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When It Comes to Black Tea vs. Green Tea, Which Brew Is Better for You? Experts Weigh In

They may come from the same plant, but each brew has unique benefits

Few things are better than curling up with a cozy cuppa. And whether you prefer it hot or iced, tea is a go-to sipper for many of us. But with so many different brews to choose from, is one tea worth prioritizing? And when it comes to black tea vs. green tea, does one provide more health benefits?

“Green tea is to black as white wine is to red, flute is to cello or spring morning is to winter night,” says Maria Uspenski, founder of The Tea Spot and author of Cancer Hates Tea: A Unique Preventive and Transformative Lifestyle Change to Help Crush Cancer. They come from the same plant, but the process for each one to get to your cup is quite different. Read on to find out what sets black tea vs. green tea apart, plus the unique health benefits of each brew.

Black tea vs. green tea: A battle of the brews

Both teas are grown the same way, but many of the similarities end there. Uspenski notes that green tea leaves are picked in the morning and ready to be processed and brewed on the same night. During processing, the leaves are heated to dry them out. “This removes almost all of the moisture in the tea leaves and arrests the natural oxidation process, inhibiting any further chemical or color change,” she explains.

Uspenski says that green tea keeps most of its color and nutrients, including amino acids and vitamin C, so the taste is more fresh than that of black tea. In terms of caffeine content, she notes that an 8 oz. cup of green tea has about 20-30 mg of caffeine.

Black tea, on the other hand, goes through a longer oxidation process. That means the tea leaves are left out to dry and darken longer than green tea leaves. “It’s why you notice some flavor differences between the tea,” explains Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD, a gut health nutritionist. The taste of black tea is stronger, plus the amount of caffeine is higher with about 40-50 mg per 8 oz. cup.

Both tea varieties have a host of antioxidants that are beneficial for your mind and body. However, Uspenski says that “if you’re looking for a bigger proportion of antioxidants, green tea is the way to go.”

Health benefits of green tea

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a cup of green tea

Green tea delivers total-body benefits, thanks to its rich stores of antioxidants. Here are some areas where it really shines:

1. It protects your heart

“Green tea has potent antioxidant properties, including a compound called ECGC [Epigallocatechin gallate],” says Sarah Herrington MS, CNC, CPT, a nutritionist for Brio-Medical. “This may aid in cases of cancer, may lower cholesterol and help prevent against heart disease.” Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University researchers have also found that the compounds in green tea work hard to protect the heart. How? They help ward off hypertension (high blood pressure) and inflammation, plus lower levels of artery-clogging blood fats.

2. It safeguards your smile

Drinking green tea does a lot of good for your mouth. It’s “been shown to suppress the process by which cariogenic bacteria create glucan, thus suppressing the formation of plaque on teeth and preventing cavities,” says Uspenski. Basically, it keeps your gums healthy by cutting down on harmful plaque formation.

And the benefits don’t end there. According to a study in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, green tea also reduces inflammation and prevents bone resorption, or bone breakdown in the gums that cause teeth to loosen over time.

3. It boosts your metabolism

Sauceda notes that green tea is great for your gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms in your digestive tract. “It encourages the production of more good gut bacteria,” she notes. As a result, it may help ease inflammation inflammation and boost your metabolism. In fact, many green tea compounds (like the EGCG mentioned above) can support a healthy metabolism, per research in Molecules.

Health benefits of black tea

While black tea is also beneficial, its perks are more about improving your focus, energy and blood sugar. Here’s how it can help:

A cup of black tea beside fresh tea leaves, which has different benefits than green tea

1. It protects your memory

Black tea is rich in brain-boosting antioxidants. And “because [black tea leaves] are allowed to ferment completely before drying, most black teas are especially rich in those polyphenols,” explains Uspenski. They’re so beneficial that a study in PeerJ suggests regularly drinking black tea may even reduce the risk of dementia.

2. It steadies blood sugar

According to a study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, polyphenols in black tea such as tannins and theaflavins are believed to increase insulin activity. This helps steady your blood sugar, which can ward off energy-sapping glucose spikes and dips. Bonus: Herrington adds that healthy blood glucose goes hand-in-hand with healthy weight, and “two-three cups per day is plenty to reap this benefit.”

3. It boosts your energy

In need of a pick-me-up? Pour yourself a cup of black tea. “Black tea is known to banish fatigue, stimulate mental alertness and raise energy levels,” says Uspenski. That’s thanks in part to its higher levels of caffeine. She recommends starting with a cup on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and drinking more cups throughout the day if needed.

Black tea vs. green tea: Which is better for you?

When it comes to black tea vs. green tea, “drink the tea you love the most, because it’s the one you will drink the most of,” Uspenski says. Since both brews are rich in antioxidants and healthy enough to drink on a regular basis, it really comes to personal preference.

“Both of these teas are good for you, and I would encourage everyone to drink more tea,” adds Sauceda.

For more on the total-body health benefits of drinking tea:

These Teas End Bloating Fast — Learn How to Blend Them to Boost the Benefits

The Best Tea for a Sore Throat? Docs Reveal Their Top 6 Picks That Soothe Fast

Could This TikTok-Trendy Tea Be the Next Superfood? What to Know About Chaga

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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