Have you heard of oolong tea? It can be easy to overlook since it only accounts for 2% of the world's tea. It's mostly produced in southern China (Naghma Khan, 2007). Oolong tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, just like green and black teas are, but it's processed in a different manner than either, resulting in a tea that is a bit of a cross between the two. Black tea is fermented and green tea is not, while oolong is partially fermented.
The outstanding thing about oolong tea is that it combines the benefits of green and black teas into one super powerful drink.
Polyphenols Are Abundant in Oolong Tea
Polyphenols are compounds found in plants, and they have antioxidant properties that are of benefit to human health.
Many plant foods, wine, chocolate, extra virgin olive oil, and tea, among other things, contain polyphenols.
How Can Oolong Tea Improve Your Health?
Here are some of the benefits that have been linked to the regular consumption of oolong tea:
- Helps make weight loss easier. Oolong tea increases metabolism, leading to easier weight loss. It can also help guard against obesity by helping the body burn fat more efficiently.
- May decrease the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown a decrease in the production of atherosclerosis in people who regularly consume oolong tea.
- Might lower risk of cancer. Tea, in general, is filled with antioxidants that can help decrease a person's risk of developing cancer. These powerful antioxidants also fight general inflammation, slow down cell aging, and help prevent or fight many inflammation-related health conditions.
- Tea has been shown to slow or prevent cognitive dysfunction. Regularly drinking tea can improve brain function and slow or stop the development of age-related memory and brain function decline.
- Can help reduce eczema. Studies have shown that people with eczema who drink three cups of oolong tea per day can experience a drastic reduction in their skin outbreaks.
Note: Oolong tea does contain some caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine or have a condition which worsens with its use, oolong tea might not be for you.
How to Prepare Oolong Tea
You can buy oolong tea in ready-to-steep packets. Just add a packet to hot water and steep for three to four minutes. You may wish to add honey or stevia or drink it without sweetener.
You may steep multiple packets of oolong tea in a pitcher of water, then refrigerate it to make iced oolong tea.
Try making an oolong chai tea drink by adding some coconut milk, cinnamon, hot pepper, vanilla, and stevia to taste. Blend and serve over ice.
- Naghma Khan, H. M. (2007, July 26). Tea polyphenols for health promotion. Retrieved from Science Direct: 10.1016/j.lfs.2007.06.011.
- Wan-Shui Yang, W.-Y. W.-Y. (2013, Dec. 4). Tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Retrieved from cambridge.org: 10.1017/S0007114513003887.