Does Black Tea Beat Green Tea for Heart Health?

By Michael A. Smith, MD

The popularity of green tea is well-deserved and completely understandable given the numerous health benefits it offers. Not a day goes by without some new clinical research demonstrating its benefits and solidifying its top position in the supplement industry. But emerging cardiovascular research is about to turn green tea black.

This is no surprise to tea enthusiasts. They have long known that all teas are loaded with antioxidants, the age-fighting nutrients all over mainstream media today. So it’s not unexpected that black tea is starting to form its own reputation within the industry as a disease-fighter.

Black Tea Improves Heart Health

A study recently published in Preventive Medicine showed that nine grams a day of black tea antioxidants was associated with a 36% drop in triglycerides and a significant 17% decrease in the ratio of bad LDL cholesterol to good HDL cholesterol — an important marker of heart health.1

The research was conducted on 87 subjects, between the ages of 25 and 60. They either consumed three cups of black tea a day or the same volume of hot water for 12 weeks. Simply put: The results are impressive.

The researchers concluded, “High levels of polyphenolics [antioxidants] in the tea can protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage by scavenging oxygen-free radicals. Tea phenolics may therefore be active antioxidants in the digestive tract and other tissues after uptake.”

Black Tea is Leading a New Field of Study

Much of the misery of age-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic pain and even cancer can be laid at the feet of inflammatory processes that presumably evolved for the protection of our health.

A lifetime of inflammation saturates your body in molecules known as cytokines, which are signaling proteins used by immune cells to communicate and coordinate attacks on potential threats.

The problem is as we get older, we have a harder and harder time inhibiting the production of cytokines and shutting down the inflammatory reaction. The result is damage to our heart cells by a normal process gone wild.

Theaflavins, specific antioxidants found in black tea, can reach into your genes and turn off the production of cytokines at the genetic level.2 With less inflammation, you’re heart has a better chance of pumping blood well into “older” age.

By the way, this type of mechanism of action, where a nutrient positively affects your genes, is a new field of study called nutrigenomics. And black tea theaflavins are leading the way!

And the Verdict Is...

Numerous studies have supported both black tea and green tea as heart-healthy drinks. But the fact that new research shows black tea positively affecting the bad cholesterol to good cholesterol ratio by 17%, just may give it the edge in a head-to-head comparison on heart health.

Which tea do you prefer in terms of taste and potential health benefits? Share your pick in the comments below!


  1. Preventive Medicine, Volume 54, 1 May 2012 pages S98-S102, doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.12.009
  2. Crit Care Med. 2004 Oct;32(10):2097-103.


Claudia said...

I prefer the taste of black tea, probably because I drink more hot tea than cold. I find the taste of green tea is ok for iced tea, but I don't like it warmed. This is great news for someone who drinks at least 10 cups of hot black tea a day,

Ogah said...

i used to have so much faith in the power of theaflavin for no reason. I used to put four bags of black tea per cup at least 2 or 3 times a day.i used to feel this pain in my heart in 2008 and 2009 but since i started my agressive tea program in late 2010 i have not had such.right now im 27 years old.i took a break from black tea because i was bored but with this finding i am resuming soon.

Edward Myrick said...

I drink both black and green tea sometime I prefer black tea and sometimes I prefer green tea, some ice cold tea could also refreshes my body, I hope it can also give some good benefits.

green tea benefits said...

The popularity of green tea is well-deserved and completely understandable given the numerous health benefits it offers.

LifeExtension said...

green tea benefits - We totally agree!

Ted Goode said...

What about a little of both?

LifeExtension said...

Ted Goode - A little bit of both is a good idea!

Anonymous said...

For those of you that need to alter the taste of Green or Black tea try a little liquid peppermint Stevia. I drink both teas and I use either Lemon Drop Stevia or Peppermint Stevia.

LifeExtension said...

Anonymous - Good tip! Thanks for sharing. ;-)

Laurie said...

I LOVE tea.... (said in a Bubba Gump Shrimp sorta way) I love green tea, black tea, chamomile tea, fennel tea, licorice tea, rose hip tea, rooibos tea, yerba mate tea, matcha tea, ginger tea....... :)

Anonymous said...

And then there's White Tea too. Five times as much anti-oxidant potency compared with Green Tea?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - Because they're processed differently, green and white teas contain varying amounts of polyphenols.

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