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Black tea vs. green tea: Which offers more benefits?

Comparing black tea and green tea

red teapot and white cup on wooden table outside with green trees in background
Jorge Garcia / Unsplash

Today, most drinks usually have way too much added sugar and other questionable ingredients. Unless it’s sugar-loaded, tea is considered a healthier alternative to many of the beverages out there. Tea lovers look forward to a nice, soothing, warm cup of black tea at the start or end of a long day. Other tea people prefer a nice, cool, and refreshing green tea poured over ice. Whether you prefer green or black tea, you might be wondering about the benefits, what the research shows, and which type of tea provides more benefits. 

glass teapot pouring black tea into a glass cup on white table
Petr Sidorov / Unsplash

What is black tea?

Black tea is a beverage derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant species that originated in China. The different types of black tea are often mixed with other plants to achieve distinct flavors, such as Earl Grey. It’s called black tea because the leaves are left to oxidize in the air before being processed, turning them a darker color. Black tea has a more potent flavor that it has retained for several years, and it’s one of the most consumed beverages around the globe.

To make tea, you steep your tea leaves or tea bag in hot water for several minutes before removing the bag or straining out the tea leaves and adding your preferred sweeteners or milk.

black tea leaves spilling out from white and red ceramic jar onto dark wooden table
Petr Sidorov / Unsplash

What are the benefits of black tea?

Black tea is known to provide a range of health benefits, largely due to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Antioxidants

Black tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols that can decrease cell damage in your body, promote better health, and potentially lower your risk of chronic disease. Animal studies show these polyphenols reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Gut health

The polyphenols in black tea have been shown to promote the growth of good gut bacteria and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria, which could improve gut health. The type of bacteria in your gut plays a big role in lowering your risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity.

Lower cancer risk

The polyphenols in black tea could promote the death of cancer cells and slow the development of certain types of cancer.

White tea cup or mug with red love heart handle on pink table and background
Rauf Alvi / Unsplash

Heart health

You can find flavonoid antioxidants in black tea, veggies, fruits, and dark chocolate. Frequently consuming flavonoids could help reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. For example, a large study compared people who hadn’t drunk tea in the last year with people who drank tea every day. This interesting study revealed that daily tea drinkers had a 10% reduced risk of major cardiac events like heart attacks and an 8% reduced risk of heart disease. Research reveals drinking black tea could even lower your blood sugar after a snack or meal (postprandial glucose). 

clear glass cup of tea with green leaves and tea bag on green background
Laark Boshoff / Unsplash

What is green tea?

Green tea also originated in China, and today, green tea plants are grown worldwide. While green tea is also derived from the same plant species as black tea, they have a different look and flavor because the leaves undergo different processing methods. While black tea leaves are left out to oxidize in the air, the leaves to make green tea are promptly heated and dried to prevent oxidation. The leaves retain their bright green color and most of their vitamins and minerals.

There are different varieties of green tea depending on the time of harvest, growing conditions, processing, and the type of C. sinensis plant species. 

green tea leaves in a white bowl on a wooden tray on a wooden background
Jia Ye / Unsplash

What are the benefits of green tea?

Here are just some of the evidence-based benefits of green tea.

Anticancer

Some people take a green tea supplement due to the plant-based compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG, which has been proven to have anticancer benefits as well as protect liver health. The chlorophyll in green tea might also have anticancer properties and assist detoxification. 

Antioxidants

Green tea is also rich in antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage and lower the risk of disease.

measuring blood sugar with a white handheld blood sugar monitor on a wooden table
Isens USA / Unsplash

Blood sugar

Green tea helps suppress the rise in blood sugar following the consumption of starchy foods.

Focus and mood

The theanine amino acid in green tea has been shown to lower anxiety and stress and improve mood and cognition. Green tea also contains gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA that’s been proven to boost mood and help prevent depression.

Fat-burning

According to the research, green tea could ramp up fat-burning along with diet and exercise.

light up sign saying tea people with an arrow on a black background
Jason Leung / Unsplash

Which offers more benefits?

While both green tea and black tea have antioxidants and provide similar benefits, such as improving focus and protecting heart health, it seems green tea provides more benefits overall, specifically for cancer. Some health professionals and advocates believe green tea is healthier because the green tea leaves aren’t left to oxidize, and the green tea retains much of the vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, and higher amounts of EGCG.

On the other hand, black tea usually contains more caffeine, which could help you stay focused; however, too much caffeine can have adverse effects. No matter whether you prefer green or black tea, tea people can rejoice knowing that there are plenty of evidence-based benefits.

Steph Green
Steph Green is a content writer specializing in healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. With over ten years of experience, she…
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