Black and green teas come from the same plant, camellia sinensis, but their cultivation, harvesting, processing and brewing methods can be quite different. In order to understand the full range of ways in which these two very popular teas differ, we’ll explore some common questions and answers about the comparison.
It’s valuable to begin by understanding that antioxidants in both black and green tea can deliver a significant health benefit, namely the ability to fight against cancer and many other ailments. Generally speaking, because black tea is fermented it doesn’t contain as many antioxidants as green teas, which are not fermented.
What’s the main difference between green and black tea?
Even though the two derive from the exact same plant, camellia sinensis, black tea undergoes oxidation when it is exposed to pure oxygen during processing, but green tea does not. It’s the oxidation that causes the (originally) green tea leaves to turn black. This simple but important difference accounts for almost all the other variations in taste, nutrient profile, color, and chemical properties between black and green tea.
What about antioxidants?
All tea comes from the same plant, but exposure to oxygen depletes the EGCG (epigallocatechin) from the leaves. EGCG is a key antioxidant that remains in green tea leaves because they aren’t oxidized.
Which kind of tea helps most with weight loss?
The jury is out on whether black or green tea is better for weight loss. Green teas have higher caffeine content and other nutrients that can boost metabolism in a healthful way. But recent research indicates that black tea has a unique effect on intestinal bacteria that can also lead to weight loss.
What about bone health benefits of black and green tea?
Black tea wins the comparison on this point, but even green tea contains some of the fluoride responsible for this key benefit. The human body is able to transform fluoride into a substance that makes up the bones and teeth. This is one of the reasons that black tea has a reputation for being able to prevent cavities. However, the difference in fluoride content between black and green tea is minimal.
What’s the difference when it comes to heart health?
While both have the ability to boost heart health by shielding the heart’s cells from stress, green tea has more of the substance that gets this task done. Green tea is also more capable of helping with cholesterol regulation. Black tea does have at least some ability to help improve the function of blood vessels, which is an important benefit for those who are concerned with coronary artery problems.
What is the numerical difference in caffeine levels?
Green tea has somewhere between 10 and 50 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving, while its black counterpart carries a bit more at 42-72 per cup. As long as you don’t drink too much caffeine, which can lead to sleeplessness, this difference bodes well for black tea. Caffeine has been shown to help with alertness and weight loss. For most people, drinking four or fewer cups of tea per day does not pose a problem.
What are the top benefits of black tea?
For starters, black tea is quite simple to prepare, with either bags or loose leaves. With leaves, use about 3 grams for every 6 ounces of hot water and let it steep for 5 minutes to get the full flavor.
The other benefits are:
-Better focus due to the amino acid L-theanine and caffeine content. Both are shown to help with mental focus.
-The polyphenols in black tea might be able to prevent the growth of certain cancer cells. There is some evidence that black tea can lower the risk of getting cancer and stunt the growth of existing cancer cells.
-Black tea can help reduce blood sugar levels because it is non-sweetened and has the ability to help the body use insulin more efficiently.
-Black tea has been shown in some studies to be a possible preventive measure against strokes due to its ability to strengthen blood vessels.
-People who drink black tea probably have a better chance of controlling their blood pressure, though research is inconclusive.
-Polyphenols in black tea can assist the growth of helpful bacteria in the stomach and inhibit harmful bacteria’s growth.
-Black tea has the ability to lower the LDL, or harmful, cholesterol in the bloodstream.
-Flavinoids in black tea might be able to cut down the risk for heart disease, and can also lead to lower triglyceride levels.
What about the benefits of green tea?
There’s a lot of overlap with the benefits of green and black tea, but a few points are unique to each drink. Here are the key benefits of green tea:
-Its caffeine can help with mental clarity, performance, and function.
-Catechins in green tea probably are able to protect the human brain against diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but research is still ongoing.
-Green tea can help to burn excess bodily fat and speed up the metabolism. In addition, it has the ability to prevent obesity and help people lose weight.
-Green tea can also assist people who need to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes.
-The polyphenol profile of green tea is likely able to fight against breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and a host of cardiovascular diseases.
-Green tea can help improve a person’s dental health by fighting against bacteria that cause tooth decay. It can also help ward off the flu and other infectious viruses.
-Green tea has been shown to assist digestion and help alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
-Other demonstrated benefits of green tea include better mood, deeper relaxation levels, improved bone health, and deeper sleep.
Note: Health discussions and data in this article are not to be taken as any kind of medical advice. Always speak to a healthcare professional if you have questions about what you should or shouldn’t eat and drink.