Is white tea really healthier for you than green or black? Many people make this claim, saying that the white tea leaves are harvested earlier, are less processed, and therefore are more nutritious. Do you ever notice though how the people who say that - even the news articles - fail to provide you with concrete documentation proving their statement?
It is true that the more processed the leaves are, the more nutrient value they lose in the process. But that process can vary widely between suppliers/manufacturers. To make a blanket statement that white tea is always healthier versus black tea would be impossible to validate, yet people continue to perpetuate this lie.
Here is at least one example proving it to be a myth. In the ORAC report released by the USDA several years ago, they included various beverages and among those, a handful of teas. For many they included both the brewed and bottled versions of the same type (i.e. black tea, green tea). They didn't do the same for white, presumably because it's less popular. Though even if we compare the value above to a comparable bottled black tea beverage, we actually find that the white tests lower than the black. Black is 313 versus the 264 you see on this page.
Now that may not always be the case of course, since we don't know the procedures involved with harvesting the crop and processing it. Though it just goes to show you that a blanket rule of black being the least nutritious tea and white being the most is just not correct.
USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010