The history of tea consumption dates back to the 3rd century AD.
For many people, the day neither starts nor ends right without a steaming cup of tea.
You will be surprised to know that every region brews and drinks tea differently.
Two of the most common and healthiest types of tea are the green and black variants.
If you have to pick, which one should you choose?
Here is everything you need to know about green tea and black tea.
The basic difference
Tea is a beverage that is made by boiling leaves of the shrub named Camellia sinensis.
Both green tea and black tea are brewed using these leaves, but the difference lies in a process called oxidation. In black tea, the leaves of the shrub are exposed to sunlight to trigger a process called oxidation.
Oxidation changes the color of the leaves from green to dark-brown or black.
To make green tea, the leaves are gently processed and are neither exposed to harsh sunlight nor allowed to change color. The leaves remain a shade of green.
This is why you find a stark difference in the color of brewed black and green tea.
There are a lot of benefits that green tea and black tea offer you. A good cup of black or green tea can work positively on both your mental and physical health. Some of the top shared benefits are mentioned here.
- Rich in antioxidants
- Regular consumption keeps the heart healthy
- Lowers blood pressure
- Contains caffeine which makes you active and energetic
Now let’s discuss the individual features of both tea varieties to analyze if one beats the other in the overall benefits offered.
One of the most important and valuable antioxidants that both green and black tea contain is L-theanine. This amino acid was identified by Japanese scientists in 1949. You will be surprised at all the positive effects that this has on the human body.
Boosts up alpha brain waves
L-theanine has been shown to increase the alpha frequency band activity in the brain. This results in relaxation of the mind without drowsiness or fatigue.
A study published at the Unilever Food and Health Research Institute talks about the potential effects of L-theanine in an individual’s relaxed mental state.
Improves the levels of GABA
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter in the brain that inhibits certain signals from passing on to the nervous system. This is, therefore, associated with feelings of calmness.
A mixture of L-theanine and GABA can reduce the time taken to fall asleep and improve the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep cycle.
Reduces the risk of dementia
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of L-theanine can help reduce the risk of dementia. A 2018 research study gives detailed information on the usage of L-theanine in reducing inflammation in the nervous system and by delaying the progression of dementia.
Lowers blood pressure
By reducing stress and anxiety, L-theanine may positively influence blood pressure levels. A study conducted at the University of Shizuoka in Japan concluded that L-theanine lowers blood pressure readings in individuals with high-stress levels.
Other commonly proven benefits of L-theanine:
- Improved cognitive functioning
- Improved immune system
- Reduced risk of catching flu
L-theanine in green tea vs black tea
Though L-theanine was first identified in green tea, many research studies have now proven that black tea contains the most quantity of L-theanine.
A 2011 study compared the levels of L-theanine in black and green tea and concluded that in a standard cup, black tea has an average of 20-30 mg of L-theanine while green tea has only 4-10 mg.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a plant compound that is an amazing antioxidant. This compound is found in tea leaves and helps reduce inflammation.
EGCG also fights free radical damage against the cells.
You get about 7.3 g of EGCG per 100 grams of green tea while you can get only 0.93 g of it per 100 grams of black tea.
Green tea is clearly the winner here.
Theaflavin is a kind of polyphenol that is produced by the oxidation of tea leaves. Only black tea contains theaflavin as green tea leaves do not undergo oxidation.
Caffeine is a commonly known and used stimulant to improve brain function and to make a person alert and focused.
A cup of green tea has an average of 35 mg of caffeine while the same quantity of black tea contains 39 to 109 mg of caffeine.
If you are looking for a cup of tea to help you concentrate better, black tea is the better option here.
Both green tea and black tea offer amazing health benefits. Consuming tea every day can bring about positive changes in your brain and overall health.
Life Hack: Experts suggest consuming black tea during the first half of the day as it contains more caffeine and can keep you active and mentally alert. Reserve green tea for the evenings as it helps you relax and get prepared for a good night's sleep.
Skip your regular caffeinated beverages, sodas, and other sugary drinks and start enjoying the clean and subtle taste of green and black tea. Your body will thank you for it!
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