Boasting the highest concentration of antioxidants among the teas, white tea has been consumed for its medicinal benefits for centuries. More recently, it has been shown to have countless positive effects on our health and wellbeing, from promoting skin health to preventing cancer and other illnesses.
Read on to learn more about this incredible ancient beverage and why you should consider adding it to your diet.
What’s in a name?
If you’re a tea enthusiast, you likely know that all true tea comes from the same plant: the Camilla sinensis tea bush. Whether its leaves become a cup of green, black or oolong tea depends entirely on how it is processed after it’s been harvested.
For instance, black tea gets its dark hue and robust flavor from a complex oxidation process that consists of exposing crushed tea leaves to air for a specific period of time. Green tea, conversely, isn’t oxidized at all. Rather, it’s simply withered in hot air and quickly steamed or pan-fried. A gentle rolling and final heating stabilize green tea’s flavors. Oolong is somewhere in the middle of the two.
“So, what about white tea?” you ask.
White tea is the least processed of the teas. To make it, the unopened leaves of the tea bush (aka buds) and/or young leaves are simply plucked and are withered by air-drying, solar-drying or mechanical drying. That’s it!
The process results in a dry leaf that is – when good quality – covered in fine silvery-white hairs, which is where white tea gets its name.
When brewed, white tea is very pale in color, while its flavor is very light, semi-sweet and very smooth, lacking any bitterness or astringency.
Health benefits of white tea
Because all true tea comes from the same plant, it all contains the same compounds, meaning all tea is healthy for you. However, as white tea is so minimally processed, it contains a higher amount of antioxidants, a natural substance that protects cells from the damage caused by illness-inducing free radicals. White tea also has higher amounts of polyphenols and flavonoids, compounds that have been studied to have a positive effect on our health. Hence why white tea is a superfood!
Although the studies around white tea and its link to health have been small scale, findings have been promising. White tea specifically has been shown to:
- Protect the body against certain diseases and reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disorders
- Provide natural antibacterial properties
- Help with weight loss
- Lower bad cholesterol
- Repair and maintain skin and protect the skin against the effects of ultraviolet light
- Reduce the risk of premature aging
- Provide relief from diabetic symptoms, decrease your plasma glucose levels and increase insulin secretion
- Decrease stress (It’s a great meditation tool.)
- Boosts mental performance. (Research has found that the younger the leaf, the more caffeine it tends to have. Therefore, white tea often has slightly higher amounts of caffeine.)
Remember that tea consumption is certainly no magic bullet or cure-all therapy, and should be part of a healthy lifestyle including a well-balanced diet and exercise. But if you’re looking to boost your health and make smarter choices, consider adding antioxidant-rich white tea to your diet. Your body (and mind) will thank you.
Looking to try or drink more white tea? Check out our all-organic, premium-grade White Peony and Aquarius Tea Stars here.