Eighty percent of our skin’s weight is from collagen, the protein that keeps our skin in shape from the inside out. Beauty products have targeted this large population of proteins for a reason – its degeneration is behind the feared wrinkles and softening of the skin’s natural elasticity. But instead of applying facial creams or getting injections, why not drink a cup of white tea? For those of you who already drink white tea, you are on the cutting edge of anti-aging practices! White teas, like many other teas, contain antioxidants and damaging enzyme inhibitors that benefit the body in numerous ways. White tea stands out among products with extrinsic anti-aging properties in that it has large amounts of anti-collagenase and anti-elastase enzymes.
Anti-collagenase and anti-elastase enzymes battle against the body’s own enzymes, collegenase and elastase, which break down the components (collagen and elastin) that help retain the structure and flexibility of the skin. White tea contains high levels of these enzymes, more so than most teas. Kingston University in London performed tests on 21 plants that are believed to possess anti-aging mechanisms and found that white tea was able to inhibit 89 percent of elastase activity and 87 percent of collagenase activity; in short, with white tea, the majority of harmful enzymes are prevented from attacking the skin’s cells.
White tea not only offers protection against harmful enzymes, but against other substances that could damage skin cells. The antioxidants in white tea slow the oxidation process caused by chemicals, UV rays, and the body itself, protecting the skin’s cells from deterioration.
We love our white tea, whether it is for its great taste or health benefits. The farther I fall into the well of tea knowledge, the more I fall in love with tea itself. This spring I am graduating with my Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and look forward to applying my knowledge of nutrition to the world of tea. Through topics like this – tea and aging – I realize how important tea is in our lives and I am glad that I can drink a little cup of health every day!