Oolong tea combines the goodness of several dark and green teas. But strangely enough, this tea accounts for only 2% of world tea consumption. Oolong tea has certain wonderful benefits. It helps boost metabolism and aids weight loss in addition to preventing several chronic diseases.
There are many other ways this tea can enrich your life. In this post, we will discuss all of them.
In This Article
What Is Oolong Tea?
In simple terms, oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea. It is prepared from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to prepare green and black teas. It is commonly consumed in China and Taiwan.
The differences between the various types of tea usually lie in the processing methods. Talking about oolong tea, it is partially fermented. Also, while green tea is not oxidized much and black tea is oxidized completely till it turns black, oolong tea is only partially oxidized – which is responsible for the tea’s color and characteristic taste (1).
But hey, you would also want to know the history of this tea, wouldn’t you?
What Is The History of Oolong Tea?
The history of this tea can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty, which is like in the mid-1300s. And how the tea was discovered, we tell you, is an interesting story.
Legend says that once a farmer was out picking tea leaves to brew tea. In the middle of the process, he saw a black snake (pronounced ‘wu long’ in Chinese) and fled from the place. When he returned the next day, the leaves had turned brownish-green. He brewed those leaves and was so surprised by the new flavor that he named it after the snake that had scared him away.
But yes, it is a story. And there a few such others that tell us how the tea was discovered. We don’t know which is the closest to the truth – and it doesn’t matter much. What matters is how good this tea is for you.
Is Oolong Tea Good For You?
Oolong tea represents just 2% of the world’s tea. But you bet it is good. The tea contains flavonoids, caffeine (not as much as in black tea, though), fluoride, and theanine. Most benefits of oolong tea can be attributed to its catechins – they make it particularly effective in preventing conditions like heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, oxidative stress, and even cognitive decline (2).
The nutritional facts of oolong tea might interest you even more – as they form the foundation of what you will be reading ahead.
Oolong Tea Nutrition Facts
Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants. It contains various minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, carotene, selenium, potassium and vitamins A, B, C, E and K. In addition to these, it contains folic acid, niacin amide and other detoxifying alkaloids. Due to its semi-fermented nature, oolong tea contains numerous polyphenolic compounds which provide additional health benefits.
These tea leaves, like all others, also contain small amounts of caffeine. The steeping process during the preparation of tea reduces the caffeine content significantly. A steeping time of one minute brings down the caffeine content to below 50mg.Calories in oolong tea:
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That’s just the tip of the mountain. And now, we head to the peak. Let’s look into the incredible oolong tea benefits for your overall health.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Oolong Tea?
Almost all the benefits of oolong tea can be attributed to the antioxidants it contains – the polyphenols. These compounds prevent grave diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They can also aid weight loss and help fight obesity. Oolong tea also improves skin health.
1. Cuts Heart Disease Risk
Chinese researchers found that people who drank at least 10 ounces of oolong tea a week had a lower risk of high cholesterol (3). And people who had been consuming oolong tea for the longest time were found to have the lowest levels of cholesterol.
Intake of oolong tea (amongst other teas) was also linked to reduced risk of death by cardiovascular disease (4). The caffeine and antioxidants in oolong tea also improve metabolism, and this directly benefits the heart.
2. Can Promote Weight Loss And Fight Obesity
We don’t have to particularly talk about how grave a killer obesity is. And we alone are to be blamed for that.
According to one study published in a Chinese journal, taking oolong tea for six weeks helped the participants reduce their weight as well as body fat. This can be attributed to the polyphenols in the tea, which can keep your metabolism from slowing down as you lose weight – further aiding the weight loss process.
And the caffeine in oolong tea has a role to play too. One 2009 study found that tea containing both catechins and caffeine induced more weight loss than tea containing only either of the components. The two components work together to maintain lean body mass.
3. Lowers Cancer Risk
Studies show that each cup of oolong tea taken daily cut the risk of cancer by 4 percent. Though the results are not significant, this is a good move in the right direction.
A Chinese study had also found that taking oolong tea, among other teas, can help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women (7).
Simply steeping oolong tea in hot water can help you get the maximum benefits.
4. Helps Prevent Diabetes
One study suggests that drinking six cups of oolong tea regularly for 30 days can help people with type 2 diabetes. It might also reduce and even stabilize blood sugar levels (10). Similiar findings were also recorded in a report by the American Diabetes Association (11).
The polyphenols in oolong tea might increase insulin activity, which directly benefits diabetics (12). Long-term consumption of oolong tea might also predict the onset of diabetes in individuals (13).
However, it doesn’t improve glucose metabolism in non-diabetic adults (14).
5. Fights Inflammation
The polyphenols in oolong tea are what we look at, again. These plant-derived compounds rev up the immune system and can also protect against inflammation – and other inflammatory conditions like arthritis (15).
Another flavonoid in oolong tea responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) – which is the most potent of the lot. It fights the free radicals that cause inflammation and also prevents related diseases like clogged arteries and cancer (16).
6. Improves Brain Health
There are studies that show oolong tea (and tea, in general) can improve brain function and even prevent Alzheimer’s (17). Also, the caffeine in the tea triggers the release of norepinephrine and dopamine – two brain chemicals that improve mood and beat stress (18).
There are numerous other studies that link tea consumption to a reduced risk of cognitive disorders (20).
7. Enhances Bone Health
This is especially true in the case of women undergoing menopause. During this time, women are left with a continual weakening of bones that often leads to osteoporosis and arthritis. Drinking oolong tea, as per studies, can prevent this by maintaining high bone density (21).
Taking oolong tea for extended periods can also increase bone mineral density. One study showed that individuals drinking oolong tea (or other teas) for a 10-year period had 2 percent higher bone density (22).
This tea was also found to build strong and healthier teeth. One study linked oolong tea consumption to reduced dental plaque. And being a rich source of fluoride, the tea also strengthens the tooth enamel (23).
8. Improves Skin Health
We need to talk about eczema in particular here. Eczema can be an embarrassing skin condition, but oolong tea can offer some respite. The anti-allergenic antioxidants in oolong tea can help relieve eczema as per studies (24). Drinking oolong tea thrice a day for six months can give you good results.
Since oolong tea can combat free radicals, it can suppress those allergic reactions that cause eczema or atopic dermatitis. The antioxidants in the tea also make your skin more radiant and youthful.
The antioxidants in oolong tea might also help treat acne and blemishes and wrinkles and other signs of aging (like age spots). You can simply steep the tea bags in water and use it to cleanse your face first thing in the morning.
9. Might Aid Digestion
We don’t have enough information on this. However, some sources say that oolong tea (and tea, in general) can soothe and relax the digestive tract. It might also improve toxin excretion.
10. Promotes Hair Health
There is less information here too. Some experts say that intake of oolong tea can prevent hair loss. Rinsing your hair with the tea might also prevent hair loss.
Oolong tea can also soften your tresses and make them shinier.
11. Builds Immunity
This benefit must be attributed to the flavonoids in oolong tea, which prevent cellular damage and build the immune system (25). The tea can also increase the production of antibacterial proteins in your body, which help fight infection. Also, though we aren’t sure, some sources claim that oolong tea has components that promote the retention of important minerals in the body.
12. Works As An Energy Drink
The caffeine content of oolong tea is 50 to 75 milligrams per cup. Given it is a caffeinated beverage, oolong tea can give you a heightened awareness and increase your energy levels. It can also sharpen your thinking skills (26). Also, since the tea is not loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, it is often preferred over energy drinks in case one needs a quick energy boost. More interestingly, oolong tea doesn’t overenergize you like coffee, and hence, there is no crash that you experience.
That’s with the varied benefits of oolong tea. But we are not done yet. What we will see next is going to settle the debate once and for all.
Oolong Tea Vs. Black Tea Vs. Green Tea Vs. White Tea – Which One Is The Best?
Hard to answer that. Because all of them have similar benefits. All four varieties are derived from the same plant. How they differ is in the way they are processed.
White tea is the least processed. Then come oolong and green teas (moderately processed). And black tea is the most processed.
All these four types of tea contain powerful antioxidants that prevent disease. The list of antioxidants is the same – only their amounts vary.
All of these teas have the same benefits that you saw in this post.
Apart from the processing methods, each type of tea also differs in offering certain very specific benefits. White tea has the best immune-boosting effects of the lot. Black tea works best for digestion and stress relief. Green tea has the best preventive effects against Alzheimer’s disease. Oolong tea is specifically effective in reducing eczema outbreaks.
And yes, green tea contains the least amount of caffeine.
Now to another important question –
How Much Of Oolong Tea Can You Drink In A Day?
Keep it to no more than 2 cups due to the caffeine content. In the case of eczema, 3 cups are fine (consult your doctor, though).
Now that you know how much of the tea you can take in a day, how about trying out some wonderful recipes?
Any Healthful Oolong Tea Recipes?
Yes. But before that, let’s check how to prepare the tea first. Which is quite simple.
Use 3 grams of the tea powder for every 200 milliliters of water. Steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. Steeping in water at about 194o F (without boiling) for about 3 minutes can retain the most antioxidants (27).
And now, for the recipes.
1. Oolong Iced Tea Lemonade
What You Need
- 6 cups of water
- 6 bags of oolong tea
- ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Steep the tea bags in hot water for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and add the lemon juice.
- You can either cool the tea in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or serve right away over ice.
2. Peach Oolong Tea
What You Need
- 6 cups of water
- 4 bags of oolong tea
- 2 peeled and diced ripe peaches
- Steep the tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes. Remove the bags and refrigerate the tea for about 1 to 2 hours.
- Blend the peaches until you obtain a smooth puree. Add this to the chilled tea and stir properly.
- Serve over ice. You can add an extra peach if you want.
Not just the recipes, even these facts about oolong tea are pretty light.
Any Amusing Facts About Oolong Tea?
- The Chinese term for oolong is Dan Cong.
- Oolong is the doppelgänger as its peculiar fragrance mimics everything – from flowers to nuts to fruits.
- Oolong tea is best enjoyed when prepared using whole loose leaves.
- Oolong tea is also popularly known as ‘Wu Long’ tea.
- The most popular varieties of oolong tea are Wu-yi tea, Formosa oolong, Pouchong, and Ti Kuan Yin.
We know this tea is too healthful to resist. So, in case you are wondering where to get it…
Where To Buy Oolong Tea
You can find oolong tea in most grocery stores or get it online.
No matter how supremely beneficial oolong tea is, there are certain aspects we must take note of.
Any Side Effects Of Oolong Tea?
- Anxiety Disorders
The caffeine in the tea might trigger anxiety disorders in some people and even make them worse.
- Bleeding Disorders
Caffeine might slow down blood clotting. This might worsen bleeding disorders.
- Heart Issues
The caffeine in the tea can cause irregular heartbeat in some people.
- Issues With Diabetes
Some studies say that the caffeine in the tea might change how blood sugar is controlled in diabetics. Hence, consult your doctor before consuming the tea.
Excess intake of oolong tea (because of the caffeine) can lead to diarrhea or even worsen the condition.
The caffeine in the tea increases the pressure in the eyes. Hence, people with eye disorders must consult with their doctors before consuming oolong tea.
- High Blood Pressure
The caffeine in the tea might increase blood pressure. Hence, individuals with blood pressure issues must take care.
- Weak Bones
Oolong tea might flush out calcium through urine. Talk to your doctor before taking oolong tea for bone health.
- Issues With Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Have no more than two cups of the tea per day if you are pregnant or breastfeeding because excessive caffeine might harm the baby. And if you are breastfeeding, excess caffeine can cause irritability.
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of the Camellia plant. It is partially fermented and oxidized to impart its characteristic flavor and color. Rich in flavonoids and catechins, oolong tea may help prevent diabetes, cancer, and obesity while combating oxidative stress and cognitive decline. It is also known to be good for your skin and hair health while boosting your overall immunity. Steeping the tea reduces its caffeine levels, making it an energy-boosting drink preferred by many.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to drink oolong tea?
The easiest way is to add boiling water to a cup of oolong tea. You can either use a teabag or one teaspoon of loose leaves. Steep for about 5 minutes. Enjoy the tea while it is still hot.
Is oolong tea good with milk?
Yes. You can take it with milk.
How often should you drink oolong tea?
Once or twice a day should be fine.
Does oolong tea come decaffeinated?
Usually, no. But you can check for decaffeinated oolong tea in the market.
What’s the best time to take oolong tea?
In the morning and afternoon. Because taking it at night can disrupt your sleep (given the caffeine content).
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