Records show that typically, Americans consume 80 billion cups of tea a year with green and black tea topping the list as the favorite kinds. Both teas are sourced from the same plant, but they have differences which not many people know. So, what is the difference between green tea and black tea?
What Is the Difference Between Green Tea and Black Tea? It Starts with the Preparation
Yes, they come from the same source since all teas come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. And there are health benefits in consuming either of the two teas. Given this information, what is the difference between green tea and black tea?
Their difference starts with the preparation as well as the oxidation of these two beverages.
In preparing black teas, the entire leaves are taken out when the tea plant’s freshness is at its peak. Camellia Sinensis is then left to wither, which cuts down the amount of water in the tea plant. The leaves are taken elsewhere for drying and oxidizing as part of the fermentation process. This part of the preparation then changes the chemical make-up of the tea leaves.
Leaves end up darker when left longer to oxidize. Black tea has its bold color because of its long oxidation time.
On the other hand, green tea follows a slightly different preparation process. Leaves are also removed from the tea plant but do not go into fermentation. The green tea leaves that are taken out are either oven-dried, pan-fried or even steamed to stop oxidation from happening.
Green tea has its color because it does not undergo the fermentation process, which is the reason also why it has a light plant-based taste.
Green or Black Tea For Health Benefits
Naturally, the difference in the green and black teas preparation process will affect both beverages’ health benefits. A common question asked is which tea will give more health benefits?
In terms of cancer prevention, the clear winner would be green tea. It is a rich source of cancer-fighting elements, particularly catechins, which belongs to the family of flavanol. The epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG is one catechin found in the green tea which helps in the regulation of the gene activities of cancer cells.
Research has shown that the EGCG is a potent fighter of cancer growth. For example, one study shared by the “Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology” revealed that EGCG helps in the promotion of the cancer cell death. Another research concluded that EGCG could also fight off colon cancer cells.
Many people prefer tea over coffee as their source of caffeine. Contrary to popular belief, consumption of caffeine is not that bad. In fact, drinking caffeine has many benefits like reducing the risk of throat and mouth cancer by 50 percent and reducing the risk of suffering from stroke by 22 percent. It can also aid in preventing type 2 Diabetes.
Green and black teas have different caffeine content. A typical black tea has 42 to 72 milligrams of caffeine in one cup while green tea would have between nine to 50 milligrams. Drinking caffeine may increase one’s mental alertness, which could enhance productivity and sometimes even help in weight loss.
But too much caffeine can prevent people from getting a good night of sleep. Green is preferable for those who drink teas several times a day to ensure one does not go overboard with their caffeine consumption. But black tea is a good choice, too, as long as one can control the number of cups they drink in one day.
For those worried about their cardiovascular health, then both black and green teas can help as both can improve the function of the blood vessels. However, green tea can aid more in cardiovascular problems since it is abundant in EGCG, which can interact with cells found in the lining of the blood vessels and in turn shields these cells from stress.
When controlling blood cholesterol, green tea also does wonders since it can boost the good cholesterol in the bloodstream as well as cut down the bad ones.
Flouride is needed to support teeth and bones since it can help prevent cavities and harden the teeth. Both beverages contain fluoride, but black tea has more in one serving.
If one is concerned about their skin, then either green or black tea will help. Both drinks have anti-oxidants, which can help delay the aging of the skin and its rejuvenation by getting rid of harsh radicals. In fact, placing tea bags on the eyes to reduce swelling and puffiness is a common practice regardless whether the tea is black or green.
However, green tea has more antioxidants, which makes it a better alternative.
Experts would always say that drinking tea is beneficial for anyone. This is probably the reason why this beverage is the second most consumed drink, only next to water. But given the many types of teas available these days, it is best to know the differences as well as benefits of each kind.
All teas come from the same plant. They only vary in the preparation process which would account for the differences in their health benefits. Both green and black tea can aid in preventing certain health problems like cardiovascular diseases, cancers and type 2 Diabetes, just to name a few.
Both teas can also provide fluoride, which helps strengthen bones and teeth. Either green or black tea can be used as a substitute for coffee as the primary caffeine source that helps drinkers increase their energy and alertness temporarily. Plus, tea lovers would benefit by drinking either of the two if they want a clearer skin. Both green and black teas help in the rejuvenation of the skin and can delay the aging process.
So, which is better to drink? It really depends on the reasons why one wants to consume a particular type of tea.
If a person wants to drink green or black because of its respective taste, then it should not be a problem. But if an individual wants to consume tea for a specific health benefit, then it is best to check which type is better in fighting and preventing that particular disease. For example, if a person wants to consume more fluoride by drinking tea, then the black one is the better option.
It is not a bad idea, too to alternate the consumption of the two beverages. After all, there is no rule of law which says that a person must only take one kind of tea.