Diet and Nutrition

What Is Oolong Tea? Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

What Is Oolong Tea? Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

Key Takeaways

  • Oolong tea is known to have several health benefits including the prevention of cancerous cell growth and weight management.
  • Oolong tea has the benefits of both black and green tea, which makes it an ideal blend for health freaks.
  • Oolong tea is considered safe during pregnancy provided it is consumed in moderation.

Oolong tea is one of the best natural remedies that can help in easing a number of health issues, which include cardiac or heart problems, conditions related to inflammatory diseases, high levels of cholesterol, and much more.

Oolong tea contains various antioxidants that help promote better bone structure, fight infections, keep the skin healthy, and advanced dental care, among others. Oolong tea is also a very relaxing tea. It is extremely fragrant and has a fruity flavor to it with a subtle and a pleasant aroma, which is very soothing to the body.

Even though the oolong tea contains caffeine, it is yet undoubtedly one of the most recommended herbal drinks by doctors and physicians. The health benefits that are associated with oolong tea increase with mixed properties of both black and green tea combined. Oolong tea leaves are partially oxidized, so it falls between black and green teas. There are a number of tea varieties across the world. However, oolong tea may be one of the most beneficial of them all.

Oolong tea was discovered almost 400 years back and its usage was widely seen in China, where people consumed this tea in a semi-green fermented state. However, the fermentation process is stopped when the tea leaves begin to change their color.

Normally, fresh tea contains high levels of catechins. However, when oolong tea is developed using the oxidation process, the levels of catechin in the leaves is drastically reduced. Hence, oolong tea contains moderate amounts of catechin. The oxidation rate of oolong tea ranges from 10-70 percent.

Preparing the Best Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has a very soothing and relaxing taste and can be consumed either hot or cold. The tea leaves need some time to steep in for the infusion to get the right flavor. The time taken depends on the type of tea leaves that are being used to prepare the infusion. The method of preparing the infusion is rather easy and involves the following steps:

  1. Boil some water in a kettle. You can prepare your tea set while waiting for the water to boil.
  2. Next, add some oolong tea leaves into the tea pot in such a way that they take up about 5 percent of the tea pot space
  3. Pour in the boiling hot water into the pot.
  4. Cover the top and let the infusion start developing as the oolong tea leaves steep in the hot water.
  5. The tea is ready for consumption when you see a color change and the aroma escapes from the tea pot.

Indulge in the rich taste and soft aroma of this tea. You can have it either hot or cold according to your preference.

Nutritional Content of Oolong Tea

Tea across the world is known as one of the most comforting and natural products that are rich in antioxidants. It also contains several minerals such as calcium, manganese, copper, carotene, selenium, potassium, and much more. Apart from this, oolong tea is also known to contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.

Detoxifying alkaloids such as folic acid and niacinamide are also found exclusively in oolong tea. The tea is developed to a semi-fermented processing state, which induces several polyphenolic compounds and also adds on to the health benefits of this tea. Oolong tea is also known to have certain amounts of caffeine along with theophylline and theobromine, which have stimulating effects on the body's nervous system.

Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

Like many other natural products, the oolong tea is loaded with natural substances and provides several health benefits. Some of these health benefits include:

1. Weight Management

A compound known as polyphenol is abundantly found in the oolong tea. It is extremely effective in controlling the body's metabolism and helps in reducing fat, thereby curbing health issues like obesity. It also helps activate essential enzymes, which help enhance the functioning of the body's fat cells.

It is believed that the daily consumption of oolong tea can drastically help in preventing obesity and improving the metabolic functioning of the body and its cells. Various research and studies regarding the effectiveness of oolong tea have been conducted--all of which have shown promising and successful results. Studies have also indicated that the caffeine content of oolong tea helps boost one's weight loss. However, there are also other studies that indicate that weight loss could also be due to polyphenols. Whatever the facts may be, the truth is that the regular consumption of oolong tea can help you burn all that extra fat and promote weight loss in the most positive way.

2. Fights Free Radicals 

Oolong tea is also known for its detoxifying properties. The polyphenolic compound of the oolong tea helps in the removal of free radicals from the body. It also acts as an important antioxidant, which stimulates the movement of free radical compounds in the body. Having oolong tea regularly can protect your body from the damaging and harmful effects of free radicals, which pose other dangers to the body such as the risk of cancer, neurodegeneration, stroke, and diabetes, among others. Polyphenols are known to be powerful antioxidants that come as an added advantage from drinking oolong tea.

3. Prevents Ovarian Cancer

The polyphenolic compounds that are present in the oolong tea have anticancer properties, which prevent the growth of certain kinds of cancer cells. Drinking oolong tea helps in preventing and drastically lowering the risk of acquiring ovarian cancer in women.

4. Healthy Skin

There are various research and studies conducted to prove and understand the efficacy of drinking oolong tea. Some studies have indicated that patients suffering from skin conditions like eczema can greatly benefit from the regular consumption of oolong tea. About 3 cups of oolong tea consumed throughout the day can show beneficial and significant results in less than a week in patients suffering from various kinds of skin conditions.

In 2002, there was a study conducted on patients to better understand the benefits of oolong tea for people suffering from skin conditions. About 54 percent of the patients were known to benefit from its consumption. Moreover, significant improvements were observed within six months from the start of treatment.

5. Atopic Dermatitis

While it is still uncertain as to what are the compounds in oolong tea that contribute to its anti-allergic properties, it is for certain that oolong tea can help relieve skin irritation and chronic skin conditions including atopic dermatitis.

6. Healthy Bones

There are several antioxidants present in the oolong tea, which help in protecting the bones and teeth against wear and tear that occurs in the natural process of aging. Studies have indicated that people who consume oolong tea for a long time are less likely to lose their bone mineral density. It is also observed that oolong tea is enriched with certain compounds that actually help in retaining the minerals from other foods, thereby conserving the calcium content in the body.

7. Diabetes Management

Oolong tea is known to have certain health benefits, which go a long way in treating type 2 diabetes. It also acts as a natural supplement for diabetes management. Oolong tea also helps in regulating the blood sugar levels and insulin levels in the blood, which controls the sudden spike and lows of blood sugar that diabetic patients normally undergo. In a study that was conducted in 2003, it was proven that when oolong tea is combined with hyperglycemic drugs, the tea helps in further balancing the blood sugar levels and prevents sudden drops as well.

8. Anti-Cancer Properties

Various studies and research have indicated the fact that people who regularly drink tea have lower chances of developing skin cancer. The polyphenolic compounds of oolong tea help in the development of apoptosis, which occurs in the stomach and protects the body against cancerous growths. These compounds act as a preventive element that restricts the growth of cancerous cells in the body.

9. Better Stress Management

It has also been observed in a study that oolong tea can help in decreasing stress levels by almost 10-18 percent. The compounds present in the oolong tea can help relax the mind. They act as a stress buster and help in managing mood swings better. Drinking oolong tea on a regular basis also helps in maintaining focus and improves mental balance in a person.

10. Better Mental Performance

Oolong tea helps in improving mental performance and also boosts alertness in a person. The regular consumption of oolong tea could boost focus and productivity in a person.

11. Oolong Tea for the Hair

Recent studies have indicated the fact that oolong tea may have several benefits for the hair. Hence, it is being liberally used in a number of hair care products. Oolong tea when used as an herbal infusion along with various herbal plants, flowers, and roots, can help not only in promoting new hair growth but also help in considerably reducing hair fall.

Oolong tea has certain essential antioxidants that help in promoting good metabolic function in a person. Using a hair rinse made from oolong tea leaves can prove to be extremely beneficial in reducing excess hair shedding. A hair rinse made from oolong tea leaves can also be used as an effective hair softener. It also adds an extra luster and shine to the hair.

Is oolong tea safe during pregnancy?

Although oolong tea has numerous health benefits, drinking the tea also has certain risk factors. As for pregnant women, no caffeine-based drinks should be consumed as they could have varied effects on the mother and the growing baby. However, for the moms to be who are tea or coffee lovers, an average consumption of about 200 mg of caffeine per day is considered harmless and at the same time helps in curbing the cravings. Whether you as a pregnant woman can consume oolong tea or not would largely depend on your health condition. A doctor's consultation may be required before you start consuming this tea, especially if you have never had it before.

The caffeine content in oolong tea largely depends on the process or method of its preparation. It is important to ensure that the tea is not brewed for too long as it could increase the caffeine content and oxidized compounds in the tea, which are not good things to consume, especially when you are expecting.

Avoid brewing the oolong tea for too long and also restrict your consumption to moderate levels. Excessive amounts of oolong tea could interfere in one's sleeping patterns causing disturbed sleep, which could eventually lead to some stress, especially in pregnant women.

A short brew of oolong tea adds up to 60 mg of caffeine, which is considered normal and does not cause any harm. However, an excessive consumption could certainly have side effects that can be avoided.