For many tea drinkers in the Western world, drinking tea, and green tea in particular, is often a health choice. Much has been said and written about the health benefits of green tea during the last few years.

Yellow tea is a distinct variety of tea, but is closely related to green tea. Yellow tea is harvested earlier in the year, while the leaves are still buds. That means that the tea leaves still contain all the antioxidants that have been produced throughout the growth process. On the other hand, during manufacture, yellow tea is oxidized for longer than green tea, and some of the freshness is lost.

However, both green and yellow tea are oxidized by less than ten percent. It seems reasonable to assume that the young leaves don't lose more than about ten percent of their antioxidants throughout the drying and steaming process. When we also know that white tea, which is not oxidized at all, contains three times as much antioxidants as green tea, we arrive at an interesting conclusion: Yellow tea, which is harvested just a little later than white tea, may well contain more antioxidants than green tea.

Little research has been done on yellow tea, however, so it would be wrong to make such a claim with absolute certainty. But it is an interesting speculation.If we conservatively assume that yellow tea has about the same antioxidant content as green tea, their health benefits would be similar. Many claims have been made about the great effects green tea has on our health, but not all of them have been satisfactorily substantiated.

The main antioxidants in green tea and yellow tea is a polyphenol catechin known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. As a chemical substance, it is a strong antioxidant. That means that is absorbs and neutralized other substances known as free radicals, which are harmful products of the metabolism in the cells. The EGCG in the human diet only comes from tea.

Some of the health claims made about green and yellow tea include

Prevents cancer
This one is pretty well established, and strong evidence exists through the Asian Paradox, among other studies. Be adviced that the beneficial and preventive effect is limited, and takes time to build up. Green or yellow tea is not a cure for cancer.

Prevents and eases cardiovascular diseases
This claim is based on studies and circumstantial evidence, but is a common effect of many antioxidants.

Promotes longevity

This can be said for all foods with a high antioxidant content. The free radicals, which antioxidants fight, are closely linked to cell damage and cell death, which appear to be the cause of why we age physically.

Prevents diabetes
This claim stands on somewhat shaky foundations, but is supported by some studies.

Promotes mental agility
This seems to be the case, although the effect is limited. Again, the antioxidants are the cause.

While green and yellow tea are often touted for their health benefits, we should be aware that some of the specific claims are controversial and disputed. On the other hand, antioxidants are seen time and again, in the laboratory and in large scale studies, to have beneficial effects on our health. And teas are chock full of antioxidants.

Yellow tea is not a cure-all, but should be seen as a delicious brew which may well be working some serious magic on the body.

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