Earlier this month, while I was travelling, I overheard a few women debating about tea. The bone of contention was – which is better ‘black tea’ or ‘green tea’. Their arguments over this issue prompted me to write this piece of article….
What is the main difference between green tea and black tea?
Green tea and black tea leaves are processed differently during the manufacturing process. To manufacture green tea, the freshly harvested tea leaves are steamed. Steaming prevents fermentation of the leaves and results in formation of a stable product. Steaming helps the leaves retain the green colour during the further steps of processing and storage. It also aids in preserving the naturally-occurring chemicals called ‘polyphenols’, which are said to have health benefits.
Black tea leaves on the other hand, undergoes fermentation where it loses it’s green colour and the health-promoting properties.
Are there any benefits of consuming green tea over the black one?
Over the years, many studies have been conducted to study the effects of green tea in comparison to the black one. Much of the research does support that green tea offers more health benefits than does black tea consumption. Please note that the term ‘black tea’ refers to the tea prepared by using black tea leaves or dust with or without the addition of milk.
What are the health benefits of green tea?
Green tea consumption helps in –
Reducing the blood pressure and the risk of stroke and other heart diseases.
Decreasing blood sugar levels
Improves the lipid profile i.e reduces the level of bad cholesterol.
Preventing gingivitis, a periodontal infection of the gums
Reducing digestive infections
Preventing many types of cancers including lung, colon, esophagus, mouth, stomach, small intestine, kidney, pancreas, and breast.
As mentioned earlier, green tea contains naturally-occurring chemicals, polyphenols also known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate. This particular chemical acts as an antioxidant and is responsible for the beneficial effects. Green tea is also known to have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which aid in disease prevention.
How much of green tea should be consumed?
For beneficial effects, about 2 to 3 cups of green tea can be consumed on a regular basis.
Are there any adverse effects of drinking green tea?
High intake of green tea i.e. > 5 cups/day is believed to have some toxic or harmful effects on certain organs like the liver and pancreas. Harmful effects of high intake of green tea are due to its caffeine content and the presence of aluminum.
Patients suffering from heart conditions or major cardiovascular problems should avoid drinking more cups of green tea.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should drink no more than one or two cups per day, because caffeine can cause an increase in heart rhythm.
Those suffering from kidney failure should not drink too many cups of green tea as it may lead to accumulation of aluminum and cause complications.
Higher intakes of green tea (even black tea) decreases iron absorption in the body.
All said and done, we need to remember that green tea would be beneficial only when you follow a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy. If your lifestyle and eating pattern is unhealthy then, drinking 2 – 3 cups of green tea daily will take you nowhere. So the key is – Eat Healthy, Drink Healthy and Live Healthy!!!!!