TEA, next to water is the cheapest beverage humans consume. Drinking the beverage tea has been considered a health-promoting habit since ancient times. The modern medicinal research is providing a scientific basis for this belief. The evidence supporting the health benefits of tea drinking grows stronger with each new study that is published in the scientific literature. Tea plant Camellia sinensis has been cultivated for thousands of years and its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes.
There are many kinds of tea available. Black, green, oolong, white and herbal teas are most popular around here. Some interesting data from The Tea Association of the USA is that on any given day about 154 million people drink tea. About 80% of tea consumed in the US is black tea and about 19.5% is green tea. The health benefits that are associated with drinking tea seem to come from both black and green intake – with little difference seen between the two!
To make black tea, the leaves are wilted, bruised, rolled, and fully oxidized (fermented). Black tea accounts for 75 percent of the tea consumed in the world. Oxidization happens when the leaves are exposed to the air for long periods. Enzymes break down the chemicals in the leaves, producing their brown coloring and familiar smell.
Green tea, in contrast, is made from leaves that are not oxidized.
Green tea’s benefits for cancer protection and heart health have been confirmed by extensive research in cell culture and in animal experiments. Laboratory studies have also shown that green tea may help protect against loss of brain cells, bacterial and viral infections, allergies, arthritis, and decreased bone mineral density, among other health concerns.A clinical trial in human volunteers has also revealed that a green tea preparation helps improve immunity and prevents cold and flu symptoms. (By Julius Goepp, MD)
According to a research published by the NCBI. ( National center for biotechnology, USA).
Green tea contains characteristic polyphenolic compounds, (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), and many others. Flavonols, including quercetin, kaempferol, myricitin and their glycosides are also present in tea.
A typical cup of green tea usually contains 250–350 mg tea solids, of which 30–42% are catechins and 3–6% caffeine . The major active constituents of tea are catechins, and among them, EGCG is the most potent and much of the anticarcinogenic effect of green tea is predominantly credited to it.
Some catechins are oxidized or condensed to theaflavins (3–6%) and thearubigins (12–18%) during fermentation of fresh tea leaves and are responsible for the bitter taste and dark color of black tea. Black tea contains mainly thearubigins, theaflavins, flavonols and catechins.
The total polyphenol content of green and black teas is similar, but with different types of flavonoids present due to the degree of oxidation during processing.
Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals, and laboratory experiments. Results from these studies suggest that green tea may help treat the following health conditions:
- High cholesterol
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Protects brain cells
- Liver disease
- Weight Loss
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Colon or rectal cancer
- Oesophagal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostrate cancer
- Skin cancer
- Stomach cancer
Findings cited by the National Cancer Institute suggest that the polyphenols in tea may decrease tumor growth. Laboratory tests and animal studies suggest they may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
Black tea has been linked to cancer in a similar way to green tea, although it affects fewer types of cancer. Studies have also indicated that black tea may have a positive impact on bladder, lung, and prostate cancer.
Green tea also helps control your blood cholesterol levels, boosting the amount of beneficial cholesterol in your bloodstream while reducing the amount of harmful cholesterol. However, black tea also offers some benefits, and drinking it improves blood vessel function if you have coronary artery disease, explains the Linus Pauling Institute.
Black and green teas differ in their caffeine content. Green tea contains between 9 and 50 milligrams of caffeine per cup, while black tea offers 42 to 72 milligrams, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center, you may opt for green tea over black tea, to reduce your caffeine consumption.
Another recent research has shown food processed by fermentation can generate something called ethyl carbonate, which is also known as urethane. The WHO (World Health Organisation) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer all believe ethyl carbonate can cause cancer so it’s suggest green tea is healthier than black.
Thus, Green tea may seem to be the winner!
But we can’t overlook the fact that black tea also has beneficial properties linked to it.
Recent research has shown black tea contains theaflavins and thearubigins which are very good for the human body and can improve your health but this research is still waiting for more breakthroughs.
So, no matter what you eat or drink, you always consume everything in moderation. There is no perfect food in the world and there are still many medical types of research waiting for breakthroughs. Though, for now we may be convinced that green tea is healthier!