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Oolong tea comes from the plant Camilla Sinensis and consists of only 2% of the world’s tea. It’s traditionally a Chinese variety and is popular for its health benefits. It comes from the same plant which is used to make green tea and black tea, but the process varies in the oxidising step of the leaves. While green tea is minimally oxidised and black tea is completely oxidised, oolong tea is partially oxidised. Hence, it can be observed that oolong tea has the property of combining both the benefits of green tea as well as black tea. The partial oxidation does give it a different taste and colour, which varies according to the brand. The colour mostly ranges from green to dark brown. Irrespective of that, it has several nutrients and benefits which make it a favourite among tea enthusiasts.
Oolong tea contains flavonoids which are called tea polyphenols. These are the main antioxidants in the tea namely theaflavins, thearubigins and EGCG. It also contains theanine which is an amino acid responsible for the calming effect by the tea leaves. There are several other minerals like manganese, sodium, potassium, fluoride and niacin which give additional benefits to the tea. It also contains caffeine, but the content is somewhere between that of green tea and black tea and also lower than that of coffee. The caffeine content also depends on the processing and the brewing method. Thus, oolong tea may have side-effects for caffeine sensitive people. Nonetheless, there are several benefits for which one may count on to oolong tea.
Crazy Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
1. Maintains Heart Health
According to several studies and experiments, it has been found that regular consumption of oolong tea reduces the chances of stroke or heart diseases in maximum individuals. The tea contains antioxidants which are very useful for heart health. In a study involving 76, 000 Japanese adults it was proven that those who consumed oolong tea at least 8 ounces per day had reduced the risk of heart diseases by 60%. In a Chinese study, it was observed that those who consumed 16 ounces of green or oolong tea had 39% reduced chances of a stroke. Since the content of caffeine is also less, it doesn’t become an obstacle for heart patients to recover. Thus, oolong tea is taken worldwide to reduce the chances of high blood pressure, heart stroke or heart diseases.
2. Helps in Weight Loss
Oolong tea is an effective beverage for individuals trying to manage their weight. There are several polyphenolic compounds in oolong tea which can increase the metabolism rate of the body and also reduce the intake of fat from the diet. The tea also has antioxidant compounds which can use up the fat in the body to convert them into energy. Diluted as well as concentrated oolong tea has been observed to reduce the intake of calories per day. According to a study, the caffeine concentration in oolong tea along with the tea polyphenols works effectively to increase an individual’s fat burning capacity while caffeine works alone to have more negative impacts. According to a Chinese study, individuals who drink oolong tea regularly can be observed to lose a significant amount of weight over a period. There’s also a decrease in cholesterol in the body along with decreasing levels of triglycerides. Hence, one can say that one must take oolong tea to keep their weight balanced by increasing the burning of fat in the body.
3. Boosts Brain functioning
The theanine in oolong tea is seen to boost attention span and also exert an influence of calmness in the body. The anine works with caffeine to increase the production of hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine which are known to boost mental function and have good effects on overall mood. Caffeine and theanine work together to promote focus and concentration for larger periods of time. The tea is shown to reduce brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive function problems. Studies have indicated that regular oolong and tea takers have 64% reduced chances of brain diseases. Other studies have re-affirmed that black, green or oolong tea drinkers have better memory power and faster information processing speed. The overall effect has been seen as positive for most tea drinkers who don’t cross the consumption limit.
4. Prevents Diabetes
Oolong tea is an effective remedy against type-2 diabetes and is used as a herbal brew to treat it along with other supplementary medicines. It also contains several antioxidant polyphenols which help to reduce blood sugar and balance the insulin levels in the body. Therefore, it doesn’t allow spikes caused by extra sugar in the blood. The amount of researched evidence is not enough for oolong tea, but the limited studies do show that it prevents the risk of type-2 diabetes. The blood sugar index is relatively more balanced for oolong tea drinkers than the non-consumers. According to another research, it is said that tea is more effective when put together with regular hyperglycaemic drugs.
5. Retains bone health
Among the long-term benefits of taking oolong tea is the benefit it imparts to the bone and teeth structure of the body. One can guarantee good health to the regular tea drinkers. It protects the teeth from decay and also prevents other bone problems like osteoporosis and other structural problems. It also helps in retaining the bone mineral density (BMD) of individuals who continue oolong tea for an extended period. This, in turn, keeps the bones strong and also increases the intake of minerals from other components of the diet. A better BMD also indicates lesser chances of fractures in the body. Oolong tea also prevents the formation of plaque on the teeth enamel. The rich amount of fluorides also have positive effects on the bone health of the body.
6. Good for skin care
The vitamins and mineral composition in oolong tea have positive effects on the skin avoiding diseases like eczema and other skin inflammation problems. The antioxidant polyphenols work expediently against the disease, and the results are seen to last for a long time. According to experiments, taking three cups of oolong tea daily can work against eczema to reduce it to a great extent. The good effects on the skin can be seen in lesser time than a week. Another study published in JAMA network journal suggested that 54% of the subjects experienced a healthy effect on the skin after taking oolong tea for six months daily.
7. Protects against cancer
Most tea-drinkers are seen to have a noticeable decrease in their chances of getting cancer. This is because tea contains polyphenols which work effectively to reduce the rate of cancer cell division and hence stop it from multiplying. Antioxidants in black, green and oolong tea can fight cell mutations occurring in the body. These compounds can stifle the growth of cancer cells, also preventing the formation of N-nitroso compounds and trap other genotoxic compounds before they can become harmful to the body. Most of the research has been conducted with green and black teas, but it can be assumed that oolong tea too has protective properties against cancer. It has been seen that oolong tea drinkers have a 15% less chance of being diagnosed with oral cancer. It also can be a guard against cancers in organs like pancreas, lungs, liver and oesophagus. On the other hand, not much evidence can prove that it can work against cancer in the breast, ovaries or bladder. The antioxidant properties of polyphenols have been most effective in fighting the free radicals causing diseases like cancer, diabetes and arthritis in the body.
8. Stress Management
Like most other teas, oolong tea is an effective remedy against stress and management. The polyphenols in oolong tea are natural stress-busters and have an instant effect on consumption. The L-theanine is an amino acid which blocks L-glutamic acid reception in the brain. This, in turn, reduces excitation in parts of brain reducing mind activity in situations of stress. Thereby, oolong tea maintains calmness in the body activating enzymes and neurotransmitters which keep the body in a state of overall well-being. Less reaction to stress keeps the body at rest and happy disposition such that mental irritation is blocked and triggers are reduced which may cause a boost in adrenaline causing anxiety. Stress can lead to several other cognitive and psychological problems, and therefore, one of the easiest options to deal with it is a warm cup of oolong tea.
Possible Side Effects of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea has several advantages as a semi-fermented tea having the best of green and black tea, but one must be warned of the caffeine content which may be high in some varieties. Excess of caffeine may lead to several side effects like sleeplessness, diarrhoea, heartburn and anxiousness. Other serious disorders can be increased rate of blood pressure and irritable bowel syndromes. Apart from extra caffeine, added dosages of oolong tea can cause other problems. Too much oolong tea can cause a risk of washing out the calcium and other minerals from the body. Hence, excess tea can cause degradation in the bone density making it weaker. The best way is to take oolong tea without added sugar and be wary of the caffeine intake such that it retains its nutritional benefits.