White Teas Match Green Teas in Health Benefits

October 1, 2010

White teas may impart the same health benefits associated with green teas, according to research published in the Journal of Food Science.

Source: U Unachukwu et al., “White and Green Teas (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis): Variation in Phenolic, Methylxanthine, and Antioxidant Profiles,” Journal of Food Science, vol. 75, no. 6 (August 2010): C541-C548.

White teas may impart the same health benefits associated with green teas, according to research published in the Journal of Food Science.

Researchers at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York quantified the antioxidant and phenolic content of eight commercial white teas in comparison to green teas. Using high-performance liquid chromatography, nine phenolic compounds and three methylxanthine compounds were examined and compared from white to green teas. Antioxidant activity and total phenolic content was measured using 1-1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and Folin-Ciocalteau (F–C) assays, respectively.

Regarding antioxidant capacity, it was noted that certain white teas had lesser amounts compared to green teas.

But the catechin levels in both types of tea fell into similar ranges. White teas ranged from 14.40 to 369.60 mg/g of dry plant material for water extracts and 47.16 to 163.94 mg/g for methanol extracts, while green teas offered 21.38 to 228.20 mg/g and 32.23 to 141.24 mg/g. This left the researchers to conclude that the theory of green tea being superior to white tea in this manner is “inconclusive.”

As white tea varieties showed similar polyphenolic contents to green teas, the researchers concluded that white tea, taken for this health reason, can serve as a viable substitute to green tea. The study is considered by its research team to be one of the first to analyze these effects of a white tea product (as much research has been focused on green tea).