One of green tea’s unique and most popular benefits is its ability to help burn fat. Green tea can boost metabolism by the combination of caffeine, and the high-octane antioxidants it contains. In one study, subjects burned 5% more calories over 24 hours.
While that doesn’t seem like a lot, an extra 5% over time, can really add up to some noticeable fat burning potential.
This is due to the fact that green tea’s polyphenols help to activate a fat burning enzyme which dissolves triglycerides and helps the body to burn fat as fuel. Burning fat as fuel is called “thermogenesis”. Triglycerides are fatty substances carried around in the bloodstream as a result of sugar or carbohydrate intake. Lowered triglycerides mean you store less fat. Lower triglycerides also mean better heart health.
Black Tea Benefits
Theaflavins are a group of polyphenols that are unique to black tea. These are actually formed in the fermentation process and are responsible for some of black tea’s unique health benefits, including protection from free radicals, which can damage DNA and lead to serious diseases such as cancer.
Free radicals also damage the heart and blood vessels and contribute to heart disease. These theaflavins can help lower harmful triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and plaque formation in the blood vessels which all contribute to heart disease and inflammation. Theaflavins in black tea also help to lower blood sugar, stimulate insulin and prevent diabetes.
Theaflavins can also help to increase nitric oxide, a valuable substance in the body which helps to dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure and increase athletic performance.
One other thing about theaflavins—they, like the polyphenols in green tea, help to promote fat cell breakdown, increase thermogenesis, and help with weight loss. That, combined with the extra caffeine that black tea contains is a big boost for weight loss and fat burning.
Matcha Green Tea
With the growing popularity of green tea, several different types of green tea have emerged. Sencha is the green tea variety that is most popular and widely used, but matcha green tea is growing in popularity, due to it’s more concentrated antioxidants. Matcha tea is made up of the actual tea leaves, not the strained tea leaves you drink when you make regular black or green tea. This difference alone allows you to obtain more nutrients from the matcha tea.
Tea plants grown for matcha are shaded for two weeks which increases the chlorophyll content (the stuff in the leaves that makes them green). This boosts the concentration of the healthy compounds like EGCG. While matcha tends to be more expensive than regular tea, you get a bigger bang for the buck. Matcha tea usually comes in a powdered form, which is more concentrated, and can be added to recipes like smoothies, baked goods or even ice cream. A cup of matcha tea is similar to drinking about 3 cups of regular (sencha) green tea.
The Bottom Line on Green and Black Tea
Both green and black tea contain beneficial compounds with strong antioxidant power, which help fight aging, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Studies show both types of tea contain similar beneficial health benefits, but green tea wins big in terms of the amounts of antioxidants it contains.
Both teas also contain caffeine, plus a brain nutrient that creates a calming, alert feeling helping you concentrate better. Black tea contains more caffeine, so if you are looking to be more alert, black tea works better.
Adding other substances to tea may reduce its antioxidant power. For example, milk or cream actually slows the absorption of the polyphenols in tea. And of course, go easy on sweeteners. A little drizzle of pure maple syrup or honey often adds just the right amount of healthy sweetness.
As with most things, you can overdo a good thing—even tea. Since tea contains caffeine, it may create an anxious or jittery feeling if you consume too much. Drinking green or black tea in the evening