Tea was solely viewed as a healing and medicinal elixir until the 6th century in China, when it evolved to become a recreational beverage as well. Since then, humans have enjoyed the bountiful health benefits of drinking tea - whether it be physical health benefits or those reaped by the mind and soul.
Although oolong doesn’t represent the majority of the world’s tea, the health benefits oolong tea may be worth looking at.
What is Oolong Tea?
Just like Wine comes from Grapes, all types of tea come mainly from one plant, Camellia Sinensis. What defines the tea type is the process to which the leaves are subjected to after being picked.
Green tea has a low oxidation level, black tea is fully oxidized, and oolong tea sits in the middle of the two. The majority of oolong teas come from Taiwan and Southeast China.
In short, oolong tea is a tea made from partially oxidized tea leaves and it comes from the camellia Sinensis plant.
For more information on what is oolong tea click here.
Health properties of oolong tea
In addition to the well-known caffeine, oolong tea also contains minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Among common beverage and food products, oolong tea has one of the highest concentrations of beneficial polyphenol antioxidants. Studies have also shown that compared to broken tea leaves crushed into tea bags, whole dried tea leaves retain a much higher polyphenol content.
Oolong tea may help lower cholesterol levels, boost metabolism, and assist with bone mineral density.
Health benefits of Oolong TeaAntioxidants
The benefits of tea are generally associated with the high concentration of polyphenols, a natural organic chemical compound found in plants. Polyphenols in oolong tea is very high. Some benefits of consuming these antioxidants may include protection against diseases and conditions such as heart issues, eye problems, low immunity, cancer, premature aging of the skin, and more.Digestion, Metabolism and Weight loss
The partial oxidation of oolong tea helps create and maintain unique polyphenol compounds called theaflavins and thearubigins, which promote fat burning and lower inflammation. The increased rate of fat oxidation in oolong tea drinkers has been found to induce a healthy rate of weight loss when partnered with an active lifestyle and balanced diet.
The caffeine content of tea also adds a diuretic effect which aids the kidneys in removing excess water from the body — perfect for ridding the body of puffiness and extra water weight.Teeth and Skin
The antioxidant activity in oolong tea helps provide relief from inflammatory skin problems, such as itchiness and redness from eczema. Notably, oolong tea also combats against free radical damage to the skin caused by excessive sun exposure and oxidative stress. Research has shown that consuming oolong tea may cause a 50% reduction in harmful free radicals as soon as two weeks after regular consumption.
Tea also naturally absorbs fluoride from the soil in which it grows, which prevents dental cavities and supports oral health.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body stops responding to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar by moving sugar into the cells to be used as energy. High blood sugar is associated with adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular risk. Tea has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Also, EGCG, a polyphenol found in high concentrations in green tea, can help reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries. Avoid drinking green tea on an empty stomach, as it may cause some digestive discomfort in those with sensitive systems.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical messenger in the brain that promotes sleep and lowers anxiety and stress levels. Tea naturally contains GABA, and in an effort to concentrate GABA amounts, researchers have developed oxygen-free oxidation methods that encourage greater accumulation of GABA in the leaf. GABA intake helps improve mood, promotes quality sleep, and relieves anxiety and hyperactivity.
We find GABA teas, such as our Green Sanctuary GABA, to be excellent for moments of meditation and reflection.
Adding tea to your diet
There is a strong case for adding tea to your diet as health research on tea, while still in its infancy, has shown promising trends. A few benefits that have been related to tea consumption include a lower risk of liver disease, certain cancers, depression, and stroke, as well as a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.
Benefits of Tea in Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient wellness practice that believes that health is a result of the body operating in harmony with the energy of nature. In this realm of study, tea is viewed as a stimulant for mental clarity, a balancer of emotions, and an invigorator of energy. Different types of tea can have beneficial warming or cooling effects on the body.
Read more about the specific properties of different teas according to TCM here.