English breakfast tea is simply black tea without added herbs or other ingredients. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, this beverage, made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, is the second most widely consumed drink in the world, after water. Because black tea can retain its flavor for years, it has been a popular article of trade for centuries, creating important relations between nations throughout the planet. People who drink English breakfast tea each morning can enjoy a variety of health benefits from its flavonoid content and from other nutrients it contains.
Joseph Vita, M.D., a researcher at the Boston University School of Medicine, conducted a study of 70 people with coronary arteries that were at least 70 percent blocked. After drinking black tea instead of other beverages for four weeks, blood vessel functioning improved by nearly 50 percent, leading Dr. Vita to conclude that drinking black tea can prevent or reverse some types of artery diseases and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Dr. Vita and other researchers believe that the tea's concentration of flavonoids, plant compounds that behave as antioxidants, prevent the formation of plaque in artery walls and may be responsible for these results.
Drinking English breakfast tea might prevent or slow the growth of cancer cells. Researchers at Rutgers University identified a compound in black tea known as theaflavin-3'-monogallate, or TF-2, that caused colorectal cancer cells to destroy themselves without harming normal cells. In addition, they found that TF-2 suppressed Cox 2, a gene that is often associated with colon cancer. Because Cox 2 initially triggers the inflammation that causes normal cells to become cancerous, the researchers believe that TF-2 could potentially prevent cancer from forming.
Dental Health Benefits
Most people consume 2 to 3 milligrams of fluoride per day, through fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and food. According to Science Daily, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia conducted a study showing that black tea could contain as many as 9 milligrams of fluoride per liter. Because an intake of up to 20 milliliters per day is considered safe, drinking black tea could help prevent tooth decay. In 1995, the UK's Northwest Dental Public Health Resource Centre conducted a study of more than 6,000 children, giving tea to some and carbonated beverages to others. The latter group experienced higher levels of tooth decay, while the tea drinkers had lower levels, even when sugar was added to the tea.
Kidney Stone Prevention
English breakfast tea could help prevent kidney stones. At Brigham and Womens' Hospital in Boston, a four-year study of more than 80,000 women indicated that, for each 8-ounce cup of black tea consumed daily, the risk of developing kidney stones decreased by 8 percent. Doctors often recommend drinking a high amount of fluids to prevent kidney stones, but the researchers add that the type of fluids you drink can increase or decrease your risk. A daily glass of grapefruit juice can increase your risk, for example, while drinking black tea may decrease it.