If you’ve been hearing more about the health benefits of oolong tea, there is good reason for it. Oolong tea may have a long list of health benefits that range from treating chronic conditions and protecting your immune system, to more esthetic purposes like improving the vitality of your hair and skin.
The health benefits of oolong tea have been recognized for a number of reasons for 400 years. It is a staple of Ancient Chinese medicine and it is still recognized as potentially being able to treat a number of conditions.
Oolong tea also has the benefit of being rich in antioxidants that can help maintain DNA to protect you from cancer, chronic conditions like heart disease, as well as inflammation.
Nutritional Facts of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea comes in a variety of flavors and is manufactured with intricacy. It is dried, rolled, withered and shaped like black tea; however, the process is far more time-consuming and detailed. Because of the production process, oolong tea has a unique nutritional profile that falls somewhere between black and green tea.
The nutrition in oolong tea is what provides its wide array of benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help protect the integrity of the cells and fight diseases. It also contains vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, carotene, selenium, potassium, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E and K. All of these nutrients help your body function more efficiently and help improve blood pressure and fight inflammation. Furthermore, it possesses compounds like folic acid and niacin amide that can help remove toxins and waste from the body.
Lastly, oolong tea can stimulate your nervous system by supplying a decent amount of caffeine, theophylline and theobromine.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Because there is a fermenting process involved in processing oolong tea (the length varies based on the type) it is exposed to oxidation that can limit its nutrition. That being said, it is still beneficial. The health benefits of oolong tea include:
- Boosts energy: People need an extra kick of energy most days; however, many of the stimulants they turn to are unhealthy. Sugar-laden sodas, energy drinks, and sugary coffee can offer a bit of a boost, but they also deliver a big crash and potentially dangerous extra calories. Oolong tea, however, is a decent source of caffeine that won’t shoot you up and cause you to come crashing down.
- Assists with weight management: Caffeine can increase your body temperature and stimulate your metabolism, which can result in weight loss. This is especially true if you don’t put any sugar in you Oolong. There are also reports that it may activate fat cells to be used for energy production, meaning oolong tea may help you shed pounds.
- Helps with skin care: Some of the compounds in oolong tea, and particularly vitamin E, help to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. It can reduce the likelihood and severity of blemishes, while adding a healthy glow. The vitamin K may also help keep your skin soft and elastic.
- Bone strength: The calcium and vitamin K in oolong tea can also promote bone density, which means it might be an effective contributor in battling osteoporosis and tooth decay. Research indicates that people who drank oolong tea for a period of 10 years were less likely to see reductions in bone density than those who did not drink it.
- Stress management: Studies on mice have shown that oolong can be an effective means of reducing stress. Polyphenols have the ability to reduce oxidative stress, meaning they help your body’s cells and organs fight off wear and tear. Polyphenols help protect you from damage caused by inflammation and free radicals and can fight against a number of conditions, including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
There are also amino acids in oolong tea that might have a direct impact on stress response. Some studies have shown these amino acids can block receptors in the brain that lead to increased stress response and cortisol levels. More work needs to be done to see how and why this happens.
The caffeine in oolong tea can also help keep you focused and alert, which can lead to stress reduction.
Side Effects of Oolong Tea
Because oolong tea is a source of caffeine it may pose a potential threat to some individuals; however, most individuals should not notice any negative side effects unless it’s being consumed in very high amounts.
In order to avoid experiencing the negative effects of caffeine, start by drinking one cup of oolong tea per day. As tolerance builds, you can incorporate more servings every day. Try not to drink more than five cups of oolong tea per day, because that will likely be too much caffeine that may result in anxiety, nervousness, sleep trouble, heartburn, diarrhea and dizziness. People who’ve got heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes should also closely monitor their caffeine intake.
How to Make Oolong Tea
There are a variety of flavors and blends of oolong tea that can range from earthy to nutty to fruity. There are a number of prepared blends you can purchase from tea shops. Oolong is unique in the way that the same leaves can be steeped multiple times, actually improving the flavor. It should be noted, however, that this is true for only high-quality leaves. You should also place the leaves directly in the water to allow the leaves to fully open:
- Get your brewing vessel of choice: a gaiwan, teapot or a measuring cup.
- Add the amount of tea you wish to brew.
- Heat the water, but not to a full boil.
- Pour enough water into the vessel to cover the tea.
- Immediately strain the liquid into a decanter or a tea cup.
- Pour out the liquid. Now the tea has been rinsed.
- Pour some more water onto the tea in your vessel.
- Let it brew for 30 seconds to a few minutes (depending on your taste).
- Strain the liquid into a decanter or a tea cup.
- Repeat as many times as you’d like until the leaves give you more flavor, increase steeping time slightly as you go. You can store the leaves for later use, as good quality oolong leaves can have at least three to five brews.
Oolong tea can help you relax and enjoy a number of other health benefits. Sit down with a cup and pass the time. It will do your body some good this holiday season.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Health Benefits of Oolong Tea,” Organic Facts web site; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/health-benefits-of-oolong-tea.html, last accessed December 17, 2015.
“Oolong Tea: Why it’s good for you,” Natural News web site, October 20, 2013; http://www.naturalnews.com/042585_oolong_tea_Chinese_herbal_medicine_health_benefits.html.
“Oolong Tea,” Web MD web site, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1099-oolong%20tea.aspx?activeingredientid=1099&activeingredientname=oolong%20tea, last accessed December 17, 2015.
Chamberlain, C., “Recipe: How to brew the ultimate cup of oolong tea,” July 22, 2014; http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/2014/07/recipe-how-to-brew-the-ultimate-cup-of-oolong-tea/, last accessed December 17, 2015.
Pandey, K. B., et al., “Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease,” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2009 Nov-Dec; 2(5): 270–278; doi: 10.4161/oxim.2.5.9498.