We all enjoy our frothed mochas and cappuccinos as cold season hits, but research shows white tea could be your best bet to warm you up and keep healthy.
Tea ceremony is an ancient practice, dating back to 10th century B.C. Shang Dynasty. The potent sipper has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for many health issues, including cold and flu, and recent studies have found mounting proof that tea is one of the best sources of a number of healthy antioxidants.
Research has found that the less common white tea is the best tea to help maintain your good health and prevent disease.
Most tea is made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant native to Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Green, black and oolong teas are all made using the leaves, which contain large quantities of antioxidants called polyphenols and catechins.
White tea is made from the buds of the plant, rather than the leaves.
Researchers at Kingston University London in tandem with Neal’s Yard Remedies studied the health benefits plants and herbs, including white tea. The findings were published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal in August 2009.
The camellia sinensis plant is rich in antioxidants, and all four types of tea (white, black, green and oolong) contain a wide range of flavonoids, catechins, and polyphenols. However, the study found white tea showed great potential for preventing aging.
The white tea, researchers say, stopped enzymes in the body from breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen is the protein that keeps the skin strong and elastic, while elastin is important for tissue repair and the firmness of the skin. By preventing these two proteins from breaking down, white tea essentially slows down the aging of the skin.
The enzymes that break down elastin and collagen have been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, so the nutrients that prevent skin damage can also prevent damage to the body.
In the study, white tea significantly outperformed the other 20 herbs and plants. White tea extract prevented significantly more protein breakdown than the other plants studied, and the researchers were impressed by its effect on the good health of the skin. It’s become a popular extract for skincare products.
What could this mean for overall human health? Possible new cancer treatments: The fact that white tea can reduce inflammation means that it can help to prevent cancer, often indicated by inflammation in the body.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatments may also emerge as a direct result of white tea and its anti-inflammatory benefits. Drink up!
Related Reading: Herbal teas for a cup of good medicine