Those seeking to lose weight may have another healthy option: black tea. Scientists have found that black tea may encourage weight loss by spurring on the growth of the body’s metabolism-boosting bacteria.
A team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles discovered that both black and green tea produced a change in the ratio of intestinal bacteria in mice, the Times of India reports. The percentage of bacteria linked to obesity went down, while the bacteria associated with lean body mass went up.
There have been previous studies showing that chemicals in green tea, called polyphenols, are absorbed into the body, altering the metabolism of energy in the liver.
This study adds that polyphenols from black tea, which are too large to be absorbed into the small intestine, boost the growth of gut bacteria. They also contribute to the formation of short-chain fatty acids, or bacterial metabolites that are known to change the same metabolism in the liver that green tea produces.
In short, both kinds of tea are prebiotics, or substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that help the body’s overall well-being, the researchers say. Susanne Henning, professor at UCLA, says, “It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue.”
Now, black tea proves that it’s right up there in terms of good contributions to health. Henning adds,
Black tea, through a specific mechanism through the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss.
Black tea is more oxidized that other kinds of tea, making it distinctively stronger in flavor and aroma. It is made from the leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis, and is known to retain its flavor for several years, compared to green tea. Because of its long shelf life, black tea has been an article of trade throughout history.
The study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.