Tea is the cheapest beverage people consume next to the water. Drinking tea has been considered a health-promoting habit since ancient times. The evidence supporting the health benefits of tea drinking grows stronger with each new study that is published in the scientific literature. Tea has been cultivated for thousands of years and its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes.
The name “white tea” derives from the fine silvery-white hair on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance. The beverage itself is not white or colorless but pale yellow.
White tea is a lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested primarily in China, mostly in the Fujian province. Recently it is grown in Taiwan, Northern Thailand, and Eastern Nepal. White tea comes from the buds and leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant.
White tea is an unfermented tea made from young shoots of Camellia sinensis protected from sunlight to avoid polyphenol degradation. It is steam dried quickly after the leaves are picked so that there is no oxidation at all. Because there is no oxidation, it contains the high amount of antioxidants and catechins, the least caffeine, and has a pale color with a delicate, sweet taste. This tea is pale yellow or green in color.
A group of polyphenols called catechins stands out among their bioactive components, the most abundant being the epigallocatechin gallate, with high antioxidant power. The white tea extract analysis confirmed that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the main active compound of non-fermented tea (19,63%) made from Camellia sinensis, followed by epigallocatechin (EGC; 3.25%), gallocatechin (GC; 1.28%), and catechin (C; 0.71%) which were also found in the extract.
White tea contains flavonoids, a class of antioxidants which have unlimited health benefits.
Tea is used as a popular beverage worldwide and its ingredients are now finding medicinal benefits.
- White tea consumption reduced protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation levels and improves antioxidant capacity.
- White tea extract effectively inhibits adipogenesis (fat storage) and stimulates lipolysis-activity (fat breakdown).
- White tea consumption may restore sperm quality by preventing testicular oxidative damage.
- Heart diseases-
- Polyphenols like those found in white tea may help reduce the risk of heart disease in several ways.
- Several studies have found that polyphenols may help relax blood vessels and boost immunity.
- Other studies have found that polyphenols may prevent “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which is another risk factor for heart disease.
- In an analysis of five studies, scientists discovered that people who drank three cups or more of tea per day had a 21% lower risk of heart disease.
- Weight loss-
- Many studies suggest that drinking white tea may boost the metabolism rate by 4-5 %. ( burn about extra 70-100 kcals/day)
- White tea is a good source of caffeine and catechins like EGCG. These two compounds may have a synergistic effect that helps the body burn fat and also boost metabolism.
- Oral health-
- White tea is a great source of fluoride, catechins, and tannins.
- Fluoride can help prevent dental cavities by making the surface of teeth more resistant to acid attacks by bacteria in combination with sugar.
- Catechins are plant antioxidants that are abundant in white tea. They’ve been shown to inhibit the growth of plaque bacteria.
- Tannins are another type of polyphenol in white tea. Studies show that the combination of tannins and fluoride could also inhibit the growth of plaque-causing bacteria
- Anti- Cancer Properties-
- The studies found that white tea extract suppress the growth of colon cancer cells and stopp them from spreading. The antioxidants in white tea extract also protect normal cells from damage by harmful molecules
- However, more studies in humans are needed to understand the effects of drinking white tea on cancer.
- Insulin Resistance-
- Studies have found that polyphenols like the ones in white tea may lower your risk of insulin resistance.
- EGCG and other polyphenols found in white tea may enhance the effects of insulin and prevent high blood sugar levels.
- It also improves blood sugar control.
- Bone Health-
- Catechins that are found in white tea have been shown suppress cells that break down bones.
- These catechins are abundant in white tea compared to other types of teas.
- Anti-aging and skin protecting properties-
- In one study, scientists discovered that applying white tea extract to the skin helped to protect against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.
- The compounds in white tea may help protect your skin from the effects of both internal and external aging.
- The polyphenols, which are found in white tea, can suppress several cellular components that may damage the fiber network that helps the skin stay tight and firm.
Note- While these results suggest white tea may provide the above health benefits, it’s also important to make other lifestyle changes for a healthy body. These include eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, plenty of water and getting proper sleep.
It is advisable that if you’ve any medical condition first consult your dietitian/nutritionist before adding white tea to your routine.
White tea is packed with antioxidants which makes it a healthy tea. Although expensive, it can still be added to your daily routine as it is easy to prepare and worth spending money on because of its countless health benefits of which few listed above. Also, It has a refreshing taste and can be taken hot or cold according to your preferences.