Green tea vs. black tea – do they both reduce the risk of heart disease? Green tea and black tea are a type of tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but, unlike black tea, green tea isn’t fermented. Instead, the leaves are dried in the sun and lightly steamed to enhance their flavor. The lack of fermentation and oxidation means they retain more of their natural catechins, which studies show may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
The Type of Tea You Drink: Does It Matter?
If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, stick to green tea. According to a new meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when it comes to green tea vs. black tea, green tea has it all over its fermented cousin.
Researchers concluded that black tea doesn’t reduce the risk of coronary artery disease after reviewing thirteen studies that focused on black tea and the risk of coronary artery disease. After analyzing five other studies involving green tea, they found a modest, but still significant reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease among people who drank the most green tea. They concluded that the risk of heart disease falls by about 10% for each additional cup of green tea a person drinks each day.
Green Tea vs. Black Tea: Why Does Green Tea Lower the Risk, but Not Black Tea?
Experts believe the catechins in green tea, and to a lesser extent in black tea, keep blood vessels supplying the heart healthy by reducing cell damage and inflammation. Inflammation is believed to be the mechanism which starts the whole process of atherosclerosis, and green tea helps to offset this.
The authors of the study point out that green tea and black tea vary widely in the amount of heart-healthy catechins they contain. Some green teas contain less than others, and some black tea that’s less fermented may still have significant amounts. If you’re drinking green tea for the catechins, use loose-leaf tea if possible since they contain more catechins than green tea sold in tea bags. Most bottled types of tea are almost completely devoid of catechins.
Types of Tea and the Risk of Coronary Artery Disease: The Bottom Line?
Drinking black tea doesn’t seem to protect against heart disease, but you may modestly reduce your risk of coronary artery disease by sipping loose-leaf green tea throughout the day. And it’s a better alternative to soft drinks.
Medscape.com. “Green, but Not Black Tea May Reduce Risk for Coronary Artery Disease”