I’m sure you have heard of or even consumed several other teas such as jasmine tea, chamomile tea, green tea and matcha tea. In the East, tea is consumed as a common beverage with drinkers using it to gain happiness, wisdom and perfect health. Several studies have confirmed the health benefits of tea drinking and encourage it as an alternative to coffee because of its low caffeine percentage. However, this post will focus on a specific kind known as the White Tea.
What is White Tea?
Categorizing any tea as white tea involves several factors. Young or immature buds formed the first tea. Secondly, it refers to tea that has not undergone processing after the drying stage. Black tea, green tea and even oolong tea come from Camellia sinensis – a plant that the white tea is made of. The white tea emerges superior than the black and the green teas because it doesn’t take long to process and retains more phytochemicals beneficial to the human health. It also requires less time and labor due to the minimal processing.
The production process of white tea used today draws back in the 1700s and is believed to have originated from China. Different types of white tea are created using various types of tea bushes.
White Tea Benefits for Health
White tea has up to thrice as many antioxidants as other types of teas. It has fluorides, tannins, and flavonoids including catechins and polyphenols. How do all these antioxidants and flavonoids improve your health? Let’s look at some of the white tea benefits.
1. Increased Antioxidant Levels
A free radical is an unstable molecule inside our bodies that attacks a stable molecule to steal its electrons to become stable. Therefore, it forms another free radical beginning a chain reaction that can result in organ damage. White tea contains polyphenols that neutralize these free radicals by donating their own electrons to stop the chain reaction.
Several studies have shown that white tea’s antioxidant properties help in cell neuroprotection against hydrogen peroxide-induced toxicity and increased protection from free radicals in organs and plasma.
2. Prevention of Premature Aging
Free radicals in the body are known to accelerate aging as they make skin loose and saggy. However, the polyphenols in white tea neutralize these free radicals and prevent premature aging.
3. Improve Health of Skin and Hair
White tea has anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen elastin and collagen in the skin’s connective tissues. This can help prevent the formation of wrinkles. White tea contains EGCG which is beneficial for several skin conditions including rosacea and psoriasis. Research has also found that this can help in treating hair conditions such as dandruff and hair fall.
4. Improved Oral Health
Fluoride in white tea is useful in reducing tooth cavities while the tannins and flavonoids may reduce plaque formation. It also deactivates and destroys harmful viruses and bacteria present in the mouth.
5. Enhanced Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Research has proven that white tea is better than green tea when it comes to fighting off cancer. The tea has antiproliferative effects that kill diseased cells and antimutagenic properties that protect the healthy cells from DNA damage.
White tea is also photoprotective which means it can be used to protect skin from sun damage caused by ultraviolet rays. It is best used in conjunction with other sun protection methods such as applying sunscreen.
6. Enhanced Diabetes Management
Research has shown that regular consumption of white tea can benefit diabetics by reducing the negative effects on the cerebral cortex by the disease. It can also help to reduce high glucose levels, decrease high thirst levels and increase insulin secretion.
7. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Consumption of white tea has been found to decrease oxidative damage in heart cells. Its catechins lower blood pressure, decreases cholesterol levels and improves the endothelial function in blood vessel cells. This leads to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
8. Increased Antibacterial Protection from Infections
Our body’s immune system is constantly under attack from pathogens aiming to cause us diseases. However, by drinking white tea which has antiseptic properties, we can protect our skin from cellular damage. It is very beneficial to those suffering from acne. To use it as a treatment for acne, you can drink it twice daily or soak cotton balls in cool tea and rub them on your skin for a few minutes and wash it off. Alternatively, you may use skin products such as face wash with white tea as an active ingredient in them.
9. Treatment of the Common Cold
The catechins and EGCG in white tea which provide anti-inflammatory properties make it effective in treating the cold and flu. It kills various bacteria and viruses thus making you feel better quicker.
10. Helps in Weight Loss
If you are looking for a way to reduce your weight, it is high time you consider white tea as a solution for you. Studies have found white tea to help in weight reduction by burning existing fat cells and preventing new fat cells from forming. It also has antiangiogenic properties that may prevent obesity.
Buying White Tea
White tea is widely available. Grocery stores, natural health stores, big-box stores e.g. , Walmart, independent herbalists, coffee and tea distributors, and farmers markets are some of the places you should check out if you’re planning to buy.
White Tea Selection and Consumption
Loose leaf white tea and white tea teabags are ultimately two forms of white tea found in the market. Loose leaf white tea is superior to tea bags as it has higher nutritive content than its counterpart which has undergone more processing.
White tea is brewed similar to its counterparts. You may make it in the following way:
- Boil clean water in a pot. Let it cool for 4-8 minutes to prevent tea from becoming astringent.
- Steep 1 or 2 teaspoons of the leaves per cup for 5-10 minutes for optimal flavor.
- Add desired sweetener (optional).
The advised daily intake of white tea is 2 to 4 cups to receive the optimal health benefits. You can reuse the same tea leaves to make more than one cup thus ensuring optimal extraction of nutrients while also being cost-effective. Be sure to explore as many white teas available in the market to spice up your experience.
White Tea vs Coffee
The caffeine content should be the basis when it comes to which is better than the other. 28 milligrams of caffeine is present in an 8oz cup of white tea. On the other hand, 95 milligrams of caffeine is present in the same size cup of coffee. The coffee cup contains a whopping 300% increase in caffeine. Sure, this means an energetic boost but it also signifies a risk of addiction which can produce withdrawal symptoms. On the flipside, white tea gives an energy boost without the addiction or threat of withdrawal symptoms.