About Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is commonly consumed in China and Taiwan. It is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant that is used to make green tea and black tea. The difference is in the process of oxidation that makes them into black tea, Green tea, or oolong tea.
Green tea is made from fresh leaves. Black tea is produced by crushing the leaves to enhance oxidation. Oolong tea is created when the leaves are wilted in the sun and bruised to create partial oxidation (1)
There are antioxidants present in oolong tea that play a role in many types of health benefits.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
There are numerous health benefits that can be derived from drinking oolong tea:
1. Improves Heart Health
Studies show the relationship between drinking oolong tea and cholesterol levels. (4) It was found that people drinking 10 ounces of oolong tea per week had a lower risk of having a higher level of total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL.
One thing should not be forgotten that oolong tea contains caffeine that is known to increase blood pressure levels of hypertension in some people. Hence overconsumption should be avoided.
2. Helps with Weight Loss
Tea consumption has always been linked with weight loss. It is believed that the antioxidant activity from the tea helps in decreasing body fat. It is also believed that tea has the ability to enhance enzyme inhibition and antioxidant interaction with gut microbiota may be the reason for its weight loss capability.(6)
A study was done on mice fed with high sugar and high-fat diet. These mice were also fed with oolong extract. It was found they gained less abdominal fat compared with the mice who were not fed the oolong extract (7)
A study done on overweight adults found a decrease in the weight by 1 kg on drinking oolong tea four times a day for 6 weeks.(8)
3. Improves Brain Function
Reviews show consuming tea helps in maintaining brain function and memory and it may also protect against age-related decline. (9) There are several components in the tea that play a role in benefitting brain function.
Caffeine increases the release of norepinephrine and dopamine that are the brain messengers that benefit brain function, mood, and attention.
A study showed having a high level of tea consumption was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment and decline. (10)
One more study was done in 2010 linked consumption of green tea, oolong tea, or black tea with improved cognition, memory, and information processing in the elderly. (11)
4. Protects against Certain Cancers
Tea polyphenols may also decrease the cancer cell division rate. (14)
The research was done to examine the association between tea consumption and risk of head and neck cancer. Each cup consumption equated to a 4 percent lower risk. (15)
Another study found drinking green tea, oolong tea, and black tea reduced the risk of ovarian cancer (16)
5. Protect against Diabetes
Tea has been known to protect against diabetes by easing insulin resistance and decreasing inflammation. (17)
Most of the research is on green tea and black tea. Oolong tea lack studies.
A small study conducted showed the effectiveness of oolong tea in lowering the plasma glucose in the patient with type 2 diabetes. (18)
6. Improves Dental Health
Fluoride is an essential element in preventing dental cavities. It is added to toothpaste, drinking water, and mouthwashes for this purpose.
Tea leaves contain fluoride naturally and this can help prevent cavities.
Research has linked tea consumption with better dental health, decreased plaque, and gingivitis that can lead to healthier teeth (19)
7. Helps in Relieving Eczema
Both green tea and black tea were re-linked with easing the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
A small study was done to look over the ability of oolong tea in managing eczema. It was found that marked to moderate improvement was observed in those drinking 1 liters of oolong tea a day. The improvement persisted till 5 months in 54% of individuals. (20)
Most of the studies show a longer consumption of oolong tea showed the greatest result. There is not actually a cure but it has helped in managing many symptoms.