White tea vs green tea
Nutrition expert Lisa Guy weighs up the health benefits of white and green tea.
(Q) I have read white tea is better than green tea. And yet all reports recommend green tea. Can you please explain the difference?
Both white and green teas come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. White tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than green tea leaves. White tea is considered rare and is usually more expensive than green, as it can only be hand picked during a few days of early spring and has to be handled with such care.
Green tea involves slightly more processing compared to white tea. White tea is steamed rapidly and then dried. While green tea is partially fermented. First it's steamed, fired and then rolled. Black tea on the other hand is fully fermented. Because white and green teas are treated gently and not overly processed, they retain most of their beneficial antioxidants. Green tea is considered rich in antioxidants. However since white tea is less processed, it retains a higher amount of antioxidants, compared to green.
White tea contains the same types of antioxidants as green tea, but in greater quantity. These antioxidants are found to have many health promoting properties including boosting cardiovascular health, helping to lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of cancer and enhancing weight loss. The caffeine component of green tea has been shown to have a positive effect on green tea's ability to help with weight loss – so choosing green over white in this instance maybe more beneficial as green tea contains slightly more caffeine. Green tea contains around 20g of caffeine, compared to white that has around 15g. In comparison, black tea contains around 45mg.
White tea also tastes different to green, having a smoother, gentler, almost sweet taste.
Green tea is definitely an extremely healthy addition to the diet. I think the reason more people recommend green tea over white is that it has been studied extensively; it's more common plus it's easier and cheaper to buy.
However, considering white tea contains more antioxidants and less caffeine, white tea would be an even healthier choice. A tip when buying white or green tea: choose organic as the tea plant readily absorbs fluoride from pesticides.