Black Tea Is Great for Your Gut

A warming cup of tea offers many comforts, especially when the temperature begins to dip, but while the advantages of green tea are many and well noted, there's another type — black tea — shown by recent research to positively impact not only your quest for weight loss but to lead to a healthier gut microbiome in the process.

The precise benefit stems from the way black tea (and green tea, too) can change the ratio of gut bacteria, decreasing the percentages of a type previously linked to obesity, and increasing bacteria associated with lean body mass, Prevent Disease reports.1 Research from the University of California published in the European Journal of Nutrition,2 revealed that not only may drinking black tea change your gut microbiome for the better, it may also improve your gut function. Lead study author Susanne Henning explains:

"Our new findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans. The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotics, substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person's well-being."3

It now appears that both green and black teas have metabolism-boosting effects, with green tea working via your bloodstream and black tea via your gut bacteria.4 In addition, antioxidant polyphenols in both green and black tea fight against free radicals, helping to ensure proper function of DNA and cell membranes.5

However, by altering your gut microbiome, black tea helps prevent weight gain and obesity, making it "anti-obesogenic." Psychology Today explains part of the mechanism for how this works, as well as the importance of intestinal health:

"Each of us has trillions of microorganisms and diverse bacterial communities — commonly referred to as microbiome or gut microbiota — residing in our gastrointestinal tract at any given time. Microbiota is a diverse ecological community of microorganisms that are generally a combination of both beneficial 'good bacteria' and potentially harmful bacteria.

The human gut is similar to that of a mouse and generally harbors over 100 trillion microorganisms. Microbiome colonies begin to reside within our intestines immediately after birth and are vital to the healthy development of your immune system and are associated with various important neurobiological and physiological functions."6

Study: What Black Tea Can Do for Your Gut

Four groups of mice involved in the research were given different diets to compare over a four-week period: low-fat and high-sugar; high-fat and high-sugar; high-fat, high-sugar plus green tea extract; and high-fat, high-sugar plus black tea extract. Evaluating the results, UCLA Newsroom7 adds, the scientists found that the mice given the green or black tea extracts dropped the same amount of weight as the ones who were fed a straight low-fat diet.

Simultaneously, samples were collected from the large intestines of the mice so their bacteria could be accounted for, as well as from their liver tissues so they could measure their fat deposits. The scientists' findings indicated that the mice that had ingested the tea extracts exhibited a change in the ratios of two significant microbiome family groups.

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