Balance Your Immune System – The Health Benefits of White Tea
In a world filled with processed food, chemical pollutants and chronic stress, its no wonder so many people suffer from autoimmune problems. This article will explain a little more about the role chronic inflammation plays in immune system health and how white tea can help. Learn the many health benefits of white tea.
What is White Tea?
Though it is often confused as such, white tea is not an herbal tea. Rather, it is one of four main types of “true tea”. The basic difference between a true tea vs. an herbal tea is actually quite simple: Any tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush is considered a true tea, while any tea that is made from fruits, spices or other plants is considered an herbal tea.
White tea is the least processed of the true teas. Its leaves are picked only in the springtime and before the leaves open. Unlike black and green tea leaves, which are prepared by rolling, white tea leaves are gently steamed and slowly dried. They are less oxidized than black, green and oolong tea, giving the tea its delicate flavor and multiple health benefits.
There are four main types of white tea:
The finest and most popular white tea, silver needle is made only from the silvery white buds. Its flavor is delicate and refreshing with just a hint of sweetness.
White peony is made from both the stems and buds. This white tea offers a bolder flavor and is darker in color than its more mild cousin.
Long Life Eyebrow
This white tea is made from the leaves left over from the silver needle and peony harvest. This tea received its name from the long, thin leaves used to produce it. Its flavor is much stronger than that of silver needle and white peony teas.
This more processed tea is considered a “lower grade” white tea. Its dark, full flavor and earthy undertones make it popular in Chinese teahouses and it is often served with Dim Sum.
The Over-Defensive Immune System – Allergies and Autoimmune Disease
Allergy and autoimmune disease sufferers owe their discomfort to one common problem: Chronic inflammation. When you have allergies, your immune system is hyper-sensitive to the pollen, dust, mold, chemical, etc. in the air. This causes it to go into full attack mode as if these substances were not harmless annoyances but severe, life-threatening entities come to destroy you. The problem with this is your immune system stays in constant “fight or flight” mode, causing chronic inflammation, which can lead to autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease is characterized by the body turning on its own organs and tissues as if those vital parts were not a part of you but foreign invaders to be destroyed at all costs. After years and decades of this, troubling mystery symptoms begin to develop. You may suddenly feel exhausted all the time, have achey muscles and joints, develop gastrointestinal problems or find yourself becoming depressed, anxious or irritable.
This is because your body is literally destroying itself. Can this process be reversed? Yes! Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to combat chronic inflammation. One of them is white tea.
White Tea and a Balanced Immune System
One of the single most important health benefits of white tea is its natural anti-inflammatory properties. The secret healing ingredient in white tea is its antioxidants. In order to understand the health benefits of antioxidants in white tea, it’s important to understand more about free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules that are present in your body as a result of tobacco smoke, chemicals pollutants, medical or recreational drugs, processed food, electromagnetic stress (TV, cell phone, computer, etc.), emotional and physical trauma. Now that goes for everybody.
If you’re an allergy or autoimmune disease sufferer, your body is likely filled with many more free radicals than the average person. Why? Because of the chronic inflammation!
This is why antioxidants are especially important for you. Since the leaves used to produce white tea are picked young and minimally processed, they contain some of the highest levels of healing antioxidants. Drinking a cup of white tea ensures those antioxidants go to work, scavanging those free radicals and neutralizing them before they can do any further damage.
White tea is also a natural antibacterial and antiviral, which can help tone the immune system and ease inflammation and allergic response.
More Health Benefits of White Tea
The antioxidant health benefits of white tea don’t just stop at balancing your immune system. White tea can improve skin health, aid in weight-loss efforts and even prevent certain types of cancer!
Nothing steals your youth like those beauty-sucking free radicals. Think about it: Everyday you pack on mounds of high-priced beauty creams and slather on chemical-laden cosmetics. They may make you look pretty for a couple of hours but the damage they’re doing is more than skin deep. Chemicals in cosmetics can increase your body’s production of free radicals, which can make you look older. The antioxidants found in white tea can help reverse these effects.
To deepen the beauty benefits of white tea, try a bentonite clay and white tea facial. Brew some white tea, allow it to steep and add it to bentonite clay instead of water for your face mask. Leave on 15-20 minutes and rinse with a warm washcloth. Follow with a cold water splash to tighten pores.
Though there are many prescription cholesterol medications on the market, many can cause unwanted side effects. White tea balances cholesterol by lowering bad cholestrol and raising good. This is due to a special type of antioxidant called ‘catechins’, which not only balance cholesterol but prevent hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease.
If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, white tea can help. According to a German study, white tea prevents the cells in the body from storing too much fat. Drinking white tea in conjunction with eating a sensible, whole-food diet and engaging in moderate exercise can help melt those pounds away in a safe, natural way.
According to research, avid tea drinkers enjoyed a 5% stronger bone density than non tea drinkers. It is believed the high polyphenol content in true teas such as white tea are responsible for this particular health benefit.
Best Brands of White Tea
When it comes to choosing the best brand of white tea, organic and natural is always the healthier choice. These teas contain no artificial ingredients that could counteract the health benefits you’re trying to achieve. Let’s take a look at some common brands.
Celestial Seasonings DeCaf White Tea
If you’re sensitive to caffeine like I am, you want your tea to be either decaffeinated or caffeine-free. Celestial Seasonings offers a decaf white peony, which offers a mellow yet slightly sweet. When you choose this tea, you can be sure you’re drinking a gluten-free, Kosher product.
Good Earth Organic White Tea – Citrus
For those who want a little flavor and added health benefits to their white tea, Good Earth organic white tea is an excellent choice. Each oxygen-bleached tea bag contains completely organic ingredients packaged in an environmentally-friendly box. Ingredients are: Organic white tea, organic lemongrass, organic chamomile, organic rose petals, organic rosehips, organic lemon oil, organic flavor, organic jasmine and organic orange oil.
Numi’s White Rose Tea
Numi’s brand teas are all organic and 100% natural. Their white rose tea is a delicate blend of white tea and whole organic rose buds, which make for a relaxing, aromatic brew.
White Tea Contraindications
Since white tea has a high caffeine content, anxious people and those sensitive to caffeine should drink only decaffeinated brands. As always, if you have a serious health problem, consult with your health care practitioner before drink white tea or taking herbal remedies.
As you can see, white tea has many health benefits. Whether you plan to start with loose-leaf white tea or white tea bags, this tea can help improve your immune system and keep you healthy cup after cup.