10 Surprising Benefits of Earl Grey Tea You Never Knew
People around the world are becoming more aware of the benefits of Tea, especially in comparison to its culinary rival coffee. But what singles out Earl Grey Tea as especially beneficial and unique among tea blends?
Earl Grey’s Secret Ingredient
Lets start with the ingredient that makes Earl Grey different from most other traditional tea blends; bergamot. Bergamot is an aromatic essential oil derived from peel of the bergamot orange, an ancient citrus fruit deemed not sweet enough to be sold in supermarkets. Hence why you’ve probably never seen one.
The bergamot orange comes from the spiny tree citrus bergamia, a tropical tree originating from South East Asia which has been transplanted all over the world including Africa’s Ivory Coast and France. But today the majority of the worlds bergamot (upwards of 80%) comes from the Calabria region in Southern Italy.
Two hundred kilos of fruit, or about 1,000 oranges, are required to make just one kilo of bergamot oil. The rarity gives the oil a price of about 200 British Pounds for a single kilo of oil making it too expensive to be mixed directly into teas. The bergamot oil is cut with other less expensive citrus oils like lime oil and grapefruit oil before being blended into tea and each tea manufacturer has their own recipe for their final bergamot mix.
In fact bergamot is so essential to Earl Grey’s identity that the tea itself is secondary. Meaning that while Early Grey is traditionally made with black tea, as long as it has bergamot green tea can be used, and is on rare occasion, and the blend will still be considered Earl Grey.
Additional flavor is all well and good but what are the real advantages of this combination of bergamot and black tea? Well, see the list below for the surprising benefits of Earl Grey Tea, one of the worlds most popular tea blends.
Bergamot is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that fight free radicals that cause inflammation, cellular damage and disease. Black tea is rich in catechins, another powerful antioxidant. Together these free-radical fighting molecules make Earl Grey one of the most antioxidant blends on the market. Considering there is growing evidence that antioxidant not only fight against cellular inflammation, damage and disease but also the mechanisms that cause us to age, the antioxidant rich Earl Grey is a natural choice for anyone looking to hold back the hand of time with a simple daily cup of one of the world’s most popular tea blends.
2. Reduce Stress with Earl Grey’s Therapeutic Aromatics
Earl Grey Tea has a distinct and rich pleasurable aroma that is commonly described as clean and soothing. The mix of rich herbal notes from the black tea and the crips citrus bite of the bergamot give it a unique and powerful smell almost anyone would find pleasurable. While there is little evidence that aromatics have a profound effect on physical ailments, many claim that essential oils and aromatherapy may treat fatigue, depression, insomnia and even mild cases of asthma. Earl Grey’s rich aromatic smell combined with the soothing ritual of tea making can be an ideal way to reduce stress and calm nerves.
3. Safeguard your Heart by reducing Cholesterol
Studies of Bergamot have shown to lower cholesterol levels. Bergamot contains flavanones which some studies suggest inhibit enzymes that produce cholesterol. One study following people with high cholesterol levels found that a daily dose of bergamot extract reduced blood levels of triglycerides and total LDL, or bad cholesterol. Another study found that daily consumption of black tea had similar
results. Together, bergamot and black tea make Earl Grey a perfect choice for people wanting to safeguard themselves against one of the leading causes of heart disease.
4. Improve Your Digestion
While no studies have yet been done on humans, several studies have looked at bergamot's effect of the digestive tracts of animals, indicating flavonoids in bergamot may ameliorate inflammation in animals with colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The main takeaway of the study was that bergamot inhibited the release of inflammatory proteins and greatly reduced episodes of diarrhea. While more studies need to be conducted and studies done on animals don’t always reveal similar results when done on humans anyone suffering from poor digestion may want to give Early Grey tea a try to see if they receive the same benefits of bergamot given to animals.
5. Overall gut health and immunity
It is now clear to health professionals that gut bacteria play a significant role in your health, including a significant role in our immune systems. Studies show that polyphenols found in black tea may inhibit the growth of bad bacteria such as salmonella while also promoting the growth of good bacteria. Black tea also contains antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful substances and help repair the lining of the digestive tract. The combination of black tea’s benefit to gut health and
bergamot’s benefit to the whole digestive tract make Earl Grey the natural choice for anyone looking to improve intestinal health and maintain a healthy constitution.
6. Reduces Blood Pressure
A good diet and exercise can lower your blood pressure and it may be the case that black teas like that in Earl Grey can also play a part in keeping blood pressure under control. Studies conducted looking at a potential link between tea consumption and blood pressure ascertained that participants who drank black tea daily over several months had a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to placebo groups. This is great news considering more than a billion people have high blood pressure worldwide and high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, kidney failure, strokes and many other health problems.
7. Reduce Risks of a Stroke
It turns out that black tea’s like that in Earl Grey can help prevent the second leading cause of death worldwide. Strokes can occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or is blocked, and the aftermath can be devastating even for those suffering a minor stroke. Fortunately, more than 80 % of strokes can be prevented by managing diet, physical activity, blood pressure and not smoking. One study found that those who drank four or more cups of black tea per day had lower risk of strokes by 32% than those who did not drink tea.
8. Reduce Blood Sugar
Consuming drinks with large amounts of sugar is thought to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Years of too much sugar can even lead to kidney failure. Consuming sugar causes your pancreas to secrete insulin which transports the sugar to muscles to be used as energy. The excess sugar is stored as fat for later use. But continued overconsumption of sugar can exceed your body’s ability to cope with excess sugar and the delicate balance of insulin in your blood stream, leading to all of the aforementioned health problems. Studies on black tea, consumed without sugar, have shown to provide the body with insulin-enhancing properties, increasing insulin’s activity 15 fold. The active ingredient given the credit for enhancing the power of your own insulin is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate, a phenol compound classified as an antioxidant and also found in green tea and coffee.
9. Help Reduce your Risk of Cancer
While many cancers are not preventable, the polyphenols found in black tea are believed to help hinder the survival of cancer cells. Several studies suggest the compounds in black and green tea may help regulate caner cell growth, and one study analyzing polyphenols affect on breast cancer cells showed that black tea may help overcome the spread of hormone-dependent breast tumors. While absolutely not a cure or even an alternative treatment, it is possible that compounds in black tea, including those in Earl Grey tea, can help prevent cancer cells from developing and spreading in the first place.
10. Improve Focus and Energy
In addition to caffeine, the black tea in Earl Grey contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been proven to increase the alpha activity in the brain. This increased alpha activity is associated with a feeling of relaxation and signifies an increase in one’s ability to focus on a person’s task at hand. Recent studies have indicated that L-theanine and caffeine may have a synergistic effect in which L-theanine increases caffeine’s ability to give us a more stable feeling of energy. While coffee has caffeine it doesn’t have L-theanine to give it the extra kick and smooth feeling the compounds in tea can. Basically, you are less likely to feel jittery from drinking tea than you are drinking coffee due to the influence of compounds like L-theanine. The extra compounds of L-theanine and Bergamot make Earl Grey the clear choice when looking for an extra boost within the bounds of a healthy diet.
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14519827/ )
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Study Flavanoids (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29592809/ )
2 Aromatics to Reduce Stress
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4 Improve digestion
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25491246/ )
5 Gut Health and Immunity
Study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/ )
Study (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/87559129.2010.535233 )
6 Blood Pressure
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22271130/ )
Study (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1108657 )
7 Reducing Risk of Stroke
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23295000/ )
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19228856/ )
8 Reduce Blood Sugar
Study ( https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf020514c )
Study ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464613001916)
9 Reduce Risk of Cancer
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17017850/ )
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15341993/ )
10 Improve Focus and Energy
Study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18254874/ )
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