Tea drinking has gained popularity in the recent years. Of course, in most parts of the world, tea has been a popular drink for centuries.
But, today we find out that tea is still gaining new fans; many of them are leaving coffee and switching to tea for its health benefits and the low caffeine content.
White tea is gotten from the same plant as other teas, the camellia sinensis.
However, it is usually harvested earlier than other teas, before the leaves fully open. At this point, the tea buds are still covered by fine white hair, thus the name white tea. In addition to being harvested earlier, white tea is different because, it undergoes little processing and no fermentation takes place.
The leaves are simply steamed and then dried. At times, tea harvesters steam the leaves in the field and then let them dry in the sun. This aids in protecting the delicate flavor of the tea.
Studies show that leaving tea leaves so close to their natural state means that it will contain more poly-phenols. This is the powerful anti-oxidant that fights and kills cancer causing cells. White tea brewed at home contains zero calories and also contains less caffeine that the normal black and green tea. To gain most of white tea benefits, doctors recommend that one should avoid sweetened white tea.
White tea is occasionally considered as the healthiest drink because of its health benefits. They include;
Antioxidant and anti-aging properties: the presence of free radicals in the body leads to damage of different organs of the body including the skin. The radical elements contribute to accelerated aging process. White tea contains poly-phenols which neutralize these radical making them less destructive. Research show that white tea increases the antioxidant effect of certain organs as well as plasma. Another research done to investigate neuro-protective effect of white tea with the antioxidant properties showed that, white tea help in cell protection.
Healthy and youthful skin: studies have shown that white tea helps maintain a healthy and youthful skin. This is due to antioxidant properties which aid in the quick repair of damaged skin. It also protects the skin against the effects of ultraviolet light.
Oral health: the presence of poly-phenols, tannins and flavonoids help inhibit bacteria growth that may cause the formation of plaque. The fluoride content in the white tea is effective in reducing the risks of dental caries, tooth cavity/decay.
Cancer prevention – just like the green tee, white tea is also beneficial in preventing cancer, e.g. lung cancer. Research show that white tea is a potential anticancer chemo preventive agent, and its extract induces apoptosis or death of cell. This may help prevent the growth of new cells in the lungs. It also contains anti-mutagenic properties. Further research is however needed to confirm the anticancer properties of white tea.
Effect on diabetes – studies suggest that the intake of white tea provides relief to people suffering from diabetes from symptoms like increase insulin secretion, decrease plasma glucose levels and excessive thirst (polydipsia).
Cardiovascular disorder – flavonoids contained in products like vegetables, fruits and white tea is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disorder. They help decrease the blood pressure. It also aids in improving endothelial function, dyslipidaemia and inhibits low-density lipoprotein oxidation.
Antibacterial properties: diseases and most medical conditions are usually caused by pathogens that attack the immune system. White tea contains anti-bacterial properties which protects the skin from bacteria and other germs. Products like hand soaps are made using white tea as the key ingredient. It also provides relief from people suffering from common cold and flu.
Weight loss – research about white tea and weight loss show that, white tea can prevent the formation of new fat cells and may ay also control the life cycle of these fat cells by encouraging their breakdown.White tea high levels of amino acid L-theanine – L-theanine is widely known for its health benefits, it encourages relaxation, is a powerful antioxidant, relieves anxiety, weight management and improves concentration
Researches and references
Ho, Chi-Tang (2008). Tea and Tea Products: Chemistry and Health-Promoting Properties. CRC Press. p. 305.