If you’ve been drinking black tea because of its health benefits, you may want to think again. According to a new study, you will get way more for your money with green tea over black.
Subjects that enjoyed a cup of green tea three times a week or more were 20% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke and 23% less likely to die of either of those causes. They also lived about a year longer than otherwise healthy non-tea drinkers.
Similar to a 2019 study that explored caffeine’s potential to reduce the development of dementia, the researchers behind this new paper made a point to clarify that these outcomes were expressed less profoundly in both women and black tea drinkers.
“We found that the protective effects of habitual tea consumption were very pronounced and robust across different outcomes for men, but only modest for women,” Dr. Dongfeng Gu from China’s National Center for Cardiovascular Disease, Peking Union Medical College and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science explained to CNN. “One reason might be that the proportion of habitual tea consumers among men was approximately two and a half [times] as high as that among women.”
The authors began by dividing 100,902 participants into two groups; habitual tea drinkers (those who drank a cup of tea at least three times a week), and condensed occasional tea drinkers and those who never drink tea. Seven years later the researchers conducted a follow-up analysis.
The suspected mechanisms
A similar imbalance limited the green tea/black tea contrast featured in the report.
It’s true that green tea drinkers demonstrated lower instances of atherosclerotic cardiovascular conditions and cerebrovascular diseases after continued use compared to black tea drinkers. However, it’s also true that only 8% of the study pool were black tea drinkers to begin with.
Moreover, the paper did not make clear if any of the respondents, who rarely consumed tea, drank other beverages that might have surged their disease risks later in life. Similarly, 48% of the study pool were male and only 20% identified as female.
Neither women nor black tea drinkers represented a large enough portion of the sample to motion anything causal, even after adjusting for relevant controls like smoking, drinking and degree of physical activity. The authors cite the plant-based macronutrient, polyphenols as a possible reason for the positive association disparity,
“Black tea is fully fermented and tea polyphenols might be oxidized into pigments and inactivate during fermentation. Thus green tea tends to be more effective than black tea in anti-oxidation, improving blood lipid profile, and in turn, to be more effective in cardiovascular protection,” Gu added.
However, some medical professionals have since come out to refute this explanation, claiming the relationship between compounds found in tea and morbidity to be correlative at best. Whatever the extent polyphenols play in attenuating illness, strengthening a previously established correlation is still useful.
“Tea consumption is part of cultural heritage, and its health effects might be confounded by other eating and drinking patterns, for example, consumption of other flavonoid-rich food or beverages like coffee,” explained Gu.
This is an important consideration. Except in rare cases, eliminating epidemics is accomplished by ticking off various lifestyle contributors.
We know enough categorical things about green tea’s impact on the human body to champion its use over most beverages. We know that green tea stimulates changes in the gut that in turn reduces one’s risk of becoming obese.
We also know that green tea elixirs are an important component of the new trendy Sirtfood diet, a regimen that regulates metabolism and decreases inflammation.
“Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death,” said first author Dr. Xinyan Wang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China to Science Daily. “The favorable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers.”
Recently, Ladders compared the health benefits of habitual tea consumption compared to coffee. While both evidence similar impacts on longevity, morbidity and aging over time, the advantageous effects are much more pronounced in tea, specifically green tea according to the new study appearing in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology—a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.