Although black, green and white teas all come from the same shrub, black tea is more oxidized than its peers and generally has a stronger flavor. The dark tea also has more caffeine, making it an unsuitable option for many. If you understand the risks of caffeine and still want to look into the possible benefits of drinking black tea, here’s a look at what the research suggests.
Looking at the benefits of drinking black tea
Increasing mental alertness
Primarily due to the caffeine content, black tea can stimulate the body in such a way that tea drinkers feel mentally alert with sharpened thinking skills. The buzz can quickly wear off, however, so some find themselves drinking multiple cups throughout the day in order to try and maintain the mental stamina that can come from intaking such a liquid.
Providing polyphenol antioxidants
Black tea has antioxidant properties that have shown to provide cancer and disease prevention capabilities. Black tea may be able to help reduce the risk of cancerous growths in the stomach, colon, lungs, ovaries and breasts. The properties of black tea may also be able to help reduce plaque buildup in your arteries, prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, minimize the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and decrease the risks of having a heart attack.
For some people, caffeine can be an effective tool to decrease headache pains. Since caffeine itself can cause headaches, there are many anecdotal stories supporting each side of the argument on whether to drink or stay away from black tea when you’re feeling discomfort in your head and neck.
Black tea can act as a diuretic, which can help increase urine flow and reset your body’s water levels. The tea may also be able to help treat stomach disorders and prevent kidney stones. Some people additionally have success with using black tea as a treatment for diarrhea and vomiting.
Because drinking black tea can actually temporarily increase your blood pressure, some individuals use black tea as an effective solution for preventing some dizzy spells. Although there are no known long-term effects regarding the tea and an elevated blood pressure, those who have high blood pressure problems to begin with may benefit from avoiding the strong drink.
Helping with weight loss goals
Without any sweeteners or additives, plain black tea has a negligible number of calories and fat grams making it a diet freebie. Because of the caffeine content, which can stimulate your metabolism, some black tea proponents consequently argue that the drink can provide serious weight loss benefits, but the research to back up such an assertion is limited.
Understanding the drawbacks of black tea
Posing the risks of unwanted side effects
Caffeine can cause many unwanted side effects including sleep problems, nervousness, confusion and irritability. The substance can also produce heartburn, diarrhea and vomiting as well as convulsions, tremors and irregular heartbeats.
Worsening pre-existing conditions
Black tea can actually worsen all sorts of medical conditions like iron-deficiency anemia, anxiety disorders, heart problems, glaucoma, bleeding disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure. The drink can act like estrogen and can be additionally dangerous for those who have a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer or endometriosis. Black tea can also affect your blood sugar and complicate your diabetes treatments.
Threatening for unborn babies and nursing infants
Regularly drinking a caffeinated beverage like black tea can lead to miscarriages, lower birth weights and caffeine withdrawal issues in newborns. Children who are breastfed can also experience adverse reactions from a mother’s consumption of the strong drink including irritability and affected bowel movements.
Causing psychological dependence
Because of the caffeine content, black tea may be addictive. If you drink enough of the beverage, you may actually develop a psychological dependence of black tea, which can be extremely hard to overcome mentally and physically as well.
Affecting your nutrient absorption
High quantities of black tea can influence your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients. For example, ingesting too much caffeine can decrease your access to calcium and interfere with your body’s use of vitamin D. In such conditions, your chances of brittle bones and osteoporosis can ultimately increase.
Interfering with your medications
Black tea, and particularly the caffeine component, can negatively interact with medications you may be currently taking. If you’re on any stimulants, the extra caffeine can push you into a dangerous territory by causing too much stimulation and even leading to heart problems. If you’re on any treatment like antibiotics, you can feel increased side effects from the caffeine in your tea because of the way the medication blocks your ability to properly break down the caffeine. When it comes to other medications, caffeine can alter the way your body processes the medicine itself, interrupting the normal life cycle for such a treatment and reducing the efficacy and safety of the medication.
Other chemical components of black tea such as tannins can also decrease the efficacy of certain medications by altering how much medicine your body is able to absorb. Many depression treatments, for example, are affected this way.
The strong drink can also interfere with diagnostic medications that are used by doctors to test your heart and can interact with blood clotting medications in a way that increases your chances of bruising and bleeding. If you take any prescription or over-the-counter treatments, talk with a pharmacist or physician before adopting a regular habit of consuming black tea. If you are scheduled to have any medical tests or procedures done in the foreseeable future, also talk with your doctor if you should stop drinking black tea in preparation for such an event.
Considering the possible benefits in light of the possible costs
Regarding what goes into your body, you have the final say. Weighing out the pros and cons of drinking black tea can be an important exercise while trying to determine what alternative medicine strategies you want to implement in your own life. Looking at the full implications, black tea isn’t for me. If you decide differently for your situation, be sure to talk with a trusted medical professional so you can identify a safe course of action for your body and circumstances.