Maintaining Youth and Preventing Disease All in a Cup of Tea

Many scientific studies have touted the healthful benefits of drinking various kinds of tea. Extracts found in green tea, for example, have been implicated in the improvement of one’s cardiovascular health and the prevention of various types of cancer. Green tea has also been shown to aid in weight loss due to an increase in one’s metabolism rate.

Declan Naughton, a professor in the School of Life Science at Kingston University in London, has found that extracts in white tea have a number of health benefits as well. Naughton found that extracts and anti-oxidants in white tea have the potential to prevent the signs of aging, aid in the prevention of heart disease and other ailments, and reduce the incidence certain types of cancer.

With regard to healthy skin, Naughton identified plant extracts in white tea that protect the structural integrity of skin proteins such as collagen and elastin. These two proteins help maintain skin’s elasticity and strength; degradation of these two proteins can lead to wrinkles and other signs of aging. Naughton discovered that plant extracts in white tea actually prevent the enzyme activities that can break down collagen and elastin.

Naughton also found that the anti-oxidants and extracts in white tea help to suppress the activities of enzymes and oxidants that contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of Naughton’s results was that these white tea extracts were found to be highly potent at much smaller quantities than are typically found in a cup of tea—meaning that drinking a cup of white tea may provide even more health benefits than shown experimentally.

The results of Naughton’s research is published August 4, 2009 in the open-access journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Tamsyn SA Thring and Pauline Hili also contributed to the report.

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