Should You Start Drinking Black Tea For Your Health?

It seems almost every eatery that offers hot beverages features the classic caffeinated beverage tea. Green, rooibos, and chamomile are all various types of tea you may find, but black tea seems to be the favorite. Approximately 84% of tea consumed in the U.S is black tea, and over 80% of the population considers themselves tea drinkers (via Tea Association of the United States of America). But should you drink this widely-popular beverage?

According to Healthline the benefits of black tea begin with its highly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Both of these do wonders for your health by reducing free radicals, inflammation, and supporting healthy bodily functions. A study published in Preventative Medicine (posted at Science Direct) explains these antioxidant effects are from polyphenols found in black tea, specifically the catechins, thearubigins, and theaflavins. Additionally, drinking black tea supports heart health, and it potentially lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels (via Healthline).

Believe it or not, these polyphenols in black tea have become the unsung "hero of the gut" because they can influence gut bacteria (per Well+Good). Healthline explains this is because they restore the digestive tract lining and ward off unwanted compounds. Black tea has some serious health benefits, and it's easy to make.

Is black tea healthier than green tea?

Oftentimes the widely-consumed black tea is compared to its neighboring friend, the green tea. Similar to black tea, green tea is high in antioxidants, supports heart health, helps with digestion, and lowers the chances of stroke (via WebMD). The biggest difference between them is they contain different micronutrients (via Well+Good). "The polyphenols in black tea are not as easily absorbed [as green tea], so they stick around in the microbiome longer," points out Simon Cheng, CEO of Pique Tea, to Well+Good.

Because the polyphenols hang out in the gut longer, they directly influence the growth of certain gut bacteria and contribute to lower body weight, shares Cheng (via Well+Good). In fact one 2017 study from the European Journal of Nutrition (posted at Springer Link) found consumption of black tea can aid in weight loss since it alters liver metabolism. On the other hand, green tea can act as a diuretic and can make you feel bloated, as Cheng told Well+Good.

At the end of the day, black and green tea contain powerful antioxidants and work to support a healthy body. Thus the question — which is better — ultimately comes down to preference, lifestyle, and taste. Try experimenting with different variations of these teas, and ask your doctor which is better for your health.