You want to get healthy and get into tea. But which tea is better to drink? Green tea or Black Tea?
What are the differences between Black and Green tea?
Black Tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant. The exact same plant as green tea. The difference? Oxidation! The same process that turns an apple brown, or rusts your car. This is often confused with fermentation. True fermentation means there is some microbial process taking place - such as sauerkraut. For the most part, Pu-erh tea is the only type of tea that undergoes true fermentation. Simply put, black tea leaves are dried and crushed which allow enzymes to convert the regular catechins found in green teas to more complex forms known as theaflavins and thearubigens. These antioxidants found in black tea are responsible for it's flavor, dark color and most of it's benefits.
Caffeine Content and Health Differences
Regardless of the color, all teas have health benefits. And even though there aren't going to be clinical studies that offer definitive proof, there really isn't a downside to drinking tea.
A few people may argue the above statement, but lets be clear, we are not talking about drinking five gallons a day. Moderate tea consumption taken without sugar will have benefits provided when combined with other healthy habits. These healthy habits combined tend to lead to a longer and higher quality life. If you google 'blue zones' you'll find a lot of evidence that drinking tea is a habit shared by many centenarians, be it from the Greek Isles to Okinawa, Japan.
Although some people mistakenly prefer green tea because they believe it has no caffeine, it actually just has a lower caffeine content than most black teas. In the battle of which tea has more health benefits, both teas are healthy but in different ways.
A big difference between the health benefits of each tea is that because green tea isn't oxidized it has a large amount of catechins left, one of these catechins called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, regulates cancer cells and might fight cancer growth. If you're looking to ward off the dangers of cancer regular green tea usage may be the way to go for you! Because black tea goes through the process of oxidation, it has theaflavins and thearubigins, these promote cardiovascular health with benefits such as improving blood vessel function.
So...which is healthier?
If you had cancer, or are want some insurance against it - drinking green tea may help. Will it cure cancer? No. Is it guaranteed to prevent it? No. But it will better your odds assuming you don't eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, McDonald's for lunch and Taco Bell for dinner. To be clear, the FDA allows the language 'may reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer' for green tea since 2012.
But the phrase - 'which one is healthier' is like asking is a banana or an orange healthier? They both have their own benefits. Our advice, if cancer prevention is your goal, or maybe you have cancer that runs in the family, a bias towards green tea wouldn't hurt. If cardiovascular health is important to you, maybe black tea should be your go-to.
Either way....All tea is good.
But for overall health, why not drink both? Or try a green/black blend. Think of eating like investing in the stock market. Do you invest in only one or two stocks? NO! Same for diet. A well BALANCED diet using a common sense approach where you do not overdo one category of food, and tweak based on your body type is a sensible approach. As for drinking tea - a basket of good quality tea is all you need. If you are new to tea, drinking black in the morning, green/oolong in the afternoon and herbal at night is a great way to incorporate tea as an every day companion.