Earl Grey Tea: Is It Good for You?

Earl Grey tea is one of the best-known tea blends on the market. Traditionally, it’s a simple blend of black tea and oil of bergamot. Other tea bases are also used, including green tea, oolong, and rooibos. Bergamot oil is derived from the rind of a fruit called the bergamot orange, commonly grown in Italy.

In England, Earl Grey tea is widely considered a “posh” drink, due to its namesake. In contrast to this perception, the practice of adding bergamot to tea originally began as a means to disguise lower quality tea. These days it is done purely in the name of good taste.

Earl Grey tea has long been popular, but limited minerals and nutrients in tea suggest minimal health benefits.

Nutrition Information

Earl Grey tea contains minimal nutrients. On average, 8 ounces of brewed black tea includes:

Your cup of earl grey tea also contains 40 to 120 milligrams of caffeine.

The following vitamins and minerals are also only present in very low concentrations:

Potential Health Benefits of Earl Grey Tea

Earl Gray tea is a popular drink due to its caffeine kick and renowned flavor. Some people also swear by its health benefits ranging from preventing cancer to curing the common cold. Unfortunately, most of these assertions have not yet been proven by research.

Research has revealed some potential health benefits of drinking Earl Grey tea:

Heart Health

Black tea and other Camellia sinensis teas have been shown to have blood-pressure lowering effects. Lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension reduces the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol Lowering Effects

Multiple studies have shown that bergamot extract can lower both LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol. This happens through a distinct method compared to established cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Weight Loss

Research into the polyphenols in black tea have indicated it may be good for weight loss. The mechanisms for this involve inhibiting lipid (fat) digestion, promoting fat metabolism, and preventing obesity through the reduction of oxidative stress (damage to cells).

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Potential Risks of Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey tea, as with all black teas, has a substantial amount of caffeine. Caffeine has been demonstrated to likely have an anxiety heightening effect on adults. Caffeine has also been linked to lack of sleep, a common exacerbator of depression.

Earl Grey Tea Intoxication

Earl Grey tea consumed at extremely high levels may interfere with your body’s ability to process potassium. In a case reported by the Lancet, a 44 year old man drank 4 liters (nearly 17 cups or 135 ounces) of Earl Grey tea every day. As a result, he developed severe muscle cramps that only subsided when he stopped drinking Earl Grey tea.

These symptoms likely stem from the bergamot in Earl Grey tea, which can interfere with potassium channels and cause your cells to overreact to stimulus, leading to muscle spasms and cramps.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Tea, Earl Grey, brewed, short, Tazo”

Integrative Food, Nutrition and Metabolism: “Clinical application of bergamot (Citrus bergamia) for reducing high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease markers.”

Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology: “The essential oil of Citrus bergamia Risso induces vasorelaxation of the mouse aorta by activating K(+) channels and inhibiting Ca(2+) influx.”

Mayo Clinic: “Caffeine and depression: Is there a link?”

Molecules: “Mechanisms of Body Weight Reduction by Black Tea Polyphenols

Nutrients: “Effects and Mechanisms of Tea Regulating Blood Pressure: Evidences and Promises.”

Nutrients: “Key Findings and Implications of a Recent Systematic Review of the Potential Adverse Effects of Caffeine Consumption in Healthy Adults, Pregnant Women, Adolescents, and Children.”

The Lancet: “Earl Grey Tea Intoxication.”

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