History of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that comes with many health benefits. The tea originates from the leaves plucked from an ancient tree found in China called Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea and black tea have also come from this particular tree. What differentiates Oolong tea from green tea and black tea is the processing.
Oolong tea goes through a process of slight oxidation however, black tea experiences prolonged oxidation which results in a very dark appearance. Oolong tea’s lighter appearance is as a result of the length of time it is allowed to oxidize.
The name oolong came from the creator of the actual tea. The tea is predominantly produced in Fujian and Guangdong is China. The tea was named after the tea farmer who accidentally discovered the tea, his nickname name was “Oolong.”
Oolong tea was gifted to the Queen of England by the British ambassador in the 19th century. The tea was dubbed “Oriental Beauty” because of the fact that it originated from China and it has this distinct flavor and aroma.
Oolong tea is also popular in Taiwan, in the 18th-century oolong tea seeds were taken to Taiwan and to this day, Taiwanese oolong tea is still a very popular variety of oolong tea.
Oolong Tea Nutrition
Various beneficial minerals and vitamins can be found in Oolong tea such as manganese, potassium, and caffeine. Like most natural teas there are several antioxidants in oolong tea such as theaflavins. There are various health benefits associated with consuming oolong tea such as:
Benefits of Drinking Oolong Tea
Oolong tea has a calming effect on the body, it can reduce anxiety and help to prevent or reduce insomnia. One of the key calming components found in oolong tea is theanine. Theanine is an amino acid which boosts alpha brain activity, this alpha brain activity is similar to the activity that takes place when you meditate. Theanine also increases the production of serotonin and dopamine which help to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Diabetes Prevention
Some studies have shown that consuming oolong tea can aid in the reduction of blood sugar and insulin. It also raises insulin sensitivity. Other studies have revealed that consuming oolong tea regularly can help to regulate blood sugar and lower the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Another study was undertaken that revealed that diabetics who drank 1 liter of oolong tea per day reduced their blood sugar by at least 30 percent upon completion of a 30-day trial.
- High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease Prevention
Consuming oolong tea regularly could help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other heart diseases. It can also lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. Bear in mind that the caffeine content can increase blood pressure in some people, this is rare. The best advice is to check with a healthcare professional prior to consuming oolong tea, especially if you already suffer from high blood pressure.
- Weight Loss
Some scientific studies have shown that certain polyphenols found in oolong tea can help to increase metabolism. Also, they can reduce overall fat absorption when consumed daily. Overweight people who consume at least 1 liter of oolong tea daily could boost the rate in which fat is burned in the body.
- Improves Focus and Brain Function
Due to the caffeine found in oolong tea, consuming it will help to improve brain function and overall focus. Studies carried out on final year college students reported that 90 percent of the participants stated that they experienced increased levels of focus and energy when they consumed at least 1 liter of oolong tea per day. Norepinephrine and dopamine also contribute to an increase in attention, focus, and energy.
Studies have also revealed that those who drink tea on a regular basis have fewer chances of experiencing a decrease in brain function over time.
- Cancer-Fighting Properties
Some scientists have reported that antioxidants present in oolong tea might have cancer-fighting properties. Drinking oolong tea regularly could help to reduce the chances of cancer cells multiplying in the body. Some studies have also shown that people that drink tea regularly could decrease the risk of mouth cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
- Strong Teeth and Bones
Drinking oolong tea may help to strengthen teeth and bones. Research has shown that drinking oolong tea can help to improve bone density in elderly people. Also, high consumption of oolong tea can help to decrease dental plaque and it can increase the strength of tooth enamel.
Good For The Skin
Antioxidants found in oolong tea help to reduce and fight free radicals which contribute to premature aging and a decrease in the overall condition and elasticity of the skin.
Side Effects of Overconsumption of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a natural tea that is generally considered to be perfectly safe to drink. However, some drinkers may experience some side effects.
Caffeine is a prominent ingredient found in oolong tea and consuming too much caffeine could have negative side effects, especially for those suffering from high blood pressure. Also, increased caffeine consumption could result in heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping and overall feelings of anxiety.
Drinking too much tea, in general, could impact iron absorption as the flavonoids connect to the plant-based iron sources and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. Therefore, if you suffer from anemia, it is best not to consume tea during or after meals, also consume plenty of foods high in vitamin C such as oranges and bell peppers.
The recommended daily dose of caffeine is approximately 400mg per day, this works out to be around 1.5 liters of oolong tea. Therefore, consuming this amount should be safe and should not produce any negative side effects. This 400mg recommendation does not apply to pregnant women, they should stick to a maximum of 200mg of caffeine per day, this works out to be about 4 cups a day.
How To Drink Oolong Tea
The key to great tasting oolong tea is the brewing process. It is important to make sure you use very good quality water with a clean taste. Fully boiled water works best too, the measurements are also key when it comes to the best tasting oolong tea. If you want a clean and crisp, robust taste, you need to ensure that you measure around 5g per hundred millimeters of tea. For dark oolong teas, you can use more.
Oolong tea is best consumed without adding milk or sugar. However, there are some delicious milky oolong tea recipes out there. For example, this delicious almond milk and cinnamon oolong tea recipe:
- ¾ cup hot brewed oolong tea
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 a vanilla bean,
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Instructions brew the oolong tea as desired. Then add almond milk, stir and add the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. If you wish to add a sweetener, consider honey or agave nectar instead of cane sugar.
Oolong tea is an ancient tea that originates from China, it has various health benefits such as weight loss, reduced cancer risk, anxiety reduction, better skin, mood-boosting properties and it helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Consuming oolong tea regularly can also reduce the risk of heart disease and it can stabilize the blood pressure. Remember that pregnant women should be cautious when drinking oolong tea because of the caffeine content, but generally drinking around 3 to 4 cups a day for pregnant women is safe. 10 cups of oolong tea per day is safe for healthy adults.
Oolong tea has a distinct and robust flavor and is the perfect tea for seasoned tea drinkers. Delicious without milk or sugar, but also full-bodied and flavorsome with a splash of milk added and a natural sweetener such as honey or agave nectar. This tea is best consumed when it has been heavily brewed, it can actually be brewed several times to get the best and most distinct and full-bodied flavor and aroma.