of certain cancers,” she told The List. “The polyphenols found in black tea have antioxidant properties that help prevent the formation of certain types of cancer cells.”
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on drinking black tea alone to protect you from the disease, or consider it a form of medication. But indeed some research has shown that black tea has great potential to help fight against cancer cells, according to Healthline. And that’s good news.
Your risk of stroke may drop if you drink black tea every day
While heart disease may be the no. 1 cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, stroke is the no. 2 cause — even though up to 80 percent of them are preventable, according to the CDC. So if you eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, keep your blood pressure low, and avoid smoking, you have a good chance of reducing your risk of stroke.
That’s not the only thing you can do to reduce your risk of stroke, either. According to a study in the Annals of Epidemiology, if you drink four or more cups of black tea every day, your risk of stroke decreases by 32 percent, which is a significant statistic! On top of that, the study was huge — it followed 74,961 people for over ten years — so it wasn’t just some one-off coincidence. So why not drink black tea every day?
If you drink black tea every day, your antioxidant levels will rise
Antioxidants are an important part of your diet, providing you with a wide variety of health benefits, according to Healthline. Specifically, antioxidants can help with the removal of cells damaged by disease, as well as free radicals, the latter of which try and steal electrons from other cells (via Live Science). Fortunately, antioxidants have electrons to spare, which is why they’re so helpful in maintaining our overall health.
When it comes to foods rich in antioxidants, you can put black tea pretty high up on the list. It’s rich in polyphenols, including theaflavins, thearubigins, and catechins, all of which are needed by your body to keep it running smoothly. They also help reduce LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels, another benefit you can reap your choice to drink black tea every day.
Finally, while there are antioxidant supplements on the market, it’s best to get them from natural foods like black tea, especially since some of those supplements have been shown to be harmful for your health.
For some, there are risks if they drink black tea every day
For all of the helpful health benefits that choosing to drink black tea every day can provide, there are some risks associated with consuming the beverage, according to an article in Reader’s Digest. For one, catechins in black tea may impede your body’s ability to absorb iron from foods, as noted by Dr. Anthony Kouri, an orthopedic surgeon. “Though most healthy people will not be affected by this, those who have iron deficiency or anemia should abstain from large amounts of [catechin-rich] green tea,” he explained.
Additionally, drinking a lot of black tea every day might raise your risk of bleeding, as noted by plastic surgeon Michelle Lee, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon. “It makes you more prone to bruising,” she revealed. “I require all my patients to stop drinking tea two to three weeks before surgery.”
Finally, tea might have adverse reactions with some blood pressure and heart medications, so check with your doctor if it’s safe for you to drink.
How much black tea should you drink every day?
You also need to be careful about just how much black tea you’re drinking every day, as in extreme cases it can cause kidney failure. That was the case for a 56-year-old man in Arkansas, who had to go on dialysis because he drank nearly a gallon of iced tea every day, as noted by Dr. Scott Youngquist, an emergency physician at the University of Utah Health. “Iced tea is full of oxalic acid, which, when taken in excess, deposits in your kidneys and mucks up the work of removing waste from the blood,” he shared in a blog post from the University of Utah. “This patient was drinking 16 8-ounce glasses of iced tea per day for an unknown period of time. This created a load of oxalic acid that his kidneys couldn’t handle, leading to renal failure.” Yikes!
So just how much black tea is safe to drink every day? “Overall, two to three cups of black tea a day can have many benefits toward making your mouth, and your body, a happier, healthier place,” explained Dr. Mike Golpa, a dental CEO. Sounds good to us! But, of course, caffeinated black tea is one of several beverages pregnant women should avoid drinking, so talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
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