Tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide, besides water (1). It is commonly known for its soothing effects after a long day at work, and has been witness to countless meaningful conversations, and business meetings alike; however it may also have a more important purpose in helping us lose excess weight and increase longevity. There are six main types of tea; black, green, white, yellow, oolong and dark teas, but which type is actually the ‘healthiest’?
All tea other than herbal tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. Tea contains polyphenols such as flavanols, which have found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-obesity and cardiovascular-protective properties (2).
The most commonly consumed tea in the western world is black tea, and has many varieties such as English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Darjeeling to name a few. Black tea has gone through a fermentation process, while green tea, yellow tea and white tea are less processed and contain the highest amount of antioxidants.
Black tea contains theaflavins, which are responsible for anti-inflammatory, anticancer and hepato-protective effects (2). It has been found that black tea can also help in diabetic patients to regulate insulin levels (3).
Green tea is the most highly consumed tea in eastern countries such as Japan, which has the longest life expectancy in the world. It is associated with more health benefits than black tea owing to it being less processed.
Obesity continues to increase significantly in developed countries, and is associated with heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the leading causes of death worldwide (WHO 2020), therefore effective weight loss strategies are crucial. It is claimed that green tea can aid weight loss and weight maintenance as the polyphenolic compounds of green tea such as epigallocatechin have anti-obesity properties owing to the increase in thermogenesis and fat oxidation (4).
However after dieting, weight regain is a common battle. A study found that subjects who had lost weight had significantly less weight regain when taking green tea supplements than the group not consuming green tea (4), therefore green tea could be a good addition to your diet if you are looking to lose weight or maintain weight loss.
Matcha is a powdered form of Japanese green tea and is particularly rich in antioxidants, which account for up to 30% of its dry weight (5). The content of caffeine is also especially high in matcha, containing over double that of coffee. Matcha has also been found to contain more than double the vitamin C content than other green teas, therefore boosting immunity and contributing to healthy glowing skin through maintaining collagen levels. Additionally green tea, and particularly matcha tea could improve cognitive function and clarity of mind, as caffeine has been found to inhibit the ageing of the brain. Matcha contains the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate, which can inhibit memory impairment and neuroinflammation, potentially preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s (5).
Overall, all types of tea have health benefits, from black tea with its anti-diabetic properties, green tea’s fat-oxidative ability, and matcha with its neuroprotective and anti-ageing effects. Ultimately, the best tea to drink is the type you enjoy the most, however even tea, with its many health benefits should not be consumed in excess to avoid overconsumption of caffeine, and these health benefits come with consuming tea without milk and sugar. Additionally, although tea can aid weight loss, it must be consumed in combination with a healthy, balanced diet to achieve optimal results.
To find out more information about optimal weight loss techniques to achieve effective, long lasting results, and information on brain and skin health, book an appointment with Nutritionist, Ishika Sharma.
Ishika Sharma (ANutr)
Ishika Sharma is a registered associate nutritionist from London, specialising in weight loss, gut health and healthy ageing. She graduated from King's College London in Nutrition BSc, and has had clinical dietetic training in the NHS in weight loss, malnutrition, paediatrics and gut issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. She keeps up to date with nutrition research and critically appraises scientific literature to ensure all nutrition advice is current, and evidence-based.
Ishika sees patients who wish to lose weight and want a personalised approach, with regular guidance and check ins. She also gives nutrition advice for gut issues, skin problems, optimal ageing through nutrition and fatigue issues.
1. Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea Polyphenols in Promotion of Human Health. Nutrients [Internet]. 2018 Dec 25 [cited 2021 Feb 25];11(1). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356332/
2. Tang G-Y, Meng X, Gan R-Y, Zhao C-N, Liu Q, Feng Y-B, et al. Health Functions and Related Molecular Mechanisms of Tea Components: An Update Review. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019 Jan;20(24):6196.
3. Mahmoud F, Haines D, Al‐Ozairi E, Dashti A. Effect of Black Tea Consumption on Intracellular Cytokines, Regulatory T Cells and Metabolic Biomarkers in Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Phytotherapy Research. 2016;30(3):454–62.
4. Westerterp‐Plantenga MS, Lejeune MPGM, Kovacs EMR. Body Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Relation to Habitual Caffeine Intake and Green Tea Supplementation. Obesity Research. 2005;13(7):1195–204.
5. Kochman J, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Mruk H, Janda K. Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules. 2021 Jan;26(1):85.