Tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. It contains antioxidants and vitamins that offer a variety of health benefits. For many people, drinking tea is part of their daily routine. But what is the healthiest tea you can drink daily?
There are a lot of factors at play, like the amount of antioxidants in the tea and the way the tea leaves are processed. White tea is arguably the healthiest tea you can drink every day because it has the highest concentration of antioxidants. It is made of Camellia Sinensis in its purest form. It undergoes minimal processing.
But this doesn’t mean you should completely ignore other teas and drink white tea exclusively. There are a lot of healthy teas out there. In this article, we will explore the healthiest teas you can find on the market and learn more about white tea. Let’s dive into the world of teas together.
What Is Tea: True Tea Vs Herbal Tea
First of all, what are true teas? Herbal teas are technically not true teas. They are infusions. Some of the most popular herbal teas are hibiscus, ginger, and peppermint. They have health benefits too.
Hibiscus tea can help manage blood pressure. Ginger tea can calm an upset stomach. And peppermint tea can freshen your breath and help with your digestion. Despite these health benefits, herbal teas contain lower amounts of antioxidants and catechins when compared to true teas.
True teas come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis. But they can come in many forms, like black tea, green tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and white tea. The difference between these teas is how they are processed to bring out certain components and flavors from the tea leaves.
The runners up
Here are the healthiest true teas you can try.
1. Black tea
Black tea is the most popular kind of tea in the world. When someone asks for a cup of tea without specifying what kind of tea they want, they likely mean black tea.
Black tea is a good source of antioxidants and caffeine. The polyphenols in black tea promote good gut bacteria and inhibit the growth of bad gut bacteria. The high caffeine content can help with alertness and concentration.
But black tea is the most oxidized of the true teas. It is usually made from the large-leafed Assamica variation of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves are oxidized, heat-processed, and dried. The leaves have a black color and a malty flavor because of their exposure to oxygen.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is often referred to as the healthiest tea to drink daily. Sometimes, it’s even said that it’s the healthiest beverage to drink overall. Green tea is indeed very healthy. It is less oxidized than black tea, which means it is less processed.
Green tea is so healthy that it is believed to help you live longer. A study on elderly Chinese people found that those who drank green tea had a reduced risk of mortality.
Green tea is a great source of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), one of the most powerful antioxidants. It can help slow down cancer growth and even kill cancer cells. It can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and fatty liver.
The tea also has antimicrobial effects against several microorganisms within your body. But it doesn’t have theaflavins, polyphenols that lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
3. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is partially oxidized, making it like a halfway point between the fully oxidized black tea and the minimally oxidized green tea. Depending on the maker of the tea, it can taste like a softer version of either.
Oolong tea has less caffeine than black tea. It contains 16.6 mg to 55.4 mg per cup, compared to black tea’s 130 mg. Drinking oolong tea can be a way to reap some of the health benefits of black tea while limiting caffeine consumption.
4. Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea that can have a shelf life of up to 50 years. If black tea is darkened via oxidation, pu-erh tea is via microbial fermentation. Pu-erh leaves are lightly roasted and compressed to produce microbial activity. This process changes the compounds in the leaves.
Pu-erh tea can help ward off colds and various strains of the flu during winter because it is high in antioxidants and vitamin C. It can also help improve sleep, manage stress, and promote calmness because it contains GABA and theanine.
Winner: White Tea
White tea is arguably the healthiest tea you can drink daily. It is the least altered true tea because it is not oxidized nor does it require microbial fermentation. The leaves are plucked from the Camellia Sinensis plant and sun-dried immediately. It is Camellia Sinensis in its purest form, with minimal processing and manipulation.
The tea has a light-yellow color and a mild taste. The origin of the tea leaves can affect the taste. Variations can go from fruity to spicy.
Studies have shown that white tea is antibacterial. It can ward off pneumonia and streptococcus and staphylococcus infections. The tea is also rich in fluoride, so it can halt dental plaque and prevent tooth decay.
Health benefits of White Tea
You should seriously consider drinking white tea daily because of these incredible benefits.
1. White Tea Has the Lowest Amount of Caffeine
White tea has the least amount of caffeine among the true teas. An 8-oz cup of white tea has around 15 mg of caffeine, compared to the 20 mg of green tea.
Despite the low caffeine content, white tea can still help you stay alert and awake. This is because of the high polyphenol content. The polyphenols offer a myriad of health benefits. They can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and ward off fatigue.
2. White Tea Can Help Protect You from Certain Types of Cancer
Studies have shown that white tea can help protect you from cancer.
The Oregon State University found that white tea can be almost as effective as sulindac in preventing colon cancer in lab mice. Mice that were given green tea saw a reduction in tumor incidence from 30 to 17, but the mice that were given white tea had a reduction of 30 to 13. The mice that received both sulindac and white tea saw even more significant reduction at 30 to 6.
Although this kind of research does not always yield the same results in human trials, it is promising.
3. White Tea is One of the Healthiest Teas for Skin Care
White tea can improve the health and overall condition of your hair and skin.
Free radicals form because of oxidative stress from drinking, smoking, pollution, radiation, and even from just wear and tea. They can cause skin damage and accelerate the signs of aging.
White tea has antioxidants that disarm free radicals and prevent free radical damage. It also has phenols that boost elastin and collagen production that keep your skin plump and glowing.
The tea can help reduce inflammation and redness caused by dandruff and eczema. It can also help with psoriasis and rosacea because its EGCG content triggers the production of new skin cells.
The Bottom Line
Tea is a great way to stay hydrated and improve your overall health. Herbal teas are great, but they have lower antioxidants compared to true teas.
True teas are some of the healthiest beverages you can drink, and many of their health benefits overlap. You can drink a cup of white tea and still reap many of the benefits of black, green, oolong, and pu-erh teas.
White tea is arguably the healthiest of them all, thanks to its high antioxidant content and minimal processing.