- Home #China
The defense budget will be bigger, but it won’t make us any more safe.
Donald Trump’s supporters believe that his election will end business as usual in Washington. The self-glorifying Trump agrees and indeed his has, so far, been the most unorthodox presidency of our era, if not any era. It’s a chaotic and tweet-driven administration that makes headlines daily thanks to scandals, acts of stunning incompetence, rants, accusations, wild claims, and conspiracy theories. On one crucial issue, however, Trump has been a complete conformist. Despite the headline-grabbing uproar over Muslim bans and the like, his stance on national security couldn’t be more recognizable. His list of major threats — terrorism, Iran, North Korea, and China — features the usual suspects that Republicans, Democrats, and the foreign policy establishment have long deemed dangerous.Trump’s conception of security not only doesn’t break the mold of recent administrations, it’s a remarkably fine fit for it. That’s because his focus is on protecting Americans from foreign groups or governments that could threaten us or destroy physical objects (buildings, bridges, and the like) in the homeland. In doing so, he, like his predecessors, steers clear of a definition of “security” that would include the workaday difficulties that actually make Americans insecure. These include poverty, joblessness or underemployment, wages too meager to enable even full-time workers to make ends meet, and a wealth-based public school system that hampers the economic and professional prospects, as well as futures, of startling numbers of American children. To this list must be added the radical dangers climate change poses to the health and safety of future citizens. Trump may present himself as a maverick, but on security he never wavers from an all-too-familiar externally focused and militarized narrative.Conjurer-in-ChiefBarack Obama wrote a bestselling book titled The Audacity of Hope. Perhaps Donald Trump should write one titled The Audacity of Wealth. During the presidential campaign of 2016 he morphed unashamedly from plutocrat to populist, assuring millions of people struggling with unemployment, debt, and inadequate incomes that he would solve their problems. The shtick worked. Many Americans believed him. Fifty-two percent of voters who did not have a college degree chose him. Among whites with that same educational profile, he did even better, winning 67% of their votes. Unemployment, underemployment, stagnant wages, and the outsourcing of production (and so jobs) have hit those who lack a college degree especially hard. Yet many of them were convinced by Trump’s populist message. It made no difference that he belonged to the wealthiest 0.00004% of Americans, if his net worth is the widely reported $3.5 billion, and the top 0.00002% if, as he claims, it’s actually $10 billion. Former Louisiana Governor Huey Long, perhaps the country’s best-known populist historically speaking, was born and raised in Winn Parish, a poor part of Louisiana. In the 1930s, his origins and his far-reaching ideas for redistributing wealth gave him credibility. By contrast, Trump wasn’t cut from humble cloth; nor in his present reincarnation has he even claimed to stand for the reallocation of wealth (except possibly to his wealthy compatriots). His father, Fred Trump, was a multimillionaire who, at the time of his death in 1999, had a net worth of $250 million, which was divided among his four surviving children. The proportional allocations are not publicly known, though it’s safe to assume that Donald did well. He also got his start in business — and it wasn’t even an impressive one — thanks to lavish help from Fred to the tune of millions of dollars. When he subsequently hit rough patches, Dad’s connections and loan guarantees helped set things right.A man who himself benefited handsomely from globalization, outsourcing, and a designed-for-the-wealthy tax code nonetheless managed to convince coal miners in West Virginia and workers in Ohio that all of these were terrible things that enriched a "financial elite" that had made itself wealthy at the expense of American workers and that electing him would end the swindle.He also persuaded millions of voters that foreign enemies were the biggest threat to their security and that he’d crush them by “rebuilding” America’s military machine. Worried about ISIS? Don’t be. Trump would “bomb the shit out of them.” Concerned about the nuclear arms race? Not to worry. “We’ll outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”Yet few if any Americans lie awake at night fearing invasion by another country or the outbreak of nuclear war. Fifteen years after 9/11, terrorism still ranks high on the American list of concerns (especially, the polls tell us, among Republicans). But that danger is not nearly as dire as Trump and the U.S. national security state insist it is. A litany of statistics shows that deaths from car crashes leave death-by-terrorist in the dust, while since 2002 even bee, hornet, and wasp stings have killed more Americans annually in the United States than “Islamic terrorists.”Since 9/11, only 95 Americans — 95 too many, let it be said — have been killed in terrorist attacks in the U.S. Not one of the perpetrators was a tourist or someone on another type of temporary visa, and several were non-Muslims. Nor were any of them refugees, or connected to any of the countries in Trump’s two Muslim bans. Indeed, as the journalist Nick Gillespie notes, since the adoption of the 1980 Refugee Act no refugee has been involved in a terrorist attack that killed Americans. Still, Trump’s hyperbole has persuaded many in this country that terrorism poses a major, imminent threat to them and that measures like a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by the citizens of certain Muslim countries will protect them. (A recent poll shows that 54% of the public supports this policy.) As for terrorist plots, successful or not, by white far-right extremists, the president simply hasn’t felt the urge to say much about them.In other words, President Trump, like candidate Trump, embraces the standard take on national security. He, too, is focused on war and terrorism. Here, on the other hand, are some threats — a suggestive, not inclusive, list — that genuinely make, or threaten to make, millions of Americans insecure and vulnerable.Poverty: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, 43 million Americans, 13.5% of the population, lived below the poverty line ($11,700 for an individual and $20,090 for a three-person household) — an increase of 1% since 2007, the year before the Great Recession. For children under 18, the 2015 poverty rate was 19.7%. While that was an improvement on the 21.1% of 2014, it still meant that nearly a fifth of American children were poor.The working poor: Yes, you can have a job and still be poor if your wages are low or stagnant or have fallen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses a conservative definition for these individuals: “People who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force during the year — either working or looking for work — but whose incomes were below the poverty level.” Though some studies use a more expansive definition, even by the BLS’s criteria, there were 9.5 million working poor in 2014.Even if you work and bring in wages above the poverty line, you may still barely be getting by. Oxfam reports that 58 million American workers make less than $15 an hour and 44 million make less than $12 an hour. Congress last raised the minimum hourly wage to $7.25 in 2007 (and even then included exceptions that applied to several types of workers). That sum has since lost nearly 10% of its purchasing power thanks to inflation.Wage stagnation and economic inequality: These two conditions explain a large part of the working-but-barely-making-it phenomenon. Let’s start with those stagnant wages. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), for about three decades after World War II, hourly wage increases for workers in non-supervisory roles kept pace with productivity increases: at 91.3% and 96.7%, respectively. Then things changed dramatically. Between 1973 and 2013, productivity increased by 74.4% and wages by only 9.2%. In other words, with wages adjusted for inflation, the average American worker made no more in 2013 than in 1973. As for economic inequality, the EPI reports that from 1980 to 2013 the income of the top 1% of wage earners increased by 138% compared to 15% for the bottom 90%. For those at the lowest end of the wage scale it was even worse. In those years, their hourly pay actually dropped by 5%.When was the last time you heard Donald Trump talk about stagnant wages or growing economic inequality, both of which make his most fervent supporters insecure? In reality, the defunding of federal programs that provide energy subsidies, employment assistance, and legal services to people with low incomes will only hurt many Trump voters who are already struggling economically.Climate change: There is a scientific consensus on this problem, which already contributes to droughts and floods that reduce food production, damages property, and threatens lives, not to speak of increasing the range of forest fires and lengthening the global fire season, as well as helping spread diseases like cholera, malaria, and dengue fever. Trump once infamously described climate change as a Chinese-fabricated “hoax” meant to reduce the competitiveness of American companies. No matter that, in recent years, the Chinese government has taken serious steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now, President Trump is gearing up to take the U.S. out of the climate change sweepstakes entirely. For instance, he remains determined to withdraw the country from the 2015 Paris Agreement (signed by 197 countries and so far ratified by 134 of them) aimed at limiting the increase in global temperature to a maximum of two degrees Celsius during this century. Scott Pruitt, his appointee to run the Environmental Protection Agency, denies that climate change is significantly connected to “human activity” and is stocking his agency with climate change deniers of like mind. Needless to say Pruitt didn’t balk at Trump’s decision to cut the EPA’s budget by 31%.Nor do Trump and his team favor promoting alternative sources of energy or reducing carbon emissions, even though the United States is second only to China in total emissions and among the globe’s largest emitters on a per-capita basis. Trump seems poised to scale back President Obama’s plan to increase the Corporate Annual Fuel Efficiency Standard — created by the government to reduce average automobile gas consumption — from the present 35.5 miles per gallon to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, end the 2015 freeze on leases for coal mining on federal land, and ease power plant emission limits. Worse yet, Trump’s America First Energy Plan calls for producing more oil and gas but contains nary a word about climate change or a green energy strategy. If you want a failsafe formula for future environment-related insecurity, this, of course, is it.Bogus RemediesCandidate Trump certainly did tap into a deepening sense of insecurity about wage stagnation, the disappearance of good working-class jobs, and increasing economic inequality. But in the classic national security mode, he has artfully framed these problems, too, as examples of the economic hardship that foreign countries have inflicted on America. And the four remedies he offers, all rooted in a nationalistic economic outlook, won’t actually help American workers, could hurt them, or are at best cosmetic.First, he favors renegotiating multilateral trade deals like NAFTA and wasted no time withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, accords which he believes hurt American workers. Second, he wants to impose tariffs of 35% to 45% on imports from countries such as Mexico and China that he accuses of unfair trade practices. Third, at least on the campaign trail he pledged to punish countries like China, Japan, and Germany for supposedly devaluing their currencies in order to boost their exports unfairly at America’s expense. Fourth, he’s high on slapping a border tax on companies that import from their branches or subcontractors abroad the components needed to make products to be sold in the United States, as well as on firms that simply import finished products and sell them locally.Some of these punitive moves, if actually pursued, will only provoke retaliation from other countries, harming American exporters and consequently the workers they employ. Tariffs will, of course, also increase the cost of imported goods, hurting consumers with low incomes the most, just as taxing U.S. corporations for importing from their subsidiaries abroad will increase the prices of locally made goods, possibly reducing demand and so jobs. Even the nullification of trade pacts, whatever positives might be involved, won’t bring industries like steel, textiles, and basic machine-making that once provided good jobs for the working class back to the United States. Trump blames China for the decline in manufacturing employment, as does one of his top economists, Peter Navarro. (Despite holding a Harvard Ph.D. in economics, Navarro evidently doesn’t grasp that trade deficits don’t have a major effect on employment and that protectionism doesn’t cut trade deficits.)What’s really required are policies that help displaced manufacturing workers to get decent jobs now, while addressing wage stagnancy, which has been significantly aided and abetted by a sharp decline in union membership in recent decades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1983 and 2015 membership in public-sector unions held reasonably steady. Not so for private-sector union membership, which plunged from 12 million in 1983 to 7.6 million in 2015. As a result, workers have been increasingly incapable of combatting wage stagnation through collective bargaining. Tellingly enough, however, as of 2015, the median weekly paycheck of unionized workers was still 21% larger than that of workers who did not belong to a union. Consider Trump’s business history when it comes to labor (including the hiring and stiffing of undocumented workers), as well as the make up of his immensely wealthy, Goldman Sachs-ified economic team, and the Republican Party’s attitude toward unions. Then ask yourself: How likely is it that this administration will be well disposed toward unionization or collective bargaining?And don’t forget automation, a subject Donald Trump has essentially been mum about. It has contributed decisively to job loss and wage stagnancy by reducing or even eliminating the need for labor in certain economic sectors. As economists Michael Hicks and Srikant Devraj have demonstrated, increased productivity through automation has been far more crucial in reducing the need for human labor in U.S. manufacturing than outsourced jobs and imports. Thanks to labor-displacing technologies, U.S. manufacturing output actually increased in value by 17.6% between 2006 and 2013 while the workforce continued to shrink.Another source of wage stagnancy is rising economic inequality, which stems partly from the fierce corporate focus since the 1980s on boosting quarterly earnings and paying dividends that will keep shareholders happy, even if that requires incurring debt, rather than increasing workers’ wages. Alternative PoliciesTrump claims that he will create more jobs by lowering the corporate tax rate. At 35% — 38.9% including the average state tax — the American corporate tax rate is significantly higher than the global average (29.5%). Nonetheless, the familiar high-corporate-taxes-kill-jobs narrative that Trump trumpets is simplistic. More than 60% of American companies are so-called S corporations. They pay no corporate tax: they pass their profits on to stockholders who then report the gains when filing income tax returns. And even the corporations that do pay taxes manage to reduce the burden significantly through such steps as claiming accelerated depreciation on equipment and establishing offshore companies whose books reflect their profits. As a result, their true tax rate isn’t anything like 38.9%. High corporate taxes aren’t what stops companies from creating jobs or paying workers more, which means that changing that rate won’t fix any problems, not for American workers anyway.There are other solutions to low wages and unemployment, even if President Trump will never favor them. Investing more in public education, for example. Local property taxes and state monies still count heavily in funding public schools. (Federal support is less than 15%.) So the quality of a school can depend greatly on the zip code in which it’s located, especially because parents in wealthy neighborhoods normally raise more money to help their schools than their non-affluent counterparts can. School quality can also depend on how wealthy your state is.Though other factors doubtless play a role, in general, the better the quality of the school, the greater the likelihood that a child will go to college and the stronger his or her income and prospects will be. Increasing federal funding to schools that lack adequate resources could improve matters. But if you expect President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to consider such a proposition, think again.Raising the minimum wage significantly could also help reduce income inequality and the number of working poor. Democrats have favored raising the minimum wage to $10.10, which, it is believed, would reduce the number of people living in poverty by an estimated 4.6 million. That’s hardly an outlandish proposal. Some experts, like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, have called for a minimum wage of $15 an hour, though they are in the minority. But even certain mainstream economists, like Princeton’s Alan Krueger, support a $12 rate and reject the right-wing claim that it would kill jobs.Don’t expect the Trump administration (or the GOP) to push for any form of such a policy. Take a look at the members of the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum (SPF), whose duties include providing advice on job creation, and you’ll realize that such a relatively modest goal will be off the table for at least the next four years. You’ll find representatives from the Blackstone Group, Walmart, IBM, General Motors, Boeing, and General Electric in the SPF, but not one labor advocate. Case closed. Prepare for Business as UsualThe net worth of Trump’s cabinet (the president excluded) is $5 billion, and that’s a conservative estimate (no pun intended). By some calculations, it may be $13 billion. According to Politifact’s Tom Kertscher, that “modest” $5 billion figure exceeds the net worth of the bottom one-third of all American families. Now, what likelihood do you think there is that Trump would ever implement policies that threatened to transform the distribution of wealth and power in America to the detriment of the economic class from which he and his cabinet hail? (In that spirit, remember that candidate Trump proposed a tax plan that would focus on the wealthiest Americans by cutting the top tax rate from 39.6% to 25% and eliminating the estate tax, 90% of which is paid by the country’s wealthiest 10%.)It’s much easier to scapegoat outsiders, whether China, Japan, Mexico, and Germany (whose government Trump trade adviser Navarro has also accused of currency manipulation), or undocumented workers who generally hold jobs in the U.S. that require lower skills, pay less, and that most American citizens avoid. It’s also easier to stick with the standard militarized conception of national security and, for good measure, hype the perils posed by Islam, which for Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief political strategist, and Stephen Miller, his senior adviser on policy, amounts to a synonym for extremism and violence, even if Islamic terrorists pose the most miniscule of threats to most Americans. Not surprisingly, Trump proposes to increase the country’s already staggering defense spending for next year by another $54 billion. To put that increment in perspective, consider that Russia’s total defense spending in 2015 was $66 billion and Britain’s $56 billion, while the United States already spends more on defense than at least the next seven countries combined. (In fairness to Trump, Senators John McCain and Mac Thornberry, respectively the chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, want to bulk up the defense budget even more.)Trump also seems determined to stay the course on America’s forever wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither he nor his generals show any sign of abandoning the Obama-era strategy of whack-a-mole drone strikes and raids by Special Operations forces against terrorist redoubts around the world (as witness a recent failed special ops raid in Yemen and 24 drone strikes — half of the maximum number that the United States launched against that country in any preceding year). Trump has already deployed 400 Marines as well as Army Rangers to fight ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, and another thousand troops may soon be heading that way. And General John Nicholson, commander of the US-led military coalition in Afghanistan, has called for “a few thousand” additional troops for that country.So expect President Trump to dwell obsessively on threats that have a low probability of harming Americans, while offering no effective solutions for the quotidian hardships that actually do make so many citizens feel insecure. Expect, as well, that the more he proves unable to deliver on his economic promises to the working class, the more he’ll harp on the standard threats and engage in saber rattling, hoping that a continual atmosphere of emergency and vulnerability will disarm critics and divert attention from his failures. In the end, count on one thing: voters who were drawn to Trump because they believed he would rein in interventionism abroad and deal with festering problems at home are in for a disappointment.
Related StoriesWhat Happens to a Country Whose Leader Can’t Say ‘I’m Sorry’Paul Krugman Reveals Why So Many Trump Supporters Vote Against Their Own Self-InterestU.S. Border Agents Are Doing ‘Digital Strip Searches’—Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Trade sanctions may one day be seen as the opening shots of WWIII. Economic sanctions have become the first attack of choice in bending or weakening non-compliant adversaries to the modern western globalist view. The US encouraged the Ukrainian maiden revolution after their President turned towards Russia over the EU. The US and its western allies started imposing financial and trade sanctions on Russia. These sanctions were advantageous to the US who had little trade with Russia while financially hurting many countries within the EU. They continued ratcheting up the sanctions against Russia who in turn created counter sanctions and refused to yield to the pressure from the west. Now the US has put China in its sights and has started sanctioning their companies using North Korea and Iran as the excuse. The US in trying to maintain its global hegemony is going after countries that currently or will in the future challenge its ability to project power globally.
China is rapidly growing its military and will have the ability soon to impose financial sanctions and penalties against its adversaries a feat that has been limited to the US and its allies. China realizes as the west does that if they can gain the ability to control trade through its surrounding seas it can unseat the United States political and economic power. The US and Europe like Japan was at the beginning of WW2, is very dependent on imports and fear having its trade controlled by adversaries. When these hegemonic views are challenged the US has two options economic warfare and/or military war.
Almost all modern wars involving the US since WW1 have evolved from economic actions. The US was drawn into WW2 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. This was precipitated from the US starting trade sanctions against Japan in July 1940 on oil and steel. Then in July 1941 the US started a full oil and economic embargo on Japan who at the time was at war with China and dependent on 80% of its imports from the west.
President Donald Trump on the 31st of March 2017 signed two Presidential Executive Orders, “Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws” and “Regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits.”Trade and economic warfare almost always preceded actual war. President Trump will host President Xi of China at Mar-a-Lago on April 6th and 7th where he is to address trade and North Korea.
China realizes the power that it could soon yield against other nations. The west’s ability to prevent this power exchange is closing. The military might of China in four years will be sufficient to control their surrounding seas almost unchallenged. Any nation that would challenge this control would have to be willing to sacrifice significant military losses while China embargoed trade through the surrounding seas causing massive economic chaos to their country. China is starting to project its growing military and economic power by setting up bases in other countries like their new naval base in Djibouti Africa. China’s Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Zhang Dejiang stated this past week, “China is ready to work with Cuba to advance military ties so as to further enrich bilateral relations.” According to Reuters, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian, told a monthly news briefing on March 30th in reference to the US supplying new weapons that “Separatist Taiwan independence forces and their activities are the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait…It is futile to use weapons to refuse unification and is doomed to have no way out.”
Tea is actually the most consumed beverage worldwide after water so it’s quite likely you may be acquiring black tea benefits already on a regular basis. But is black tea good for you? Loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols that protect human cells from hazardous free radical damage, black tea definitely makes the list of one of my top anti-aging foods. Plus, black tea has been linked with improved mental alertness, lower ovarian cancer risk, and a possible decreased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and heart disease. (1)
While it’s typically consumed “black” and hot in the East, in the West it’s often consumed cold with lemon as iced tea or hot with milk and a sweetener like sugar or honey. Some varieties of black tea that may ring a bell include “English Breakfast” and “Irish Breakfast.” You may also be familiar with “Early Grey,” which is a black tea with bergamot essential oil, or chai tea, which combines a variety of spices with black tea. Any of these varieties come with black tea benefits so you can choose whichever one you prefer.
Today, black tea is by far the most popular of the tea varieties, and it’s commonly consumed daily in Western as well as South Asian countries like Sri Lanka and India. So we definitely know it has a lot of fans, but how healthy is black tea? Let’s take a look at exactly how black tea benefits your health whether you’re already a long-time devotee or you’re considering making it your new go-to caffeine of choice.
Is Black Tea Good for You? 7 Major Black Tea Benefits
What is black tea good for? Short answer: a lot. For starters, here are just some of the most impressive black tea health benefits:
1. Boosts Heart Health
There have been numerous studies revealing black tea’s positive impact on heart health. A study published in 2017 looked at the effects of tea consumption on the risk of ischaemic heart disease. The study looked at more than 350,000 men and women between the ages of 30 and 79 from 10 areas in China. When the researchers followed up about seven years later, they found that consumption of tea was associated with a reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease as well as a lower risk of major coronary events (like a heart attack). (2)
Another study compared black tea (without additives) drinkers to plain hot water drinkers for a period of 12 weeks. The black tea contained high amounts of flavan-3-ols, flavonols, theaflavins and gallic acid derivatives. The researchers found that daily consumption of nine grams of black tea resulted in “a highly significant decrease” of cardiovascular risk factors, including triglyceride levels and fasting serum glucose. There was also a significant decrease in the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol as well as an increase in HDL (“healthy”) cholesterol levels. Overall, the researchers conclude that drinking black tea “within a normal diet” leads to a decrease in major cardiovascular risk factors, and it also boosts antioxidant levels in humans. (3)
2. May Help Fight Cancer
Cancer fighter is also on the list of black tea benefits, as black tea consumption has been linked with the reduction of certain types of cancer.† For starters, a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology investigated the effects of consuming flavonoid-rich black tea on prostate cancer risk in over 58,000 men in the Netherlands who provided detailed baseline information on several cancer risk factors. Black tea is considered a major source of health-promoting flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, kaempferol and myricetin. The study revealed that increased flavonoid and black tea intake was linked to a lower risk of advanced stage prostate cancer. However, no associations were observed for overall and earlier stages of prostate cancer. (4)
Another promising study published in 2016 showed how the theaflavin-3 found in black tea had a very strong ability to stop the growth of cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells. A highly impressive finding since cisplatin is said to be “one of the most effective broad-spectrum anticancer drugs.” In addition, the theaflavin-3 was less toxic to the healthy ovarian cancer cells, which is awesome since many conventional anticancer drugs kill both cancerous and healthy cells. (5, 6)
3. Helps Reduce Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is an ever-growing chronic health problem around the world. A study published in the journal Diabetologia wanted to look at tea (and coffee) consumption in relationship to the development of type 2 diabetes. The study involved 40,011 participants, and at the mean follow-up time of 10 years, the researchers found that 918 subjects had developed type 2 diabetes.
They also found that drinking both tea and coffee was linked with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, consumption of at least three cups of tea or coffee per day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 42 percent. (7) This makes black tea beneficial as part of a diabetic diet plan.
4. Potentially Staves Off Strokes
A meta-analysis published in 2009 found that drinking black or green tea daily may prevent ischemic stroke. Specifically, the researchers found that regardless of what country the subjects came from, the people who drank the equivalent of three or more cups of tea each day had an overall 21 percent lower risk of stroke as compared to the subjects who drank less than one cup daily. (8)
5. Relieves an Upset Stomach
If you have an upset stomach and are experiencing diarrhea, then one nice strong cup of black tea may be just the answer. The tannins present in black tea have a helpful astringent effect on the intestinal lining, which can help calm inflammation in the intestines and get the diarrhea under control.
If you’re concerned you’re dehydrated, you can opt for decaffeinated black tea. A 2016 study showed that in 2- to 12-year-old patients with acute nonbacterial diarrhea, black tea tablets were not only an effective, but also a safe and inexpensive way to help manage diarrhea not caused by bacteria. (9)
6. Holds Antibacterial Ability
Black tea isn’t just a tasty beverage hot or cold — it also possesses potent antibacterial and antioxidant powers. Research has shown that black tea’s phenolic compounds as well as its tannins have the ability to inhibit some types of bacteria. In addition, the non-polymeric phenolic compounds are able to be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, making these bacteria-killing components of black tea orally active. (10)
Black tea consumed with honey has also been shown to specifically kill H. pylori bacteria, which can prevent all kinds of unwanted symptoms of a H. pylori, infection including ulcers. (11)
7. Lowers Stress Hormones
This is definitely one of my favorite black tea benefits. While coffee is known for getting some people a little too energetic, tea has a reputation for being more of a balanced caffeine source and even a relaxation beverage that can work as a stress reliever. Research has shown that black tea can actually help its drinkers better recover from the common daily stresses of life by bringing stress hormones, like cortisol, back down.
In one study, 75 healthy male tea drinkers with an average age of 33 all gave their usual caffeinated beverages and were split into two groups. For the following six weeks, one group consumed a fruit-flavored caffeinated black tea mixture containing the active ingredients found in a cup of tea while the other group drank a beverage that tasted the same and had the same level of caffeine yet did not contain any other active tea components. The subjects then underwent stress-inducing situation similar to what they would experience in normal life. Researchers kept track of their stress hormone and blood pressure levels as well as their heart rates and self-reported stress levels.
What did they find? The tasks were definitely stress-inducing according to all of the monitored health variables, yet 50 minutes after the stressor took place, the real black tea drinking group experienced a lowering of their cortisol levels that was noticeably lower in comparison to the fake black tea drinkers. The real black tea consumers also had their sense of relaxation rise after the stressful event compared to the fake group. And to add one more positive result of this study — black tea drinkers had lower blood platelet activation, which is involved in blood clot formation, which raises the risk of heart attack. (12)
What Else Is Black Tea Good For?
These are some doses of black tea by mouth that have been shown to be beneficial in scientific research for the following health concerns:
Headaches and mental alertness: up to 250 milligrams of caffeine per day to alleviate headaches and improve mental alertness
Heart attack and kidney stones: at least one cup of black tea each day to reduce heart attack and kidney stone risk
Atherosclerosis: one to four cups (125 to 500 milliliters) of brewed black tea each day to prevent hardening of the arteries
Parkinson’s disease: Men who consumed 421 to 2,716 milligrams of total caffeine (approximately five to 33 cups of black tea) daily seem to have the lowest risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. However, men who drink as little as 124 to 208 milligrams of caffeine (about one to three cups of black tea) daily also have a significantly lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. In women, one to four cups of black tea per day seems to be best.
Alzheimer’s disease: Recent research gleaned from studying 957 Chinese seniors 55 and older found that “regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly by 50 percent, while APOE e4 gene carriers who are genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may experience a reduction in cognitive impairment risk by as much as 86 percent.” (13)
I want to note that I certainly don’t recommend having 33 cups of black tea per day. We all handle caffeine differently, but in general it’s not recommended to have more than five cups (40 ounces) of black tea each day.
Black Tea vs. Green Tea vs. White Tea
Black, green and white tea all share the same tea source, which is the tea plant. The processing of tea results in the different colors, flavors and health benefits of tea. After picking, white tea is the least processed while black tea is the most processed. White tea is the closest you can get to just picking a tea leaf off the plant and incurs very little oxidation. Meanwhile, green tea gets dried and undergoes a pan-frying or steam-heating process depending on the variety. Black tea is made using leaves that have oxidized, which means they were purposely permitted to wilt and brown after picking.
The ORAC value (antioxidant content) of brewed black tea is 1,128 while green tea is slightly higher at 1,253. So green tea definitely wins when it comes to antioxidants, but it’s probably not by as much as you expected. (14)
Black, green and white tea all share common tea benefits thanks to their polyphenols, which science has shown to have antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and immune-stimulating effects. (15)
Green tea is usually lower in caffeine than black tea while green tea is typically lower than white tea. Research has shown that green and white tea have similar levels of health-promoting catechins and polyphenols. (16)
Black Tea Plant Origin and Nutrition Facts
What is black tea? Black tea comes from the young leaves and leaf buds of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Black, white and green tea are all derived from this same tea plant. What sets them apart is how the leaves are treated after picking. Black tea is more oxidized than oolong, green and white teas, which also makes it more strong in flavor. It’s also the highest in caffeine of the varieties. The caffeine content of brewed black tea is considered moderate, typically averaging around 42 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces, but it can be anywhere between 14 and 70 milligrams. (17, 18)
There are different grades of black. Whole leaf black tea is the highest grade and has a very small amount or even no changes to the tea leaf. These highest grade black teas are called “orange pekoe.” Pekoe tea is then further classified according to how many of the adjacent young leaves (two, one or none) were picked along with the leaf buds. The highest-quality pekoe tea only contains the hand-picked leaf buds. (19)
The lower grade black teas consist of broken leaves, fannings and dust. The black tea you find in tea bags is most often dust and fannings, which allow for a quicker brew but also a stronger, harsher taste. Whole leaf black teas tend to be less harsh and more floral.
All black tea is made from oxidized tea leaves or, in other words, tea leaves that were allowed to wilt and brown after they were picked. This oxidation causes the formation of theaflavins and thearubigins in black tea, which are compounds that are responsible for black tea’s color and taste, and also its possible health benefits.
One cup of brewed black tea contains about: (20)
0.5 milligrams manganese (26 percent DV)
11.9 micrograms folate (3 percent DV)
Black tea’s ORAC score of 1,128 is also quite impressive. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, and this is a way of measuring the antioxidant content of food and beverages, which was developed by the National Institutes of Health. Black tea benefits are definitely directly related to this high antioxidant content.
How to Choose and Make the Best Black Tea
To optimize black tea benefits, opt for a black tea that is both organic and loose leaf. To avoid pesticides, it’s best to buy organic black. It’s also a good idea to buy loose black tea rather than black tea bags to avoid chemicals in the bags and to get the highest quality black tea.
The healthiest black tea preparation seems to involve high water brewing temperature and no added dairy fat. According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, adding milk to black tea appears to lower its antioxidant potential, especially full fat cow’s milk. In addition, researchers found that brewing black tea at a near-boiling temperature (90°C or 194°F) results in the highest amount of antioxidants and hence health benefits. (21)
How to brew loose leaf black tea:
Boil water in tea kettle.
Using your teaware of choice, add one to two tablespoons of loose black tea to eight ounces or 12 ounces of just boiled 212 degrees F water (depending on how strong you like your tea as well as your mug size).
Allow three to five minutes of steeping time.
Serve in your favorite mug and enjoy!
Brewing can vary between different varieties of black tea so always read packaging directions carefully.
Black Tea Recipes
Black tea benefits can obviously come from a nice hot cup of tea. Black tea can also be consumed cold as iced tea. Another way to get black tea benefits in liquid form? You can use it to make a probiotic-rich kombucha.
Other tasty ways to get black tea benefits:
Black tea has many uses in the kitchen, but I also want to know what an awesome natural beauty aid it can be as well. Here are some non-food ways to make the most of black tea benefits:
Black Tea History and Interesting Facts
Black tea benefits are definitely not a new thing. For thousands of years, tea has been consumed has a medicinal beverage. In approximately the third century AD, experts say that tea started to be consumed daily, and this is when tea cultivation and processing started up. The very first published account of tea planting, processing and drinking methods is said to be from 350 AD. In the 1800s, tea began to spread further from China and Japan to Taiwan, Indonesia, Burma and India. (22)
In the mid 1800s, the British introduced tea culture into India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Today, the top five producers of tea in the world are China (No. 1), India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey. (23) Being the second most popular beverage in the world after water, it’s no wonder that tea is mass-produced all across the globe.
When you steep black tea, you allow the flavor the tea to infuse the hot water. The more steep time, the more intense the flavor and vice versa. Scientists say that you shouldn’t steep your black tea for any less than two minutes, but apparently research has shown that a whopping 80 percent of tea drinkers don’t wait for even that small amount of time. Plus, 40 percent drink their tea immediately, which means they get a less flavorful, less antioxidant-rich, very weak brew. (24) To get the most black tea benefits, you definitely want to allow ample steeping time.
Potential Side Effects, Caution and Medication Interactions
Is tea bad for you ever? A caffeine overdose is an inherent risk that comes with consuming black tea, but it’s easy to avoid if you don’t overdo it. It’s recommended that you should not have more than five cups per day. More than that is considered unsafe. You can also become psychologically dependent on tea’s caffeine. (25) Black tea benefits are definitely best experienced in moderation for these reasons.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, drinking no more than three cups of black tea (about 200 milligrams caffeine) is considered to likely be safe. However, consuming more than this amount is possibly unsafe and has been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome and other negative effects, including symptoms of caffeine withdrawal in newborns and lower birth weight. (26)
If you have any ongoing health issues or currently take medication, check with your doctor before consuming black tea. There are a number of possible black tea medication interactions.
Black tea can decrease the body’s absorption of iron. If you don’t have an iron deficiency, this is likely not a concern. However, if you’re concerned, it’s recommended to drink black tea in between meals rather than with meals to decrease the unwanted interaction. Black tea may also react with supplements, including but not limited to bitter orange, cordyceps, calcium, magnesium, caffeine-containing supplements and herbs, danshen, creatine, echinacea, folic acid, melatonin, and red clover.
It’s possible to have a food allergy to black tea. Testing can determine if you have one. Discontinue consumption of black tea if you show any signs of a food allergy, especially if severe.
Final Thoughts on Black Tea Benefits
So far, black tea benefits proven by science are quite impressive, including boosting heart health, decreasing diabetes risk, fighting cancer and lowering stress, just to name a few. High-quality black tea in moderation can definitely be a healthy addition to your diet. It’s also a great option if you’re currently looking to cut back on your coffee consumption. By swapping out a cup of coffee for a cup of black tea, you can still get the boost of mental alertness but with less caffeine.
Everyone’s feelings and limits with caffeine are different so be mindful of that when drinking black tea. You can also experiment with all of the many delicious varieties of black tea to figure out which one best suits your taste buds. When you do have a cup of black tea, try to make it a relaxing and rejuvenating time for yourself because that makes the black tea benefits even greater.