Thursday, July 12, 2012

Healthy Food Tip
Can you tell me about white tea, and is it true that white tea is even better for you than green tea?

White, green and black tea all come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but white tea is made from the unopened leaf buds of the plant, whereas green tea is made from the more mature, opened leaves. (Black tea is also made from mature, opened leaves, but undergoes a controlled fermentation process that results in its darker color.)
Both white and green tea contain a phytonutrient that has been high up on the radar screen in health research. This phytonutrient is a polyphenol called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is the primary polyphenol in both white and green tea, and it's a key reason why researchers have been interested in the properties of white tea with respect to prevention of cancer development (tumorigenesis). At this point we only have preliminary animal studies and in vivo laboratory studies in this area. These studies not only fail to look at everyday intake of white tea as part of a daily diet but also often involve specialized extracts made from white tea. But I am hoping that researchers will find enough reason in these preliminary studies to move on to large-scale human studies that examine the potential benefits of white tea drinking in an everyday Healthiest Way of Eating.
I would not call white tea "better" or "worse" for you than green tea. I think of both teas as having health benefits and as being different in their composition.
As always, quality is important when you are purchasing white or green tea, and I recommend organic teas produced by companies that have a reputation for high standards.
If you have any questions about today's Healthy Food Tip Ask George Your Question

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