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Posts Tagged ‘White Tea’

White Tea and Chronic Disease

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Cancer Prevention

Flavonoids, which are a class of antioxidants that are found in white tea, can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. With the protective power of flavonoids, white tea can be a potent preventative measure against different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers.

Strengthens Bones

Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. Also, due to the potent cocktail of antioxidants found in white tea, it may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.

Decreases Blood Pressure

Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function – this is mainly due to a combination of the various antioxidants found in white tea, which can neutralize free radicals that can damage the circulatory system. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea can also guard against the ravages of strokes. Because white tea contains the vasodilator theobromine, it helps lower high blood pressure and maintains a healthy circulatory system.

Improves Cholesterol Profile

Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is simply loaded with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and the catechins in white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad.

Heart Protection

Researchers have previously discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. Combined with its ability to improve cholesterol levels, white tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Amazingly, white tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. Also, due to the anti-microbial effects of its antioxidants (see below), white tea also kills the bacterium which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath. A 2004 study at Pace University concluded that fluoride-rich white tea helps prevent the growth of dental plaque, the chief cause of tooth decay.

Healthy Skin

If you’re stressed out, have a poor diet, or stay out in the sun too long, free radicals can greatly accumulate in your skin, damage it, and cause it to prematurely age! As you might have guessed, drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin because it is chocked-full of many different types of antioxidants that scavenge these free radicals. Therefore, white tea can help protect your skin and helps to reverse some of the damage induced by free radicals.

Antibacterial & Antiviral

One of the most remarkable effects of white tea is that it is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. Overall, the antioxidants in white tea are so abundant that they boost the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders. Need another reason to drink white tea? A 2004 study concluded that white tea can help your body’s immune system fight off viruses –  including the common cold and flu – and dangerous infection-causing bacteria.

Stress Relief and Other Health Benefits

If all that isn’t enough, white tea even reduces stress!  It has a higher concentration of the amino acid theanine (which has relaxing and mood enhancing properties) than either green tea or black tea!

Finally, one study examining the composition of brewed green and white teas found that white tea contained more gallic acid (a potent anti-oxidant with anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties) and theobromine (an alkaloid that causes vasodilatation, or blood vessel widening, which can help increase circulation).

Clearly, with all of the aforementioned health benefits of drinking this brew, white tea is a potent addition to any health conscious consumer’s diet – moreover, all of the varieties of white tea have a sweet, silky flavour. In comparison to green tea, people that have tasted both teas note that white tea lacks a “grassy” aftertaste so often associated with green tea. Also, as we’ve already discovered, the antioxidant content of white tea far surpasses that of green tea. So, if you’re already a green tea devotee, or you’re just being introduced to the wonderful world of Camellia sinensis, then white tea is an extremely nourishing and tasty brew which is enormously beneficial to your health!

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Health Benefits of White Tea

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Overall, white tea has a great range of effects on the body and a tremendous number of benefits to your health – its supreme power are in preventing disease and disorder. Briefly, white tea helps protect against cancer, heart disease, and stroke – the leading causes of death in the industrial world. Moreover, white tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems, reinforces your bones and teeth, builds healthier skin, and eases the symptoms of illness.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty chemicals and metabolic by-products that go around wreaking havoc on your body by damaging DNA, structural proteins (e.g. muscle, skin), bones, and they can even accelerating aging!

Antioxidants can ‘scavenge’ the free-radicals and render them harmless – that is, they neutralize them. Fortunately, white tea is loaded with these protective antioxidants, more so than any other variety of tea! For example, studies have shown that white tea has a concentration of antioxidants that is three times higher than in green tea.  For another comparison, just one cup of white tea contains approximately twelve times as much antioxidants as fresh orange juice!

Here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

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White Tea: History

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Unlike most other varieties, white tea is an uncured and unoxidized tea leaf. Historically, white tea is a specialty of the Chinese province Fujian – in fact, white tea dates back as far as the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) and quickly became the tea of choice for the Chinese Royal Courts.

Until 1885, white tea did not undergo many changes – however, specific varietals of tea bushes were selected afterwards to make Silver Needle and other specialty white teas. Globally, Chinese exportation of these fine teas began in 1891 – however, the leaves now come from a number of varieties of tea cultivars, including those in Sri Lanka.

Like green, oolong and black tea, white tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, oolong and black teas are oxidized before curing – again, white tea leaves are completely unoxidized. Some actually regard white tea as a slightly modified version of green tea since they both undergo very little processing – however, the main difference between these two types of tea is that the white tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than the green tea leaves. During the processing stage, white tea is not fermented at all while green tea is partly fermented – on the other hand, black tea is fully fermented.

Because they are so gently treated, white tea and green tea both retain a large proportion of their beneficial antioxidants. Essentially, as we’ll see in the next section, the health benefits of white tea are simply staggering – leaving tea leaves so close to their natural state means that white tea contains more polyphenols, the powerful anti-oxidant that fights and kills cancer-causing cells, than any other type of tea!

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Oolong Tea: Other Health Benefits

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

In addition to its weight loss benefits, oolong tea has gained immense popularity for its many health benefits – in fact, there are hundreds of studies done on the various benefits of oolong tea.

Firstly, oolong tea promotes general health and well-being since it contains a large quantitiy of polymerized polyphenols which have been shown to:

• promote strong, healthy teeth;
• improve cognitive functioning and mental well-being;
• prevent eczema, allergies;
• clarify skin aberrations, giving it a healthy, radiant look
• strengthen immune system

Cancer Prevention
Again, oolong tea has long been consumed in Chinese society for centuries, and has been consumed for its many health benefits – nowadays, many recent studies have shown that oolong tea can help reduce the risk of cancer, and in some cases it has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

In one study, researchers found that oolong tea polyphenol extract (OTPE) induced apoptosis (programmed cell-death) in human stomach cancer cells – this means that the OTPE was able to trigger a genetic program in these stomach cancer cells which caused them to die. Moreover, another study found that oolong tea contains the compound chafuroside, which is a new flavone derivative – chafuroside has been found to be a strong anti-inflammatory compound, and the same study found that chafuroside from oolong tea maybe a good chemopreventive agent against colon cancer.

Anti-aging
Not so surprisingly, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the anti-aging benefits of oolong tea. In fact, one study performed on older Chinese adults found that regular consumption of oolong tea is associated with lowered risk of age-related cognitive impairment and decline. The study involved 2501 subjects over 55 years old, and they found that total oolong tea intake was significantly associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment.

A 2001 Japanese study found that drinking 1 litre of wulong tea a day can take 2 years off the internal organ ‘age’. To point out the weight loss benefits of oolong tea, researchers also reported that out of the 11 participants, 9 experienced 2 centimetres reduction in their waist size and 8 experienced 2 centimetres reduction in their upper arms. Finally, they also observed lower bad cholesterols levels (LDL levels).

Antioxidants
Oolong tea also contains high concentrations of antioxidants which are beneficial for your health. Here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

Reduces Blood Pressure
Oolong tea has also been shown in studies to reduce the risk of hypertension – in fact, many of these studies come from Chinese research done on various segments of the Chinese tea drinking population. One study measured the risk of newly diagnosed hypertension in 1507 subjects aged 20 years and older. In this study, researchers found that the risk of developing hypertension was reduced by 46% for subjects who drank 120 to 599ml of oolong tea per day – staggeringly, for subjects who drank more than 600ml of tea, the risk of hypertension was reduced by 65%.

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Matcha Tea: Cancer Prevention

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Again, antioxidants are found in many foods including fruits and vegetables – however, not all antioxidants are created equal.

The class of antioxidants known as catechins are only found in green tea, and they are easily among the most potent. Of the catechins themselves, EGCg (epicgallocatechin gallate) is the catechin with broadest and most potent cancer-fighting properties – numerous studies have shown that it’s free radical neutralizing power is able to help prevent various types of cancer, including pancreatic, stomach, kidney, and liver cancers.

Sixty percent of the catechin content of matcha tea is EGCg – overall, one gram of matcha contains 105 mg of total catechin content, roughly 61% of which is EGCg!

Energy, Relaxation, and Focus:

Much like coffee, matcha can give you an energy boost – that is, without any jittery side effects. However, unlike caffeine from coffee, matcha contains a mild stimulant known as theophylline – unlike the caffeine found in coffee, drinking matcha releases smaller dosages of theophylline over a much longer period of time. Actually, this slower release is caused by matcha containing an abundance of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals – this slows the absorption of theophylline into the blood stream, allowing for a continual release of energy over a period of 3 to 6 hours.

Moreover, the amino acids called theanines found in matcha are found virtually exclusive to green tea. Interestingly, research now suggests that the consumption of theanines may help to produce more alpha waves in the brain – briefly, alpha waves are the same brain waves that are created when you have a massage or relax in a hot bath. Overall, theanines trigger the brain to feel more relaxed and to reduce the feeling of stress.

Finally, many people comment on matcha’s ability to help provide sustained focus and feelings of lucidness – intriguingly, the Buddhist monks were the first to harness the power of matcha for this reason. For example, Buddhist monks often meditate for 3 to 6 hours at a time – after drinking matcha, the mild stimulation from theophylline keeps them awake and alert, while the theanines allowed the monks to focus, relax and concentrate on their training.

Detoxifying Agent

Over many years, numerous scientific studies have shown that chlorophyll, the pigment which gives leaves their green color, helps to remove poisonous heavy metals and various chemical toxins from the body.

Again, unlike tea leaves which are infused then discarded, and matcha powdered tea is fully ingested when consumed – since matcha is shade grown, a process which greatly increases the chlorophyll content in the leaves, matcha is an extremely chlorophyll-rich food.

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Antioxidants and the ORAC Tests

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Briefly, ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a testing method developed by the U.S.D.A. and Tufts University to quantitatively measure the potency of antioxidants found in foods and beverages – generally speaking, foods that score high in the ORAC antioxidant assay may protect cells and their components from damage by oxygen radicals. Free radicals are nasty chemicals and metabolic by-products that go around wreaking havoc on your body by damaging DNA, structural proteins (e.g. muscle, skin), bones, and they can even accelerating aging! Antioxidants can ‘scavenge’ the free-radicals and render them harmless – that is, they neutralize them.

Recently, an ORAC test was conducted by Brunswick Laboratories on ‘muzi’ matcha green tea, and the results demonstrated that the antioxidant complement of matcha tea is exponentially greater than all hitherto known foods and beverages – staggeringly, ‘muzi’ matcha tea scored a whopping 1348 ORAC units per gram, and thus surpassed all antioxidant rich foods identified by the USDA by a magnitude of greater than 20! Again, when compared to other premium green teas, matcha contains approximately 10 to 15 times the antioxidants per serving.

Moreover, matcha contains a host of unique antioxidants – for example, EGCg, or epigallocatechin gallate, is a unique set of polyphenols that help to scavenge free radicals from the body, and they are currently the center of attention by many biochemical researchers and epidemiologists. In fact, a recent study conducted at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs suggested that matcha green tea contained over 137 times the EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) levels of popular tea bag green teas. Furthermore, matcha contains polyphenols EGC (epigallo catechins), ECG (epicatechin gallate), and EC (epicatechins) all of which have a significantly stronger antioxidant effect than EGCg alone when working in synergy.

Now that you’ve learned about the extensive array of potent antioxidants found in matcha tea, and here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

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Matcha Preparation

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

japan tea gardenIn general, there are two ways to prepare matcha:

  1. Usucha (‘thin tea’): is prepared with half a teaspoon of matcha and about 2.5 oz of fresh hot water which can be whisked for frothiness. Usucha is lighter and slightly more bitter.
  2. Koicha (‘thick tea’): requires as many as 6 teaspoons of matcha powder and 3/4 cup water. Koicha requires a slower stirring motion which does not produce the foam. Koicha is a sweeter tea.

To prepare a standard serving of matcha, put two tea scoops (approx. 1.25g to 2g) or ½ a level teaspoon of matcha tea into a bowl – afterwards, take between 1 to 6 oz of hot water (depending on preference) that was once boiled and now cooled to 80 oC, and pour it into the bowl. Now, take a bamboo whisk and gently whisk the tea until a fine froth develops on the surface.

For those that do not have access to a bamboo whisk, the process is a bit more involved; you must add a droplet of water into the bowl with the tea to make a thick paste first, and then slowly add water while stirring to eventually dilute the tea to one’s preference.

Overall, determine the sweetness and general flavour of the matcha will depend on when the leaves are harvested – generally, matcha that was harvested later in the year will have less flavour and sweetness as opposed to matcha harvested earlier in the year (which is considered the highest grade).

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History of Matcha

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Broadly speaking, all Japanese teas are green – matcha is green tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder, hence the translation ma (ground) cha (tea). However, since matcha drinkers consume the entire leaf, rather than steeping the tea and throwing out the leaves, they truly secure its energy and health benefits – actually, drinking the entire ground leaf makes it possible for one cup of matcha tea to equal 10 cups of regular green tea!

Historically, matcha tea was first introduced in the Song Dynasty of Southern China – in 1191, matcha was brought to Japan by a Zen Buddhist monk named Eisai. Intriguingly, due to the Mongol invasions of the Song, the powdered style of drinking green tea was lost in China – however, Japan, whose forces were successful at repelling the Mongol invasions of the time, managed to hold onto the matcha tradition. Indeed, matcha tea and its consumption has changed very little since the days of Eisai, which reflects a nearly thousand-year-old tradition that is now making its way into North America.

Although matcha is popular in all of Japan, it is primarily grown in three major areas: Aichi, Kyoto and Shizuoka – however, Aichi is Japan’s principal production region for premium matcha. Interestingly, the city of Nishio in the Aichi region is located far from the major urban centers – many matcha enthusiasts in Japan argue that this allows for the clean air and mountain waters to create the highest quality tea plants.

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Green Tea vs. White Tea Price and Overall Value

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Because white tea is hand plucked from special bushes, during only a few days of early spring, and treated in such a delicate manner, it is much scarcer than other types of tea – of course, that means that it is also more expensive. In fact, white tea can be up to three times more expensive than green tea for the best qualities.

On the other hand, less white tea is needed to get a fresh and potent infusion of antioxidants that strengthens the immune system and helps protect the body – amazingly, only a spoonful of white tea buds is enough to brew about one quart (one liter) of white tea, several times!

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, drinking green tea daily is an excellent habit which assists you in getting the antioxidants you need in your system. That being said, you could go one step further and drink white tea to enjoy 3x the amount of antioxidants. Moreover, the smooth taste and extremely low caffeine content of white tea usually convinces people of its benefits. Really, the only drawback to white tea is its higher cost compared to green tea – however, a little bit sure does go a long way! Overall, if you are looking for a tea that is extremely high in antioxidants with a smooth taste and lower caffeine content, white tea is the brew for you.

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Green Tea vs. White Tea Taste and Appearance

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Let’s face the reality of the situation here – for all the important health reasons you may drink tea, taste is still the most important aspect of the experience.

Of course, taste preferences will differ among everyone; however, many people find the more subtle and sweet taste of white tea much more appealing than that of green tea. For many, the often “grassy” aftertaste associated with green tea is simply unbearable – on the other hand, white tea has a smooth, silky and almost sweet taste, which again is usually considered much ‘lighter’ than green tea. Moreover, with white tea, there are also many extremely delicious alternative flavours such as blueberry white tea.

Moreover, many people find the “golden” appearance of white tea more to their liking as well – the appearance of correctly brewed white tea has been described as a pale gold, not unlike a young white wine.

Caffeine Content

While both white tea and green tea contain lower caffeine levels than other forms of tea – and certainly much less than a cup of coffee – the caffeine content of white tea is even lower than that of green tea. White tea contains about 15 mg per serving compared to the 20 mg for green tea. Therefore, if caffeine tends to make you jittery and/or anxious, white tea may be the better choice. Moreover, its lower caffeine content makes white tea the best choice for a late night brew if you want to relax.

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