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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
One Japanese study also highlights the anti-obesity effects of oolong tea. Another study talks about how oolong tea polyphenols can help reduce visceral fat.
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.
The tea has also been found to prevent melanoma or skin cancer. And it can also help stall gallbladder cancer.
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. Similiar findings were also recorded in a report by the American Diabetes Association.
The polyphenols in oolong tea might increase insulin activity, which directly benefits diabetics. Long-term consumption of oolong tea might also predict the onset of diabetes in individuals.
However, it doesn’t improve glucose metabolism in non-diabetic adults.
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.
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.
6. Improves Brain Health
There are studies that show oolong tea (and tea, in general) can improve brain function and even prevent Alzheimer’s. Also, the caffeine in the tea triggers the release of norepinephrine and dopamine – two brain chemicals that improve mood and beat stress.
Another amino acid in the tea, called theanine, is found to boost attention and relieve anxiety. The polyphenols in the tea are also known to have a calming effect on the mind.
There are numerous other studies that link tea consumption to a reduced risk of cognitive disorders.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.