Black tea is currently the most popular in the US, enjoyed mainly as iced tea. The fame of black tea is mainly due to the invention of the tea bag in 1904 by NYC tea merchant Thomas Sullivan. Recent studies have shown that black tea provides equal health benefits as its green tea cousin.
Black tea appears to have cardiovascular benefits
During their study, the researchers examined 95 Australians, ages 35 to 75. A portion of the participants were asked to drink black tea, three times daily, while the others were given a placebo that tasted identical and contained the same caffeine content, but did not originate from tea. Six months later, the researchers examined the findings. They concluded that the people who drank the black tea were found to have lower 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure; between 2 and 3 mmHg lower. Blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The First is the systolic and measures blood pressure when the heart beats, or contracts to push blood through the body. The second number is the diastolic and measures the amount of pressure in between beats when the person is at rest. More research is required to better understand how tea may reduce blood pressure, although earlier studies reported a link between tea drinking and the improved health of people’s blood vessels.
Green or Black Tea – which is better?
Until recently, tea research has focused on green tea. Green tea is loaded with the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a powerful anti-oxidant. Since the fermentation process used to make black tea converts EGCg into other compounds, researchers assumed black tea had less health benefits than green tea. However, recent studies indicate the compounds contained in black tea – theaflavins and thearubigens –do more than contribute to its dark color and distinctive flavor. They also provide health benefits originally attributed solely to green tea.