White Tea vs Green Tea: What's the Difference?

Green tea is well known for its many health benefits, while white tea is less common. But, in a direct comparison of white tea vs green tea, which provides more benefits?

How White and Green Tea are Made

Green and white teas both come from the same plant, the tea bush, or Camellia sinensis. This plant originated in China, where tea has a long history. White tea was once the drink of choice for the emperors of China.

White tea is usually still grown in China, although some is produced in India and Africa, while green tea is grown in most tea producing countries. White tea undergoes slightly less processing than green tea, and the least processing of all tea types. White tea is made from very young tea leaves and buds that have not yet opened and still have fine white hairs on them, while green tea is made from slightly more mature leaves. Green tea may be slightly fermented, although not as much as black tea. White tea is not fermented at all, but simply steamed and dried.

Because white tea is made from such small leaves and needs careful handling, it tends to be more expensive than green tea. Good quality white tea that is brewed at the right temperature (below 80C) should not have any bitterness and also lacks the slightly grassy taste of green tea. You can also brew white tea several times with no loss of flavor.

The Benefits of White and Green Tea

The main benefit of tea is the large amounts of antioxidants it contains. Antioxidants can help to prevent damage done by free radicals, which is often a cause of cancer. A lot more research has been done on the direct benefits of green tea than on the benefits of white tea, but white tea has been discovered to have higher concentrations of some antioxidants. The antioxidants in green tea have numerous benefits, including mood enhancement, and as a preventative of osteoporosis. They are particularly effective in preventing heart disease, and drinking green tea can help you to reduce your cholesterol levels, as well as thin the blood and reduce the chances of blood clots. This also helps lower your risk of stroke.

White tea has also been shown to have greater anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects, which can help your immune system to fight off infections. It can also help to prevent plaque by reducing the numbers of bacteria in your mouth. White tea may also have more of the amino acid theanine, which can have a relaxing effect. White tea and green tea contain a similar amount of caffeine, although white tea may have slightly less.

White tea seems at the moment to be the slightly better choice in terms of health benefits, and many people prefer the taste of white tea to green tea. However, white tea can be much more expensive, and green tea has many proven benefits for a much lower cost. Ideally you should drink more white tea, but green tea is well worth drinking if you prefer it.

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