Green Vs. Black Tea: Which Is Better For You?

Tea has long been lauded for its many health benefits. Different types of teas have been used to address all sorts of common ailments, including aiding digestion, soothing upset stomachs, helping to improve sleep, and more. Two of the most common tea varieties, green tea and black tea, have been used for years to help promote health and longevity — but does one have a significant health advantage over the other?

According to The Spruce Eats, both black and green tea leaves come from the same plant, called Camellia sinensis. The main difference actually comes from the way the tea is prepared. Green tea, which is lighter in color, is not oxidized at all in the preparation process; it's simply harvested and heated, according to Sencha Tea Bar. On the other hand, black tea undergoes an oxidation process, in which the leaves are dried, rolled, and exposed to oxygen, which turns the tea its signature dark color.

Green tea typically contains about 25 to 35 milligrams of caffeine per serving, as well as a brain-boosting compound called l-theanine, which has been shown to boost focus, energy, and mental clarity, per Sencha Tea Bar. It also boasts a high amount of antioxidants, including catechin, gallic acid, and perhaps its most significant health benefit, the antioxidant known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG. When consumed regularly, the antioxidant can help protect against a host of health issues, including reducing the risk of cancer, Alzheimer's, and fatty liver disease, per Healthline.

Black tea contains high amounts of theaflavins

Black tea generally has more caffeine than green tea — around 50 to 90 milligrams per serving, per Sencha Tea Bar – and is therefore more commonly consumed when people want their tea to deliver a boost of energy, as well as help promote clarity, alertness, and focus. It also contains its fair share of antioxidants, notably a type of polyphenol called theaflavins, according to Healthline. Theaflavins have been shown to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels, promote healthy blood vessel function, and aid in weight loss. However, because black tea is oxidized, it does lose some of the natural benefits of the unprocessed tea leaf, per The Spruce Eats.

Both black and green tea are healthy drinks with antioxidants and energy-boosting caffeine, and both can help lower bad cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and improve overall heart health, per Healthline. Green tea packs the biggest punch when it comes to the health-boosting antioxidant EGCG. However, black tea contains high amounts of theaflavins and does tend to have more caffeine, so if you're looking for a healthy pick-me-up, this drink might be the better option. Regardless of which beverage you prefer, both green and black teas are a smart and healthy choice to add to your regular diet.