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English Breakfast Tea: Are There Health Benefits?

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

English breakfast tea is a popular beverage around the globe. In fact, after water, tea is the most-consumed drink worldwide. 

English breakfast tea is made from a blend of black teas. It tends to be stronger than other teas, like herbal teas and some green teas. Black tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant.  

Black tea has less caffeine than coffee, so many people drink it to stay healthier and improve their diet. You can find English breakfast tea inside most grocery stores and at cafés around the world. 

English breakfast tea contains antioxidants which prevent damage in your cells that can lead to diseases. Therefore, drinking English breakfast tea can lower your risk of diseases such as:

Nutrition Information

One serving of English breakfast tea is about 1 cup brewed and contains:

Drinking English breakfast tea is like drinking water as far as calories go. However, unlike water,  the tea contains  healthy antioxidants and minerals such as:

Potential Health Benefits of English Breakfast Tea

One of the reasons people enjoy drinking tea so much is for the health benefits it offers. For instance, the  minerals and antioxidants in English breakfast tea  improve or prevent health conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or dehydration. 

Here’s a deeper look at some of the potential health benefits of drinking English breakfast tea:

Heart Health

The black teas that form English breakfast tea contain flavonoids that contribute to a healthy heart. Flavonoids are a  type of antioxidant generally found in fruits and vegetables. Regular consumption of flavonoids  can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, in addition to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. All of these elements help keep a heart healthy.

Lower Cholesterol

 Antioxidants in English breakfast tea also help lower cholesterol. For instance, theaflavin and thearubigins have been found to help manage hyperlipidemia (high fat in the body, or high cholesterol) and related high fat disorders or high cholesterol. In particular, theaflavin and thearubigins cause glucose (sugar) decline and insulin increase, which leads to lower cholesterol. 

Gut Health

Your gut health matters to your overall health. A person with good gut health also has stronger mental and physical health. Bacteria in your gut works hard to help your body function. Therefore, it’s important to feed your gut friendly foods, like tea. English breakfast tea contains polyphenols (an antioxidant) that promote good bacteria growth in the gut and decrease the growth of bad bacteria.

Lower Risk of Stroke

Scientific studies have proven that the nutrients found in black tea can reduce the risk of stroke in people who drink it regularly.

Lower Risk of Cancer

Tea drinkers can also benefit from a lower risk of getting cancer. Those same polyphenols found in the beverage are thought to reduce spread of cancer cells, regulate cancer cell growth, and decrease the development of new cancer cells.

Increase Attention and Focus

Black tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine. This nutrient increases attention to tasks, improves focus and alertness (when combined with caffeine), and helps you relax. As long as you drink  English breakfast tea in moderation , you can enjoy these benefits whenever you drink it.

Potential Risks of English Breakfast Tea

Even though English breakfast tea offers many health benefits, it’s caffeine content may cause problems.

Side Effects of Caffeine

English breakfast tea contains between 2 and 4 percent of caffeine. While caffeine does have positive side effects, like better focus and higher activity levels, it can also cause anxiety, dehydration, and dizziness if you drink too much of it. However, many consider black tea a healthier alternative to coffee, since it has less caffeine per serving.

Healthier Alternatives

If you’re looking for other teas to try with similar health benefits, but lower risk of caffeine-related effects, consider herbal tea or green tea. These teas have little or no caffeine and are thought to be healthier than English breakfast tea and other black teas.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Alcohol and Drug Foundation: “Caffeine.”

Annals of Epidemiology: “Black Tea Consumption and Risk of Stroke in Women and Men.”

Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry: “Mechanisms of Cancer Prevention by Green and Black Tea Polyphenols.”

Consumer Reports: “The Health Benefits of Tea”

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Black Tea—Helpful or Harmful? A review of evidence.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Tea, black, English breakfast, brewed, Celestial Seasoning.”

Journal of Nutrition: “Antioxidant effects of tea: evidence from human clinical trials.”

Lipids in Health and Disease: “Exploring the potential of black tea based flavonoids against hyperlipidemia related disorders.”

Nutrition Reviews: “Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine.”

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: “Benefits of microbiota and implications in human health.”

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