Understanding Oolong Tea:
Oolong tea is quite rare but it has a unique blend of most health properties of dark and green teas making it quite interesting. Some of its benefits include boosting metabolism, reducing stress, and improving the immunity of your system.
Speaking of its origin, Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of the Camellia synthesis plant. All dark and green teas are also made from the same plant but, with Oolong tea, the difference lies in the making of it.
Tea leaves contain certain enzymes that get oxidized in the process. This is what gives it its dark color over time. The process of the making of green tea does not allow it to get oxidized whereas dark tea is completely oxidized until it changes color.
With Oolong tea, the process is a combination of the tow. In other words, it is partially oxidized which gives it its unique flavor texture, and health benefits.
Having said that, the color of the Oolong tea ranges from green to dark brown given its making procedure as well as the brand that creates it.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea:
Oolong tea is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties just like green teas and dark teas. Its nutrient content is as given before:
- Fluoride: 5–24% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 26% of the RDI.
- Potassium: 1% of the RDI.
- Sodium: 1% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 1% of the RDI.
- Niacin: 1% of the RDI.
- Caffeine: 36 mg.
The antioxidant content in Oolong tea is mainly made up of tea polyphenols, are theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG. It also contains amino acids like theanine which promotes relaxing and calming effects in an individual which combats stress in the long run.
Oolong Tea May Help Prevent Diabetes:
Oolong tea is closely associated with regulating blood sugar levels which, in turn, prevents type-2 diabetes. The antioxidants and polyphenols present in this tea reduces blood sugar and increases insulin sensitivity.
In addition to that, there have been several studies that show that regular consumers of Oolong tea depict regulated blood sugar and control sugar levels which pave the way for the prevention of type-2 diabetes.
Since Oolong tea is not as common as green tea or dark tea, its benefits are also not widely researched. However, certain studies have been conducted which delve into the depths of the benefits of oolong tea to know where it stands.
One such study showed that people drinking about 750 ml of oolong tea per day had a 16% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the long run.
Another 30-day long study brought to light that individuals with diabetes who consumed about 1.5 liters of oolong tea per day had 30% lower blood sugar levels. In other words, oolong tea helps regulate blood sugar levels considerably well.
Not only that, another independent study proved that consuming 1 liter of oolong tea in healthy individuals for 30 days brought down blood sugar levels by 3.3% which is quite a good start.
The only aspect to be taken care of in this scenario is that one must always consume oolong tea form trusted brands which are thoroughly cleansed and clear of all chemical additives. This will ensure health benefits and won’t hamper your health negatively.
Oolong tea may improve heart health:
Reduced blood pressure and decreased cholesterol levels are some of the most important benefits of oolong tea. In addition to this, it even prevents the formation and deposition of cholesterol and LDL in the arteries thereby bringing down the risk of a stroke.
A recent study revealed that people who consumed about 1 liter of oolong tea each day were 51% less likely to develop heart-related disorders in the long run.
A research carried out on 76000 Japanese adults showed that oolong tea drinkers had a 61% lower risk of heart disorders than the ones who didn’t consume it.
Oolong tea also contains caffeine which may slightly increase blood pressure in some people based on how each one’s body responds to it. Having said that, the amount of caffeine in oolong tea is comparatively negligible to that of coffee. One cup of coffee contains the same amount of caffeine as one cup of oolong tea.
In other words, the effects of it, if any, are quite insignificant and won’t bypass the benefits of it. A Chinese research showed that oolong tea consumers have a 39% lower risk of falling prey to strokes and heart health issues as compared to the non-consumers.
Oolong tea may help you lose weight:
Boosting metabolism, using fat for energy production, and decreasing the amount of fat being absorbed from the diet are all benefits of Oolong tea. This is the result of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols present in it which act over time to catalyze weight loss in the long run.
These polyphenol antioxidants activate enzymes in your system which promote fat burning and boost metabolism which works in tandem to induce healthy weight loss.
Both types of oolong tea, full-strength and diluted oolong tea, both helped the participants of a recent study burn 2.9–3.4% in total.
The fat burning property of oolong tea was earlier believed to be a result of its caffeine content. However, a study was conducted which observed the effects of caffeine from oolong tea on participants and also caffeine + polyphenols from oolong tea.
The results showed that the latter group burned fat better and faster than the group which was only consuming caffeine from oolong tea. This proves that both caffeine and polyphenols from oolong tea are equally responsible for inducing fat burning and promoting metabolism.
In addition to the combination of polyphenols and caffeine, the other plant compounds present in oolong tea also catalyze the fat burning thereby promoting healthy weight loss.
The effects of oolong tea on weight loss are pretty similar to that of green tea. Having said that, not every person’s body will react likewise to the slimming effects of oolong tea, and one must be prepared for it.
Oolong Tea May Help Relieve Eczema
Eczema does need medical treatment to completely heal. However, certain lifestyle changes may speed up the healing process during treatment like consuming oolong tea.
The polyphenols and antioxidants in oolong tea work in tandem to treat eczema along with the medical treatment. A study showed that 118 patients of eczema where they were given 1 liter of oolong tea daily along with the medications.
Their condition started improving in just about 1-2 weeks into the study. Not only that, 63% of these patients showed improvement in their healing with only 1 month of consuming oolong tea daily as part of a lifestyle change along with medications.
Their conditions kept improving consistently and 51% of these patients showed progress due to oolong tea even after 5 months of medical treatment.
Oolong tea may improve bone and teeth health:
The polyphenols and antioxidants in oolong tea work the best to keep your bones and teeth in the best shape. It is also full of minerals that add to bone growth and development thereby keeping them healthy in the long run.
As per a recent study, regular consumers of green tea, oolong tea, or black tea had an overall 2% higher bone mineral density than the ones who don’t.
Oolong tea is also a rich source of fluoride which helps strengthen tooth enamel. It prevents dental plaque and reduces tooth decay, cavities, and caries with regular consumption.
A higher bone mineral density also reduces the risk of fractures in the long run since it strengthens bones and skeletal structure. However, there still needs a link to be established between a high consumption of oolong tea and high bone mineral density.
Bone health issues usually arise in women past 30 years of age, especially post-menopausal women. A Chinese study conducted on 680 post-menopausal women proved that women who consumed oolong tea daily over a period of 10 years had 4.5-5% higher bone mineral density than the ones who didn’t.
Oolong tea may improve brain function:
Plenty of studies reveal that oolong tea may help maintain brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease in the long run.
In addition to minerals and plenty of other beneficial components, oolong tea also contains caffeine. Caffeine induces the release of norepinephrine and dopamine. These two brain messengers are predominantly involved in regulating one’s mood, thought process, attention, and brain function.
As per an independent study, theanine, an amino acid in oolong tea, helps improve concentration, memory retention, and also paves way for relaxation. It even induces calmness and relieves anxiety. Another study showed that oolong tea containing both caffeine and polyphenols along with theanine increased memory retention, alertness, and concentration within 1-2 hours after consumption.
There have been very few researches conducted specifically on oolong tea and its consumers. However, research conducted on tea drinkers showed that they generally had up to 64% lower risk of brain function decline than the ones who don’t consume tea at all. These effects are quite stronger in people who were regular drinkers of black and oolong tea.
As per a different study, regularly drinking green, black or oolong tea was closely linked to improved cognition, memory, executive function and an enhanced information processing speed.
May protect against certain cancers:
Cancer primarily occurs due to cell mutations in your system. Various studies have shown that the antioxidants present in black, green, and oolong tea prevent these cell mutations which, in turn, may work towards preventing different types of cancers.
Not only that, but the polyphenols present in oolong tea also work towards decreasing the rate of cancer cell division which prevents the formation of malignant tumors.
Another study proved that regular tea drinkers may have a 15% lower risk of developing oral cancer later in life. Although other lifestyle habits may apply here.
Many other independent reports bring forth similar protective effects of tea for lung, esophageal, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers. However, most research reports suggest that tea has small or non-existent effects on breast, ovarian and bladder cancers.
In addition to that, most research in this field generally focused on the effects of green or black teas, with the biggest effects noted for green teas. There has not been a significant study carried out on oolong tea independently, but its benefits are similar to green tea and black tea since it falls somewhere between them. There is still a detailed study that needs to be carried out to understand its benefits closely and completely.
Safety and Side Effects
Given its multiple health benefits, mineral content, antioxidants, and polyphenols, oolong tea is generally considered safe for consumption. But it does contain caffeine as well. In other words, it can be quite a pain to individuals looking to cut down on caffeine or those who can’t consume it because of other reasons.
Excess or unmonitored consumption of caffeine can lead to anxiety, headaches, insomnia, irregular heartbeat and in some, high blood pressure.
Additionally, consuming too many polyphenol antioxidants can make them act as pro-oxidants, which are not good for your health.
If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake, simply cutting down on oolong tea will probably do you no good since its caffeine content is negligible. You will have to cut down other richer sources of caffeine like coffee, chocolate, ad energy drinks.
About 10 cups of oolong tea, with 240 ml each, is pretty safe for any healthy individual. Pregnant women must limit their intake to a maximum of 5 cups a day. Anything more than that must be avoided.
Oolong tea is full of health benefits, both mental and physical. It helps with reducing heart disorders, promotes bone health, and boosts concentration and memory retention. You must limit your consumption of oolong tea to not more than 10 cups a day, 5 if pregnant, to extract its benefits.
It even contains caffeine which can be a deal-breaker for many. In case you are on medications or any sort of health complications, make sure you consume oolong tea under professional guidance.