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Benefits of White Tea

By Dena McDowell

Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Tea comes in many forms, green and black tea are popular in the Western world. White tea, native to China, has gained popularity due to its low caffeine content coupled with its disease fighting components. White tea is the least processed of all teas, created by using leaves and buds, which are steamed and fired, then dried to preserve the disease fighting properties.

Cancer Fighting Benefits

Oregon State University published an epidemiological study by Higdon and Frei thatidentified that white tea contains high amounts of the antioxidant, catechin. This high powered antioxidant inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Drinking white tea regularly may reduce risk of stomach, liver, skin, breast, colon, prostate, lung, esophagus, pancreas and ovarian cancer in animal studies. According to the American Cancer Society, drinking white tea may also reduce risk of recurrence for breast cancer survivors.

Cardiovascular Health Benefits

Drinking tea may also help reduce risk of developing heart disease according to a 2001 study published in the "American Journal of Epidemiology." Components such as catechins help to dilate blood vessels which allows for a reduction in blood pressure and better blood flow throughout the body. White tea contains the highest amount of catechins compared to green and black tea. Research published in 2002 in the "Clinical Science Journal" showed that people who drank any type of tea had a marked reduction in serum cholesterol levels.

Other Health Benefits

White tea prevents cavities and strengthens teeth and bones due to the high fluoride content. White tea and tea extract may also help promote weight loss according to published work in the 2009 "Nutrition and Metabolism Journal." Weight loss may be accelerated in overweight individuals who drink tea due to the active component catechin, which inhibits adipogenesis while stimulating the fat burning activity in the body.

Safety Considerations

In large quantities, tea and tea extracts may reduce potassium levels and may cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Tea may also interfere with the blood thinning effects of Warafarin treatment. Tea also reduces the absorption of plant sources of iron in the diet. People who are anemic should limit tea consumption when eating iron rich foods.

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