By now, you’ve probably heard all about the benefits of green tea. A cup or two per day is said to lower your blood pressure, alleviate inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease and even give your memory a boost. Other types of tea like black tea, dandelion tea or hibiscus tea are also well-known for their health benefits. But what about white tea?
White tea is often overlooked in favor of more popular tea varieties. However, it packs in just as many — if not more — health benefits as other types of tea and offers a uniquely sweet and light flavor all its own.
It contains a comparable nutrient profile to green tea and is often even called “light green tea” because of its similar appearance. Much like green tea, it has also been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved brain, reproductive and oral health; decreased cholesterol; and increased fat burning.
What Is White Tea?
White tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is used to make other kinds of tea, such as green or black tea.
It is harvested mainly in China but is also produced in other regions, such as Thailand, India, Taiwan and Nepal.
This type of tea is one of the most minimally processed teas. It is also harvested while the plant is still young, leading to a very distinct flavor. The white tea taste is often described as delicate and slightly sweet, and since it is not rolled or oxidized like other types of tea, it tends to have a much lighter flavor.
Much like other types of tea, white tea is abundant in polyphenols, catechins and antioxidants. For this reason, it has been associated with a host of health benefits, from increasing fat burning to fighting off cancer cells.
White Tea Benefits
- High in Antioxidants
- Improves Oral Health
- Amps Up Fat Burning
- May Kill Cancer Cells
- Improves Reproductive Health
- Protects Brain Health
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels
High in Antioxidants
White tea is loaded with antioxidants, which help fight off harmful free radicals and counteract oxidative stress to cells. These beneficial compounds have even been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Some research, like that published in the Journal of Food Science and conducted at the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehman College, has found that white tea and green tea contain comparable levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Green tea packs in tons of antioxidants and is even considered one of the top high-antioxidant foods.
Drinking a cup or two of white tea per day could make a major impact on your health. In fact, an animal study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that daily consumption improved antioxidant status and prevented oxidative damage in rats.
For best results, pair a cup or two per day with a diet rich in other antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and veggies.
Improves Oral Health
White tea contains many compounds that could help promote oral health, including plant compounds like polyphenols and tannins.
These compounds can help reduce plaque formation by blocking the growth of bacteria. Additionally, the fluoride found in the tea has a high bioavailability, which can prevent cavities. In fact, it’s estimated that about 34 percent of the fluoride in each cup is retained, according to research published in the Dental Research Journal — meaning it can help ward off cavities and give your oral health a boost.
Amps Up Fat Burning
Research has found that white and green tea tea have similar levels of catechins. Catechins are plant compounds with antioxidant properties that help kick-start fat burning and give your metabolism a boost.
A test-tube study out of Germany published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism showed that white tea extract induced a breakdown of fat cells and also prevented new fat cells from forming.
Other natural fat burners include grapefruit essential oil, cherries, coconut oil and bone broth.
May Kill Cancer Cells
Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, some studies have found that white tea could boast cancer-fighting properties.
A test-tube study published in Cancer Prevention Research treated lung cancer cells with white tea extract, which was found to kill off cancer cells. Another test-tube study out of the University of Malaya in Malaysia showed that white tea extract was able to stop colon cancer cells from spreading and protect healthy cells against damage.
In addition to tea, other antioxidant-rich foods include berries, ginger, turmeric and leafy greens.
Improves Reproductive Health
Multiple studies have found that white tea may help promote reproductive health and boost fertility, especially in men.
In an animal study out of Portugal, giving prediabetic rats white tea was found to prevent testicular oxidative damage caused by free radicals, helping preserve sperm quality. A 2016 animal study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry had similar findings, noting that giving white tea extract to animals with prediabetes improved sperm quality by increasing its ability to move and restoring its viability.
Research shows that white tea may help protect your brain health due to its high catechin content.
A test-tube study from San Jorge University in Spain in 2011 showed that white tea extract effectively protected rat brain cells against oxidative stress and toxicity. Another test-tube study out of Spain published in Neurotoxicity Research also found that white tea extract prevented oxidative damage in brain cells.
White tea also contains a similar antioxidant profile to green tea, which has been shown to improve cognitive function in the elderly and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your blood. Although your body needs cholesterol, having too much can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, causing the arteries to narrow and harden.
White tea benefits your heart health by helping lower cholesterol levels. In one animal study, treating diabetic rats with white tea extract resulted in a reduction of total and bad LDL cholesterol levels.
Other ways to lower cholesterol naturally include eating more high-fiber foods with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and limiting your intake of sugar, refined carbs, trans fat and alcohol.