Researchers now believe black tea provides many of the same health benefits as green tea.
While I enjoy a freshly brewed cup of a young green Puerh tea, there are times when I crave the fuller flavour of black or aged Puerh. Until recently, I worried that, by indulging my craving, I was losing out on green Puerh’s numerous health benefits. But recent research indicates that black tea has its own health giving properties.
Black or green Puerh – which is better?
Until recently, tea research has focused on green tea. Green tea is loaded with the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a powerful antioxidant (see Polyphenols? Flavonoids? Catechins?). Since the fermentation process used to make black Puerh tea converts EGCg into other compounds, researchers assumed black tea had less health benefits than green tea. However, recent studies indicate the compounds contained in black tea – theaflavins and thearubigens with higher concentrations in black Puerh tea do more than contribute to its dark colour and distinctive flavour. They also provide health benefits originally attributed solely to green tea. Therefore it looks like there is no need to worry about depriving yourself of possible health benefits if black Puerh is your beverage of choice.
Here are the results of research into black tea:
Black Tea Research
• A long-term study by the Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and the Environment found a correlation between regular consumption of black tea and reduced risk of stroke. Researchers looked at data from a study examining the health benefits of foods that are high in flavonoids – phytonutrients with antioxidant benefits. While some of the flavonoids were obtained from fruits and vegetables, seventy percent came from black tea. The study looked at 552 men over a 15 year period. Researchers concluded that the flavonoids in black tea helped reduce the production of LDL – the “bad” cholesterol that can lead to stroke and heart attacks. Furthermore, men who drank over four cups of black tea per day had a significantly lower risk of stroke than men who drank only two to three cups per day.
• A separate study at Boston’s School of Medicine supported these results. For four months, sixty-six men drank four cups of either black tea or a placebo daily. Dr. Vita concluded that drinking black tea can help reverse an abnormal functioning of the blood vessels that can contribute to stroke or heart attack. Furthermore, improvement in the functioning of the blood vessels was visible within two hours of drinking just one cup of black tea.
• A study of over 3,000 adults in Saudi Arabia – where black tea is favoured over green – found that regular consumption can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by fifty percent.