Tea is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. Its popularity is on the rise and in some places, it is even preferred over coffee. It is a refreshing, flavorful drink and comes with a host of health benefits too.
Tea drinkers have been asking this question for decades now—which is healthier—green tea or black tea? Well, both of them have different properties and have antioxidant properties.
While they taste different and have different health benefits, both green and black tea actually come from the same plant.
Let’s take a deeper look at how they differ from each other and understand the benefits they offer to determine which tea would suit you best.
Green Tea Vs Black Tea Antioxidants?
Camellia sinensis is the scientific name of the tea plant. Both green and black tea come from the same plant. It is the processing that sets them apart.
Black tea is crushed and fermented before it reaches you, whereas green tea is left to wither and steamed. The leaves of this plant are rich in polyphenols which is a compound that only occurs in plant-based foods.
Polyphenols have antioxidant properties and are known to reduce your risk of contracting several diseases.
Tea, no matter what kind, has about 10 times more polyphenols than veggies and fruits. It has a host of health benefits and boosts metabolism too.
Antioxidants In Green Tea
Green tea is rich in epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG, one of the many polyphenols present in tea. EGCG is the primary factor behind the long list of health benefits provided by green tea.
Studies have found that the antioxidant properties of EGCG prevent the multiplication of cancer cells and kill them off too.
They also reduce the buildup of amyloid plaques, which is a major concern in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. EGCG can break through the cell walls of bacteria and could also prevent you from contracting viruses.
The calming effects of green tea have been documented for hundreds of years. It is actually the EGCG that communicates with brain receptors and promotes relaxation in the body. Animal studies also found that green tea helps fight fatigue too.
Even though most of the research with green tea has been carried out as test-tube studies or animal studies, the results are promising and suggest that drinking green tea can have profound health benefits because of the high levels of EGCG it contains.
Antioxidants in Black Tea
Black is rich in theaflavins. They are a kind of polyphenol created when black tea goes through the process of oxidization. Since green tea is processed in a different way, it does not contain this polyphenol.
Theaflavins make up 3 to 6% of all the polyphenols in black tea. They are powerful antioxidants and offer a wide range of health benefits.
Free radicals are all around us and it is almost impossible to stay away from them. Theaflavins help protect our fat cells from getting damaged by free radicals. They also promote the natural production of antioxidants in our bodies.
Preliminary research also shows that they could protect our body’s cardiovascular system too.
Inflammation can cause a lot of chronic diseases. An animal study discovered that theaflavins reduce inflammation in the body, which reduces the risk of plaque forming in our blood vessels.
Nitric oxide becomes more available in the body and helps in the dilation of blood vessels.
They also lower cholesterol and keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Preliminary research has found that theaflavins could help in breaking down fat, which makes them an important tool in managing obesity.
Which Tea Is Better for You?
As we’ve mentioned, both green and black tea come from the leaves of the same plant. It is only the method of processing that sets them apart. They contain different polyphenols, but they have very similar antioxidant properties.
Studies have found that both green and black tea have the same effect when it comes to improving the functioning of blood vessels.
Most of the current research suggests that green tea has more potent antioxidant properties than black tea, but some studies suggest that they are equally effective.
Contrary to popular opinion, tea does have caffeine. Black tea is higher in caffeine than green tea, so if you generally avoid caffeine, green tea is the natural choice for you.
It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which has a soothing effect and balances out the influence of caffeine. Those who need that caffeine kick can stick to black tea.
Both green and black tea have a ton of scientifically-backed health benefits, but remember that they both contain tannins. Tannins are also a polyphenol, but they restrict the absorption of minerals in the body.
Whether you choose black or green, it is best to enjoy tea in between meals.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Tea
Here are the common health benefits of drinking black or green tea:
Good For Your Heart
Tea contains a lot of polyphenols. They contain different kinds of polyphenols, but both of them are believed to contribute to keeping your heart healthy.
Both black and green tea were found to be good at reducing the formation of plaque in blood vessels. They also lowered LDL, commonly known as bad cholesterol and a type of fat called triglycerides.
A review of scientific studies also found that consuming tea was effective in lowering blood pressure.
Studies also show that regularly drinking green tea or black tea lowers the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Can Improve Brain Function
Tea contains caffeine, which is a stimulant for humans. If you don’t like coffee but need the boost in energy that comes from drinking it, switching to tea could be a better option for you.
The presence of caffeine blocks adenosine, a neurotransmitter. It also promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that enhance your mood.
Thus, the caffeine in green tea can boost your mood, improve alertness and enhance short-term memory.
Tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine. Coffee does not contain this amino acid.
L-theanine has a relaxing effect on the body, so you remain in an alert but soothed state. If you dislike the jittery feeling caused by the caffeine in coffee but need to feel alert and ward off sleepiness, tea might be the solution to your problems.
Helps Lose Weight
Drinking tea helps boost your metabolism. This means that you will lose weight faster if you drink tea regularly.
However, just drinking tea will not help you lose weight. You need to have a balanced diet and exercise every day.
Drinking tea in addition to having a healthy lifestyle will surely make you lose weight faster. The caffeine in tea also burns fat faster, so drinking tea will help you get the most out of your daily workouts too.
Tea contains tannins, which are a kind of polyphenol. They have antioxidant properties and help you fight common diseases like the cold or seasonal flu.
Improving immunity is a good way to maintain your overall health. Drinking tea also helps prevent a lot of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Green Tea Vs Black Tea Antioxidants: Wrapping Up
Green tea and black tea are both rich in polyphenols. Each of them has a wide variety of health benefits and they offer a lot of the same benefits too.
Choosing between them largely depends on your personal preference and individual needs. One major difference is that black tea contains more caffeine. This can help you make a decision between the two.
You can also drink either black or green tea and go for the other one when you feel like a change. There are so many different kinds of teas that you will never run out of options. There is a flavor to suit every palate and the list of health benefits speaks for itself.