Black tea and green tea are both esteemed for their health benefits, but there’s some debate over which is the better version of the drink if you’re drinking it for your health. Green tea offers additional benefits that black tea doesn’t have, and black tea poses a few health risks that green tea doesn’t.
Both black and green tea have ingredients that benefit health, but green tea is higher in healthy antioxidants. Black tea also has a high volume of oxalates, a chemical that affects kidney function negatively. This can cause kidney stones and other problems if black tea is drunk in large amounts.
If you’re not a fan of green tea, black tea still offers many similar benefits. However, there are some potential side effects to consider if you choose to drink black tea over green tea for your health. Keep reading to learn more about black tea versus green tea and which is more healthy for you to drink.
Black Tea vs. Green Tea: Which Is Healthier?
The health benefits offered by both black and green tea have been acknowledged for centuries. However, it’s only in the past several decades that science has confirmed what tea enthusiasts have known since the days of ancient China: drinking tea every day can help keep you healthy. But which of these two types of tea is healthier?
The truth is that both black and green tea offer many of the same health benefits since they’re technically the same plant. Drinking either one will provide many health benefits, from cancer prevention to improved mood, to tea helping you poop.
The main difference between black and green tea is that black tea is oxidized, while green tea is processed while the plant is still immature and uncured. This gives green tea a lighter flavor than black tea. It also gives green tea different medicinal and chemical properties than black tea.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
If black tea is your preference, there are plenty of health advantages associated with choosing it as your breakfast drink of choice. Here are just a few reasons healthwise why you might want to take up drinking black tea:
- Antioxidant polyphenols: Black tea is full of antioxidants that help prevent many systemic diseases, such as stroke and cancer.
- Decreased inflammation: Black tea reduces inflammation in the body associated with diseases such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
- Reduced cholesterol: Regular consumption of black tea lowers cholesterol levels, even in obese patients.
- Improved blood pressure: Patients with both high and low blood pressure show improvement after a regimen of black tea therapy.
Black tea can provide many positive buffers for your health and well-being if you make a point to drink it daily, especially if you drink it in place of less healthy drinks like sodas or cocktails.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
When it comes to drinking tea for health benefits, you can’t downplay the medicinal qualities of green tea. This style of tea has been revered as a health cure-all for hundreds of years across much of Asia, especially in its native China.
On top of the benefits associated with black tea in the list above, here are a few additional health benefits that are specifically associated with green tea:
- Improved blood flow: Green tea has been shown to improve blood flow. This helps prevent a variety of cardiovascular disorders, from stroke to heart attack.
- Weight loss: Even though green tea hasn’t been shown to significantly reduce weight on its own, it makes a healthy replacement drink for calorie-heavy beverages such as soda and beer.
- Reduced caffeine: Green tea contains less caffeine than black tea, making it a good option for people sensitive to caffeine or trying to give it up. This also means you’re less likely to experience the negative side effects associated with caffeine consumption if you drink green tea.
- Supports brain health: Green tea has been shown to help prevent degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. This is due to a chemical found in black tea known as L-theanine. This is also the chemical responsible for tea’s relaxing effects since it reduces cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress. There have even been studies which show that tea can make you smarter and help you study.
At the end of the day, green tea offers all of the health benefits of black tea and then some. If you’re drinking tea based on its health properties alone, this would make green tea the winner of the contest.
Is Black Tea Bad for Your Kidneys?
One of the drawbacks of black tea versus green tea is that black tea is full of oxalates. While not harmful in small quantities, these chemicals can strain your kidney function over time if you ingest black tea in large amounts.
Another issue with black tea and kidney function is the same oxalates which can cause kidney problems in large amounts can also create kidney stones in people susceptible to them.
Kidney stones are an extremely painful condition that can sometimes only be corrected with surgery. Kidney stones can sometimes be avoided through dietary changes like avoiding black tea and other foods with high amounts of oxalates.
So what does this mean for black tea drinkers? As long as you limit your tea consumption to a few cups or glasses a day, you shouldn’t be in any kind of danger, and you’ll derive many health benefits from black tea. It just isn’t a good idea to drink black tea all day long.
Choosing Between Green and Black Tea
Choosing between green and black tea for health reasons may make green tea the clear winner, but that’s not the only factor that goes into choosing which tea you drink on a daily basis. So how do you pick which tea is better for your long-term health goals? These are a few things to consider:
- Taste preferences: Green tea and black tea taste pretty different from each other, with oxidized black tea having a more bitter and varied flavor than most green teas. Some people may prefer the taste of black tea to green tea, and vice versa. Both offer enough health benefits to make them worth picking.
- Kidney health: If you’re an individual who is prone to kidney stones or have other issues with kidney troubles such as kidney infections, you may want to avoid a daily dose of black tea. Since black tea can contain high levels of oxalates, this can worsen any kidney problems you might already have.
- Caffeine tolerance: If you’re trying to drink tea for its calming effect, green tea has lower levels of caffeine and is less likely to cause a jittery feeling than black tea. However, if you want your morning cup of tea to wake you up, a cup of strong black tea is more bracing than a cup of green tea in the caffeine department.
No matter which type of tea you choose to drink in the morning, you can rest easy knowing that your choice is a healthy one either way.
The Takeaway: Green Tea is Healthier Than Black Tea
If you account for black tea’s health risks due to oxalates and green tea’s increased levels of healthy antioxidants, green tea is the more healthy of the two options. However, either choice offers many medicinal benefits for both your mind and body.
If you’re looking for health benefits without any caffeine, take a look at Greek mountain tea, an herbal tisane with benefits that rival those of green tea.