Oolong (Chinese—wūlóng) is a time-honored Chinese tea and is made from the plant camellia sinensis. It was invented in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian in the 1500s. Oolong is semi-oxidized, and, therefore, blends the qualities of black (completely oxidized) and green (no oxidation) teas
Today, Oolong tea commands only 2% of the global tea market; yet its popularity is rising because of its numerous health benefits. Experts are predicting the oolong market size to grow by $316.3 million during the years 2019 – 2023.
Oolong Tea Nutrition Facts
Oolong tea is ladened with antioxidants. Moreover, it contains numerous minerals such as manganese, calcium, copper, selenium, carotene, potassium, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E & K.
Additionally, your cup of oolong tea contains niacinamide, folic acid, and the rest of the detoxifying alkaloids. Also, courtesy of its semi-fermented nature, oolong tea carries several polyphenolic compounds to enhance its health benefits further.
Nonetheless, oolong tea leaves do carry traces of caffeine. Although, you can cut the amount of theine by shortening the steeping time.
Read ahead to know how oolong tea can help you get healthier.
Oolong tea benefits your health. Yet it does contain caffeine, and an excess of it can lead to headaches, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Moreover, ingesting a little too much polyphenol antioxidants transforms them into pro-oxidants, which is detrimental to your health.
Both the USDA and the EFSA recommend a daily caffeine intake of 400 mg as safe. It equates to 48 to 80 ounce of oolong tea, or 6 to 10 cups in a day. Nonetheless, pregnant women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine (3 to 5 cups of oolong tea) in a day.
Always remember that apart from tea and coffee—your energy drinks, soda, and chocolate also carry varying degrees of caffeine. Therefore, always account for these beverages and edibles when calculating your everyday caffeine count.
9 Oolong Tea Benefits
1. Oolong Tea Can Strengthen Your Brain Function
A 2013 University of California study revealed that oolong tea can assist in maintaining your brain function and discourage Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, regular consumption lowers the risk of declining brain function by 64%, besides improving your memory, cognition, and information processing speed.
Specifically, the following components of oolong tea benefit your brain function:
Caffeine enhances the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, and these organic chemicals can improve your focus, mood, and brain function.
The amino acid theanine assists in relieving anxiety and boosting your attention. A 2014 Swinburne University of Australia’s study concluded that tea containing both theanine and caffeine multiplies your focus and alertness 60 – 120 minutes after consumption.
Tea polyphenols also add to the calming effect your feel—especially a couple of hours after intake.
2. Oolong Tea Can Help Your Heart
Regular consumption of oolong tea antioxidants can improve your heart health. A few antioxidants—called tea polyphenols—such as thearubigins, theaflavins, and EGCG are responsible for the majority of its heart benefits.
Following are some studies substantiating the above:
- A 2011 study by Pharmacol Res. reports reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- A 2003 King Saud University study revealed that people who regularly consumed 1.4 liter of tea were 51% less at risk of having a heart attack compared to non-tea consumers.
- A comprehensive study of 76,000 Japanese adults by the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine observed drinking at least 240 ml of oolong tea every day lowers cardiovascular ailments by 61%.
- A Chinese study registers a 39% decrease in the risk of stroke if a person consumes 480 ml of oolong tea every day.
- A regular intake of 120 ml of oolong tea will lessen the high blood pressure risk by 46%.
Although oolong tea has caffeine, which can raise blood pressure in a few people, its effect neutralizes over time with regular caffeine intake. Moreover, since a 240 ml oolong tea cup carries only 25% of the coffee caffeine content of the same size, your blood pressure remains in a steady state.
3. Oolong Tea Is Antidiabetic
Oolong tea contains polyphenol antioxidants that can decrease insulin and blood sugar levels of a diabetic person, while simultaneously increasing insulin sensitivity. A 2009 Nanjing Medical University study reported a solid link between regular oolong tea consumption and a decreased risk of having Type 2 diabetes.
Another study revealed a 16% decrease in the development of Type 2 diabetes if a person consumes 720 ml of oolong tea every day. Moreover, an Osaka-based research center concluded that a daily intake of 1.5 liter of oolong tea for a month lowers the blood sugar levels of a diabetic by 30%.
4. Oolong May Safeguard You Against Certain Types Of Cancers
The year 2000 National Cancer Institute research linked the presence of antioxidants in oolong tea with the prevention of cell mutations that may encourage cancer growth in the body. Also, tea polyphenol lessens the pace of cancer cell division.
A separate study reported a 15% decrease in the development of oral cancer with regular oolong tea consumption. Other similar studies reported protective effects for esophageal, pancreatic, liver, lung, and colorectal cancers.
Nonetheless, the majority of research undertaken concludes oolong tea having no effect on ovarian, breast, and bladder cancers.
5. Oolong Tea Boosts Your Bones and Teeth
The oolong tea antioxidants can assist you in keeping your bones and teeth strong. A 2002 National Cheng Kung University Hospital research concluded that people who regularly consumed oolong tea for a decade had 2% greater total bone mineral density.
Another Chinese study discovered that adding oolong tea to your everyday diet increases your bone density by 4.5 – 4.9%. Remember, an elevated bone mineral density subdues the danger of fractures.
Lastly, research connects oolong tea intake with decreased dental plaque, as the tea is a staple source of fluoride—which strengthens your tooth enamel.
6. Oolong Tea Can Assist You To Lose Weight
Medical experts have scientific reasons to believe that a few of the oolong tea polyphenols can supercharge your metabolism while decreasing the sum of fat acquired from your diet. Moreover, these polyphenols can also trigger enzymes to assist you in using preserved fat for energy.
A 2001 Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center researchers discovered that oolong tea enabled participants to burn 2.9 to 3.4% more calories every day. One reason is the tea caffeine content, but tea polyphenols also play a part.
To test this notion, scientists compared the effects of caffeine and tea polyphenols against caffeine alone. While both enhanced the calories burning capacity by 4.8%—only the blend of caffeine and tea polyphenol raised the participants’ fat burning capacity.
This validates that the fat burning ability of tea also relies on the plant compound in the beverage.
7. Oolong Tea May Assist Relieving Eczema
The oolong tea polyphenols can assist in relieving eczema. A group of 118 patients with debilitating eczema was asked to consume a liter of oolong tea every day, apart from undergoing their regular treatment. After a mere 15 days, eczema symptoms began improving, and after a month, 63% of the people reported improvement.
The more critical aspect is the sustenance of the improvement, which was affirmed by 54% of the participants after five months.
8. High in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Much of the health benefits of oolong tea are due to the presence of many antioxidants in it. The ones present in abundance are bioflavonoids, kaempferol, myricetin, and quercetin. Among them, quercetin is of special significance, as it fights inflammation. Put together in a cup of oolong tea, these antioxidants work in harmony to fight the aging process, heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergies.
9. Decreases Inflammation
Research indicates that the majority of diseases, including cancer, cognitive decline, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders, are caused by inflammation.
Therefore, when you alter your diet to lessen your chronic inflammation—you are better placed to prevent all types of diseases. That is why the antioxidants present in oolong tea—particularly quercetin—are extremely critical to its health impact.
Quercetin is one of the most important anti-inflammatory antioxidants, as it can help free radicals from damaging in your body. Moreover, it also reduces the manifestation of inflammatory genes like interleukin.