Truth be told, as Indians we don’t usually associate tea with the colour of white. We think of pale saffron, black, or even a light brown. Even though all tea varieties come from the same tea source: Camilla Sinensis, it is a lesser known fact as to how exactly white tea is made.
White tea usually requires minimal processing compared to the other varieties such as Green, Black or Oolong. What tea aficionados call as white tea is basically the fine silvery-white hairs in the unopened buds of the tea plant. These leaves and buds are picked just before they are fully open, when they’re covered in fine white hairs, which will be then withered by air-drying, solar-drying, or mechanical drying.
Interesting fact about White tea is that the beverage is not exactly white or colourless but instead has a slightly yellow or very pale yellow colour. When it comes to the flavour it ranks lower than black tea and green tea in terms of strength. It is even described as sweet and silky.
It is said that the health benefits of White tea has been known to the Chinese way before it was made aware to the rest of the world. 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.
Polyphenols are plant-based molecules that act as antioxidants inside the body. Antioxidants protect the cells from damage by compounds called free radicals. Too much free-radical damage is linked to aging, chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and a variety of harmful diseases. Luckily, white tea comes armed with the best ingredients that can fight free radicals.
Some studies have found that polyphenols can prevent “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which is a risk factor for heart disease. In a comparative study, it was found out that people who drank three cups or more of tea per day had a 21% lower risk of heart disease.
When it comes to weight loss, people usually associate green tea with the process. However, it’s been discovered that white tea may be just as effective when it comes to burning fat.
Because of the high percentage of antioxidant properties, white tea can also help repair and maintain our skin and protect the skin against the effects of ultraviolet light. This light beverage also can slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of premature aging.
The antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate in white tea has been shown to enhance hair growth and prevent premature hair loss. EGCG has also shown promise when treating scalp skin diseases caused by bacteria that is resistant to common treatments. White tea also naturally protects against sun damage, which can help keep hair from drying out in summer months.
Because the colour of white tea is a lot lighter than black tea and green tea, it can be assured that it won't stain the teeth. Even better, it has been proven that white tea can help to reduce the risk of dental decay or cavities.
Some study results suggest white tea can also have a positive effect on diabetes. White tea may provide some kind of relief from diabetic symptoms and decrease the plasma glucose levels and increase insulin secretion.
Catechins in white tea along with other antioxidants have been shown to help prevent or regulate Type 2 diabetes. White tea effectively acts to inhibit the activity of the enzyme amylase that signals glucose absorption in the small intestine. In people with Type 2 diabetes, this enzyme breaks down starches into sugars and can lead to blood sugar spikes. Drinking white tea can help regulate those spikes by blocking the production of amylase.
The catechins and polyphenols in white tea have anti-inflammatory properties that can help cure minor body aches. White tea also improves circulation and delivers oxygen to the brain and organs. Because of this, white tea is effective in treating minor headaches and aches and pains from working out.