Is Black Tea Really Healthy?

Ist schwarzer Tee wirklich gesund?

Black tea is an integral part of everyday life in many cultures. It has been known for its pleasant taste for many centuries.

In addition to his many lovers, more and more critics appear. Black tea is said to be unhealthy and even carcinogenic. But how much truth is behind the criticism? Is black tea healthy or even unhealthy? These and a few more questions about black tea and health are answered in our article.

the essentials in brief

  • Black tea contains many interesting ingredients. A very dominant ingredient is caffeine. A cup contains 20 to 50 mg of it. For this reason, black tea is a popular alternative to coffee.
  • The valuable ingredients can have a positive effect on health. Regular consumption can stimulate the metabolism and promote blood circulation and the heart. Black tea is known and popular as a home remedy for diarrhea.
  • In recent years there have been a number of studies and investigations that have shown that some types of black tea contain questionable ingredients. For this reason, when choosing and buying black tea, you should pay particular attention to the quality and origin.

Is Black Tea Healthy? what you should know

Here you will find everything you need to know about whether black tea is healthy or even unhealthy. Questions about the ingredients, the right preparation and the right consumption will be answered. The questions focus on the health effects of black tea on health and the body.

What are the healthy ingredients in black tea?

Like all teas from the Camellia sinensis plant, black tea also contains caffeine, which in this case is called theine. A cup of black tea contains about 20 to 50 mg of caffeine. In contrast, a cup of coffee contains more caffeine. A cup of coffee contains an average of 50 to 130 mg of caffeine.

A cup of black tea contains about 20 to 50 mg of caffeine.

In addition, every black tea contains small amounts of theobromine and theophylline. These ingredients belong to the so-called methylxanthines. They are also used as medicines in various areas of healthcare.

Other ingredients are essential oils and secondary plant substances such as tannins. Tannin is a component of various plants. Conversely, black tea generally has lower tannin levels than green tea. Nonetheless, it is beneficial to health.

Black tea contains theaflavins, which are produced during the fermentation process from green tea to black tea. They have many health benefits. In addition, black tea contains important vitamins and trace elements such as vitamin B, manganese and potassium. (1)

The most important ingredients of black tea are listed here again:

  • caffeine
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • copper
  • phosphate
  • fluorine
  • manganese
  • Tannins (tannins)

How does black tea affect the body?

The theine contained in black tea stimulates brain activity and therefore has a positive effect on your concentration. Black tea can also boost metabolism, blood circulation, and heart activity. However, a cup of black tea contains only half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. In addition, the caffeine in tea is slowly absorbed by the body, so you will find that the effects are weaker.

However, the effect lasts longer than with coffee. However, black tea shows a calming effect with a longer brewing time. So if you don't want to miss the invigorating effect in the morning, you shouldn't let your tea steep for too long. The tannins in black tea play an important supportive role in the body. On the one hand, tannins can regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. In addition, tannins have an antibacterial effect in the body. (2)

What are the possible health side effects of regular consumption of black tea?

In addition to its health benefits, large amounts of black tea can also have some side effects. The content of the tea has a relatively high caffeine content compared to other types of tea. Unfortunately, this can also lead to unpleasant side effects. These include the typical side effects that are also known from coffee: nervousness, tachycardia and sleep disorders.

If you're taking iron-containing medications, you should know that black tea can reduce the absorption of these compounds in the blood. Like all caffeinated beverages, black tea has a strong diuretic effect. This can result in important nutrients being excreted from the body. This can lead to the loss of valuable minerals. Drinking too much black tea can lead to iron deficiency. But calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 can also be deficient.

Due to the increased urge to urinate, regular consumption of black tea can lead to dry skin and increased thirst. Another rather unsightly side effect is the effect on the teeth. Black tea's tannin content is high and strong, which can cause tooth discoloration. This risk increases especially when drinking strong tea.

Black tea can irritate the stomach wall. Therefore, people with sensitive stomachs can only consume black tea in moderation. In addition, black tea can cause migraines or allergic reactions in some people. (3)

Here you will find a list of the most common side effects:

  • nervousness, sleep disturbances
  • Dry skin
  • iron deficiency
  • tooth discoloration
  • Gastrointestinal complaints

Is Black Tea Healthy?

There are some interesting scientific studies to support the health effects of black tea.

A study conducted in England examined whether black tea has a positive or negative effect on health. The result of the research was that a positive effect on coronary heart diseases was found. The conclusion of the study was that black tea can have a positive effect on health. (4)

Black tea

In many cultures, especially in Asia, black tea has a special meaning. It is popular for its pleasant taste and positive effects on the body. (Image Source: Mehrshad Rajabi / Unsplash)

Other studies have also been conducted regarding black tea and its effects on health. The study looked at the effect of black tea on cancer. The polyphenols contained in tea are powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants have some inhibitory activity against tumors. However, the scientists emphasize that the research is not yet fully completed. (5)

A third study also explored the health effects of black tea. The researchers emphasize that only regular consumption can bring about positive effects. There is growing recognition that tea polyphenols and other compounds found in the camellia sinensis plant may reduce the risk of chronic diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes). (6)

How many cups of black tea a day is healthy?

The EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) classifies 400 mg of caffeine daily as not harmful to the health of adults. In fact, a healthy amount of caffeine will be beneficial. Since a cup of black tea contains around 30 to 60 mg of caffeine, several cups a day are safe. However, pregnant women and patients with gastrointestinal complaints should limit their consumption to a few cups.

About six cups of regular black tea throughout the day is adequate. However, the following applies here: less is more! Excessive consumption of more than eight cups a day can prevent the positive effects and harm your health. (7.4)

Is black tea carcinogenic?

The ZDF program WISO tested inexpensive black teas and high-quality black teas in the laboratory. According to the results of the random sample, all tested teas contained pesticide residues. All products are contaminated with at least four different pesticides.

In addition to pesticides, most teas also contain anthraquinone substances. This substance is usually used to repel birds after sowing. Since the substance is carcinogenic in animal experiments, the European Union no longer approves the substance.

Stiftung Warentest gives the all-clear.

According to Stiftung Warentest, despite these results, there is no reason to generally warn against consumption. However, it makes sense to minimize the intake of harmful substances. Therefore, when buying and consuming black tea, you should ensure that it is of very good quality. (8.9)

What health effects does black tea have on the stomach and intestines?

Black tea is considered a home remedy for diarrhea and gastrointestinal diseases . Black tea contains tannins (tannins). These can have a calming effect on the intestines. The excess liquid in the intestine is bound by the tannins (tannins).

gastrointestinal complaint

Black tea can relieve your gastrointestinal problems. Experience has shown that it is a proven home remedy for diarrhea. In addition to rest and warmth, you should also allow yourself a cup of black tea. (Image Source: unknownuserpanama / Pixabay )

The longer the tea steeps, the more tannins (tannins) are released. The black tea should steep for at least ten minutes. In addition, they have mild antibacterial and analgesic effects. They are also said to have anti-inflammatory effects. (10)

What alternatives are there to black tea?

Green tea

Like black tea, green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant. In contrast to black tea, green tea is hardly oxidized. It is brewed from unfermented leaves. Therefore, almost all active ingredients are retained. Although both contain caffeine, black tea usually contains more - green tea is a better choice for people who are sensitive to caffeine.

In addition, green tea contains more L-theanine, which has a calming effect and can counteract the effects of caffeine. Depending on the quality of the leaves and processing methods, different green teas with different aromas and flavors can be produced. Therefore, green tea has a very rich taste. The climate, the place of cultivation, the harvest time and the processing and preparation methods are very important for the taste and effect of black tea. (11)


The question of whether black tea is healthy or not is a very complex question. It cannot be answered simply with yes or no.

There are certain things you should consider when consuming black tea. If you pay attention to your tea consumption and take the tea regularly you can do something good for your health. The valuable ingredients can support your body in many areas. The tea can regulate your blood pressure and heart activity, but also have a calming effect on your stomach and intestines.

But if you consume excessive amounts of black tea on a daily basis and don't take care of a good quality, you can harm your health. Although black tea contains less caffeine than coffee, the same side effects can occur. So if you are careful with your tea consumption, you don't have to do without black tea in your everyday life.

References FoodData Central , 2017-2018 Source Black tea: That is its effect. Richard Mossmann, December 22, 2018 Source Black tea: effects and side effects - more than just caffeine. Nicole Hery-Mossmann, February 19, 2018 Source pubmed.ncbi: Black tea--helpful or harmful? A review of the evidence. 2006 sources pubmed.ncbi: Inhibition of carcinogenesis by tea. Chung S Yang, 2002 Source pubmed.ncbi: Tea and health: studies in humans. Naghma Khan, 2013 Source caffeine. 2015 sources ZDF magazine "WISO": Black tea is contaminated with pesticides. Thomas Hagedorn, 01/22/2017 Source Black tea 30 teas in the pollutant test. 09/06/2019 source Black tea. 11/26/2000 source pubmed.ncbi: Theanine and Caffeine Content of Infusions Prepared from Commercial Tea Samples. Klara Boros, 2016 Source
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