It’s regularly said that tea is good for our health. As long as you drink in moderation, that is. Tea contains substances linked to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are many types of tea including herbal tea, black tea, green tea and white tea. Guys & St Thomas has asked me to investigate the health benefits of white tea.
What is white tea?
According to Teatulia, white tea is known to be one of the most delicate tea varieties because it is so minimally processed. White tea is harvested before the tea plant’s leaves open fully, when the young buds are still covered by fine white hairs, hence the name “white” tea.
These buds and unfurled leaves from the newest growth on the tea plant are handpicked and then quickly and meticulously dried, so the leaves are not allowed to oxidise as long as leaves plucked for green or black tea production. This minimal processing and low oxidation results in some of the most delicate and freshest tea available. White tea offers the least amount of caffeine as compared to other popular teas like green tea and black tea. However, the actual caffeine content in white tea can vary based on the plant and the region where the plant was grown.
Why is white tea good for you?
White tea contains a high amount of antioxidants, as well as polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins. These nutritional benefits have a positive effect on our health and well being.
Due to the amount of polyphenols, which have antioxidant benefits. They help reduce chronic inflammation by protecting the body against damage from free radicals. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Test-tube studies have found that white tea extract suppressed several types of cancer cells and stopped them from spreading.
The natural antibacterial properties of white tea can help with lowering cholesterol and aiding weight loss. 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 boost metabolism. A test-tube study found that white tea extract was able to stimulate fat breakdown and prevent new fat cells from being formed.
White tea is a great source of fluoride, catechins and tannins. Several studies have shown that these compounds can help fight bacteria that cause plaque on teeth.
Insulin is an incredibly important hormone. It helps move nutrients from the bloodstream into the cells to be used or stored for later. However, as a result of several factors, including high sugar consumption, some people stop responding to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a harmful condition linked to many chronic diseases. Studies have shown that polyphenols like those found in white tea may lower the risk of insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control.
Osteoporosis is common among the elderly and may lead to fractures. Compounds found in white tea, including the polyphenols called catechins, may lower the risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone growth and suppressing bone breakdown.
EGCG, which is found in white tea, has been linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. EGCG may help fight inflammation and prevent proteins from clumping and damaging nerves, two conditions linked with these disorders.
For more information, this post on Healthline is really good about white tea.
How do you make white tea?
To brew white tea, heat 1 cup of water to a boil, then let it cool for 5-8 minutes. A lot of articles I’ve read have said the optimum temperature is between 70-80 °C. Put 2 tsp white tea leaves into an infuser basket, tea ball, or teapot, then pour the hot water over the tea. Steep the tea for about 7-10 minutes, then strain it and pour it into a teacup.
It is usually served without milk but if you prefer, you can add milk or sugar.