4 Types of Delicious Tea: Green, Black, White, and Oolong. Do You Want to Know the Secret to Endless Health Benefits?
The Benefits of Drinking Tea
Drinking tea may be the perfect way to improve your health with a soothing, warm (or cold) beverage. While there are many types of teas, most are packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, minerals, and even probiotics. What’s more, is that there seems to be a type of tea for almost every occasion.
Caffeinated teas are ideal for those who like to be alert and herbal teas for those who don’t like caffeine and may enjoy fruity flavors. Research also shows that individuals who drink tea tend to be in better health and are less likely to develop chronics illnesses like cardiovascular disease and cancer (Khan and Mukhtar, 2013).
Types of Tea
Tea is a hot or cold beverage made from the extraction of the plant Camellia sinensis into a water solution. There are four main types of tea- green tea, white tea, black tea, and oolong. Herbal teas, while labeled as “tea,” are not made from the Camellia sinensis plant but from other plants. Depending on who is asked, herbal teas may not be considered “real tea,” and may be excluded from studies involving tea and its health benefits (Khan and Mukhtar, 2013).
Green Tea: Green tea is made from the most tender leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and is the most recognized for its many health benefits. Unlike oolong and black teas, green tea does not involve any form of oxidation in its processing which contributes to its unique flavor. Green tea is known to have the highest levels of antioxidants and catechins when compared to other teas, which may explain its claimed benefits.
White Tea: White tea is made from the tip buds of the Camellia sinensis plant, it is not oxidized, and is minimally processed. This leads to a delicate flavor unique to white tea that is hard to fake. Like green tea, white tea is recognized to be beneficial to health due to its high antioxidant levels.
Black Tea: Black tea is also made from the Camellia sinensis plant but involves a significant amount of oxidation in its processing. The oxidation of black tea contributes to a stronger taste and unique flavor profile. Like green tea, black tea is also known to offer many health benefits, although to a lesser degree.
Oolong Tea: This type of tea is halfway between green tea and black tea, as it is only partially (or semi-) oxidized. Oolong tea is said to be high in the amino acid, L-theanine, which may have a calming effect on the nervous system and reduce anxiety (Boros, Jedlinszki, and Csupor, 2016).
Health Benefits of Tea
Most of the health benefits attributed to tea (from Camellia sinensis) comes from its high polyphenol content and antioxidant properties. Polyphenols are plant compounds found in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, many of which fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
There are many types of polyphenols including flavonoids like catechins, which are the most credited for the health benefits of green and white teas. According to Khan and Mukhtar (2013), “catechins and theaflavins in tea may reduce the risk of various types of cancer in humans.”
They go on to mention a study in Uruguay in which tea drinking was associated with reduced risk of lung cancer among male cigarette smokers, and a higher risk of lung cancer of smokers who did not drink tea. While association is not causation, studies like these seem to favor tea drinkers compared to non-tea drinkers- whether it is the tea drinking itself or lifestyle habits associated with tea drinkers (like being more health-conscious).
But not just cancer, according to health posts by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, drinking green tea may also lower one’s risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They also advise against drinking tea with bizarre health claims like weight-loss and herbal mixtures that may have adverse interactions with other medications. It is also important to remember that not all tea products are created equal, tea lattes that are packed with sugar are still unhealthy and should not be considered when trying to reap these health benefits.
Khan, N., & Mukhtar, H. (2013). Tea and Health: Studies in Humans. Current Pharmaceutical
Design, 19(34), 6141-6147. doi:10.2174/1381612811319340008
Boros, K., Jedlinszki, N., & Csupor, D. (2016, March 12). Theanine and Caffeine Content of
Infusions Prepared from Commercial Tea Samples. Retrieved from
Gordon, B., RDN. (2020, January 21). The Health Benefits of Tea. Retrieved from