10 Remarkable Oolong Tea Health Benefits
More than the formidable Great Wall of China and the cute Giant Pandas, China is also most notable for their exquisite Chinese teas. And the most identifiable tea, and probably even the most popular, in China is the Oolong Tea. It has long been used traditionally for its long list of therapeutic benefits with production origins dating as far back as 400 years ago in the Fujian province of China.
Literally translated as black dragon tea in Chinese, its flavor is as intricate as it sounds and differs depending on its sub variety. It can either have a fragrant floral aroma that tastes fresh and mellow or a robust, long-lasting flavor. However, there are also others that say that it has a bitter, earthy tone to it. But generally, it is rich and has a strong taste. Its distinct flavor is a result of the oxidation of its leaves, which lies somewhere between the unfermented green tea and the fully fermented black tea.
Because of this oxidation process, the oolong tea health benefits enjoy the best of both green and black teas. Similar with other true teas, oolong is a rich source of powerful anti-oxidants.
Apart from that, its long, dried curly leaves are filled with vital vitamins and minerals, which includes Vitamins A, B, C, K and E, calcium, manganese, carotene, selenium, copper and potassium. It also contains caffeine and the natural chemicals theophylline and theobromine. To top it off, it has folic acid, niacin and detoxifying alkaloids.
If you are looking for a healthy way to shed off the excess pounds, sipping on a regular cup of oolong tea has proven to provide positive weight loss results. In a 2001 study by The American Society of Nutritional Sciences posted in The Journal of Nutrition, participants have shown a 12% increase in fat oxidation, as well as a significantly increased metabolic rate. This is due to a polyphenol compound that activates an enzyme and accelerates the process of lipolysis, which enables the body to burn more fat, as supported by a separate Japanese study.
Its weight loss benefit is further supported by its high levels of catechins, which is a type of antioxidant, that helps in increasing weight loss and greater reduction in body mass index compared to that in green tea.
Promotes Healthy Teeth
The same polyphenols that make oolong tea a weight loss wonder is also responsible for keeping your teeth from decaying. It helps inhibit the growth of a bacteria called streptococci. It prevents the bacteria from attaching to the tooth enamel and gums that causes tooth decay and oral cancers.
Combats Harmful Free Radicals
One of the major health benefits one can get from any type of tea is its high antioxidant levels, which helps fight off harmful free radicals.
In particular, the concentration of polymeric polyphenols – thearubigin and theaflavin, in oolong tea help combat carcinogens and aid in preventing certain cancers, inflammatory diseases and damage to skin and hair. In addition, a certain antioxidant in the Fujian variety helps terminate the chain of free radicals that cause cellular damage.
Encourages Healthy Skin
An effect of free radicals is that it hastens the process of aging. But because oolong tea is rich in antioxidants, it slows down the oxidation of cells, which results to healthier looking skin.
It also helps to diminish wrinkles and improve the skin tone and elasticity. Research has also revealed that consuming 3 cups of the tea a day, combined with a dermatological treatment, can help provide more relief for atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Prevents Hair Loss
Rinsing the hair with oolong tea has been known to help proper metabolism of dihydrotestosterone or DHT, a male hormone responsible for hair loss. Also, a tea rinse can bring back the luster and shine to your hair.
Boosts Mental Performance
Its caffeine content helps to improve mental performance and alertness. It can also help sharpen thinking skills, concentration and energy. This is further enhanced with its theophylline and theobromine content, which works similarly like caffeine.
Effective Stress Reliever
One of the oolong health benefits is that it helps to alleviate mood swings and relieves stress. It can help you feel more relaxed and calm.
It is also a popular natural treatment for type-2 diabetes, as it can help regulate the amount of blood sugar and insulin in the blood stream.
It has also shown to prevent sudden drops in blood sugar levels when combined with hyperglycemic drugs in the test subjects in a 2003 study. In addition, essential nutrients like Vitamin A, calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, fluorine and phosphorus help detoxify the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes.
Promotes Strong Bones
Certain components in oolong tea helps to stimulate mineral retention needed to promote healthy bone structure. It is effective in strengthening the bone structure and in preventing the risk of osteoporosis.
No More Sneezing
The Fujian variety has potent anti-allergy properties. It contains catechins that help inhibit an enzyme called histidine. It blocks the production of histamine, which causes sneezing, itching and watery eyes that are common symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
To enjoy its health benefits and its rich flavor, it is best to steep about two teaspoons of oolong tea for every cup of water. Ideally, it should be prepared with 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit or 93 to 96 degrees Celsius water for about 3 to 10 minutes. Interestingly, rebrewing tea leaves can even improve the flavor and it has been said that the third and fourth brew is considered the best.
However, despite its long list of therapeutic benefits, oolong tea should be taken in moderation. It should be noted that it has a high caffeine content. Some individuals may react differently to caffeine with side effects that include mild to serious headaches, nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel movement, heartburn and irregular heartbeat. Also, consuming too much oolong tea can flush out calcium from the body.
With just the right amount of oolong tea, about a maximum of 3 cups a day, will yield you with tons of benefits. So the next time you need a cup of tea, consider oolong as your tea of choice.