Tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, not only is it an easy way to stay hydrated but they often contain antioxidants, vitamins, and offer health benefits. But what’s the healthiest tea to drink daily?

True tea vs herbal tea

True teas are black tea, pu-erh, green tea, white tea, and oolong. This is because they all come from the same plant, Camellia Sinesis, but the difference is how they’re processed and oxidized to bring out certain flavors and components in the leaves.  

Herbal teas technically are not real teas, but rather infusions, like peppermint, ginger, or hibiscus, but they do offer benefits of their own. For example, peppermint tea freshens breath and helps with digestion, ginger tea eases an upset stomach, and hibiscus tea can actually help manage blood pressure! True teas contain more antioxidants and catechins than herbal teas.

The healthiest tea to drink daily is true tea, but one true tea can be considered the healthiest of them all.

The runners up:

Black tea 

Black tea is the most popular kind of tea in the world, in fact, when many people ask for a cup of tea, they’re asking for black tea. 

Black tea is the most oxidized true tea. This kind of tea is usually made from the large-leafed Assamica variation of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves oxidize and are then heat-processed and dried. The oxygen the leaves are exposed to is what turns the leaves black and gives it it’s malty flavor. Black tea is a good source of antioxidants, and the caffeine content can help with concentration and alertness. It can even help maintain good gut health. As black tea contains polyphenols, it can promote the growth of good gut bacteria and half the growth of bad gut bacteria. It is also antimicrobial which means it can kill harmful substances, and help repair the lining of the digestive system.

Oolong 

Oolong is partially oxidized tea, which is almost like a halfway point between black tea which is fully oxidized and green tea which is minimally oxidized. Depending on the maker of the tea, it can taste like a softer version of either black or green tea based on how long it was oxidised. 

Oolong has less caffeine than black tea. Black tea can have 130 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup, whereas oolong contains between 16.6 mg to 55.4 mg per cup. 55.4mg/cup. Oolong tea can be a away to reap the health benefits of black tea, while consuming less caffeine. 

Green tea

Green tea is often referred to as the healthiest tea to drink daily, and even the healthiest beverage to drink overall. Green tea is a very healthy tea. It’s less oxidized than oolong and black tea, which means its less processed.

Green tea is a better source of the antioxidant epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is one of the most powerful antioxidants and can; slow down cancer growth and even kill cancer cells, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers, is antimicrobial, and can reduce the risk of fatty liver. However, theaflavins are unique to black tea. These are polyphenos which also act as an antioxidant, and can reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. 

Green tea is believed to help you live longer and is often hypothesised to be a factor in Japanese people’s slightly longer lifespans. A study on elderly Chinese citizens found that green tea drinkers were more likely to live longer.


Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is the most oxidized of all the true teas, and can even have a shelf life of up to 50 years and it seems to improve with age is stored correctly. Although it looks like black tea, they’re quite different. Black tea is darkened via oxidation whereas pu-erh’s color is the result of microbial fermentation. Pu-erh leaves are lightly roasted and then compressed to produce microbial activity, which changes the compounds in the leaves. 

 As pu-erh tea has antioxidants and vitamin C it can help ward off colds and flus during winter. It can also help manage stress as it contains GABA and theanine which help lower stress levels and increase melatonin which helps sleep and promotes calmness. 

The healthiest tea you can drink daily 

White tea is arguably the healthiest tea you can drink dairy. 

This is because white tea is Camellia Sinesis in its purest form. White tea has the highest concentration of antioxidants.

White tea leaves are plucked from Camellia Sinensis plant and sun-dried immediately. It’ the least oxidized and doesn’t require microbial fermentation either. As a result, white tea is a light yellow and has a mild taste. The specific origin of the tea can affect the tea as some variations are fruity while others may be spicy. Silver Needle white tea is made from the flowers and buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant, while White Peony is from the top two leaves and buds. 

Health benefits of white tea

Studies have shown that white tea is antibacterial and can ward off pneumonia, and streptococcus and staphylococcus infections, it can even prevent tooth decade as fluoride rich white tea can halt dental plaque.

Studies have also shown that it can protect against cancer. The Oregon State University found that white tea can be almost as effective as drugs such as sulindac in preventing colon cancer in lab mice who were predisposed to this kind of cancer. Mice that given green tea and sulindac tumor reduced from 30 to 17, whereas the mice white tea had 13 tumors, down from 30. The mice who were on white tea and sulindac’s tumors dropped by 80% from having 30 tumors to 6. Although this kind of testing does not always yield the same results in human trials, the research is promising. 

Despite having the least amount of caffeine than the other true teas, white tea can help you stay awake and alert. This is because of the high polyphenol content which can ward off fatigue as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.  Polyphenols are chemicals from plants like tea that act as antioxidants and offer health benefits like 

An 8-oz cup of white tea has around 15 to 30 mg of caffeine, compared to 25mg in green tea. For comparison, a cup of black tea has half the caffeine of a cup of coffee, which has around 80mg of caffeine. 

It’s one of the healthiest teas for skincare 

White tea can improve hair and skin condition. Antioxidants can prevent free-radical damage which can cause skin damage and aging. Antioxidants disarm free radicals which are the result of oxygen molecules splitting up into separate unpaired electrons which damages DNA. This is caused by oxidative stress which can be triggered by pollution, radiation, smoking, drinking, and even wear and tear. Free radicals can heavily age skin by causing wrinkles. 

White tea doesn’t just protect skin from premature aging, but it can keep it looking smooth and youthful. As white tea is a source of phenols, it can boost elastin and collagen production which keep skin plump and glowing. 

White tea can also help reduce inflammation and redness caused by dandruff and eczema as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps with psoriasis and rosacea because the EGCG content triggers the production of new skin cells


The Bottom Line

White tea is arguably the healthiest tea you can drink any day, but this doesn’t mean that green tea has lost its crown as one of the healthiest drinks in the world. All pure teas have health benefits, many of which overlap. You can drink a cup of white tea, and still reap benefits of green, black, oolong, and pu-erh tea. Herbal teas also have their own health benefits, but fall down on anti-oxidants in comparisons to true teas. As herbal teas can ease ailments such as nausea and indigestion, they have their time and place but are also popular because they taste nice. Tea is a great way to stay hydrated while getting in some nutrients.