A cup of oolong is truly one of a kind. Like all other teas, oolong is brewed from the same leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Although all teas contain antioxidants and many of the same benefits, the difference in its processing gives them distinct properties. While green tea is unfermented and black tea fully fermented, oolong lies in between the two regarding the fermentation process – and also on the caffeine spectrum. The history of oolong tea was first mentioned in writings from the Ming Dynasty during the 1300’s, but can be traced even further to the 600’s and was often used as a tribute tea: offered as a sign of honor. Originating in China, oolong is also sourced from Taiwan & Vietnam and is just starting to gain popularity in the United States.
What does Oolong Tea taste like?
Since oolong tea is only partially oxidized, there are many different possibilities for special flavors and blends to be created. You’ll notice that brewed oolong teas can have a rainbow of colors, but they all tend to achieve a sweet and floral flavor.
Benefits of Oolong
1. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Researchers have found a connection in drinking oolong tea and lowering cholesterol levels. As most benefits only come through large quantities of regular tea drinking, there have been studies that prove otherwise. After just a month of oolong consumption in one particular study, patients saw a significant decrease in the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Experts attribute supporting heart health to the presence of polyphenols and catechins that are in oolong.
2. Lowers Risk of Cancer
The anti-cancer effects are becoming so significant that the National Cancer Institute has been putting together trials and studies that there may be evidence of tea consumption in relation to cancer treatment. Some studies suggest that the large number of antioxidants will impact your risk for certain cancers, including ovarian and pancreatic cancer – even potentially stopping the growth of melanoma.
3. Decreases Inflammation
Lowering chronic inflammation is highly important, as it is a leading cause to all kinds of diseases and conditions. Oolong tea signals to specific inflammation-causing genes by using all the antioxidants found in the tea, resulting in a reduction of inflammation.
4. Helps Fight Obesity
Most teas are known for their metabolism boosting effects which may help you lose weight. However, a study found that the properties of actual oolong tea (rather than the caffeine) promotes a higher fat oxidation in relation to green tea and water. This makes oolong a perfect metabolism boosting option for drinkers who don’t want or need as much caffeine.
5. Diabetes Prevention
Introducing oolong tea into your diet may help prevent and even reverse diabetes naturally by decreasing blood glucose levels. A small 30-day study found a significant drop in blood glucose levels (by 30%) from daily consumption of oolong tea and even its caffeine playing a part in treating type 2 diabetes.
6. Boosts Energy
Not only does oolong tea have caffeine, but it also contains an amino acid (L-theanine) that helps inhibit its release. You’ll notice a smoother and longer energy boost (without the crash) than a cup of coffee. Oolong also fights free radicals and toxins with catechins & antioxidants that can cause oxidative stress and damage healthy cells.
7. Improves Tooth and Skin Health
Oolong tea leaves naturally contain fluoride, which helps prevent cavities, tooth decay and demineralization of teeth enamel. The fluoride found in oolong replenishes lost minerals like phosphorus and calcium to keep your teeth strong. Oolong also contains a large amount of anti-allergenic antioxidants, which can also decrease skin conditions. You can learn more about a trial where oolong drinkers noticed a significant effect in their eczema here.
At Sana Vida, we offer a small variety of organic oolong teas, carefully selected from Vietnam, Taiwan and China. Visit us at the tea bar and try a sample. You can also purchase a cup ($5), pot ($7) or a bag of loose leaves ($10) for brewing at home.