A recent medical study from Japan has shown that drinking a couple cups of Oolong Tea during the day can help promote an increased metabolism and weight loss.
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world (water is first). It is consumed by over half of the United States population on any given day.
The healthy benefits of drinking tea have long been established within the Western medical community and for thousands of years in ancient Eastern cultures.
What is Oolong Tea?
All tea originates from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but its variety has to do with how long it is allowed to oxidize after the tea leaves have been picked. This oxidization process utilizes temperature, moisture, and exposure to air to develop the different varieties of tea available for consumption. Black tea is completely oxidized, while green tea has very little oxidization.
Oolong tea lies somewhere between black and green tea in terms of oxidization, giving it a unique and mild flavor. It has about half the caffeine content as black tea, which makes it a perfect tea for late afternoon and early evening as it is not as likely to cause elevated heart rates but still increases metabolism.
Health Benefits of Drinking Oolong Tea
Drinking Oolong Tea Helps Reduce Inflammation
Increased inflammation has been known to create a cascade effect of physical and emotional medical problems such as insomnia, insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Oolong tea contains powerful antioxidant polyphenols (epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG) which medical research has shown to reduce inflammation, which in turn helps reduce overall stress-load on the body.
While drinking any type of tea (black, green, or white varieties) have similar health benefits, Oolong tea has been shown to have higher levels of EGCG and therefore, better overall health benefits.
Drinking Oolong Tea Helps Increase Metabolism
The natural caffeine in Oolong tea can help increase the metabolic rate and therefore improve the body's fat burning process. The researchers in the Japan study found that drinking Oolong tea contributed to a 20% greater increase in fat breakdown compared to a placebo.
Drinking Oolong Tea helps Improve the Absorption of Zinc
Another healthy benefit associated with drinking Oolong tea is that it has been shown to improve the absorption of zinc. Zinc is vital to supporting the body's immune system as it is a "transporter" mineral required to absorb other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Oolong Tea Improves Gut and Mouth Health
In a 2016 Food & Function medical journal study, it was demonstrated that t tea consumption impacted the gut microbacteria in obese mice. In the study, researchers gave obese mice infusions of tea flavanoids such as EGCG. The effects on the mice were a modulated gut biome that improved metabolism of fat in the intestines.
Drinking Tea the Healthy Way
While drinking loose leaf tea like Oolong tea is definitely a healthy practice we should implement as part of our daily routine, we should also be sure we are doing so in a healthy way.
Avoid using tea bags unless you know that the paper used is free from harmful toxins. Many tea bags contain a toxic chemical called epichlorohydrin.
A great alternative is to purchase a reusable and food-grade stainless steel tea strainer with a lid that you can use to steep your loose tea in your cup.
In addition to avoiding tea bags, for the best flavor and maximum health benefits:
- Use fresh cold filtered (not distilled) water to boil. Distilled water lacks minerals, and will give your tea a flat flavor.
- Steep your tea at the right temperature. Different teas require different water temperatures for steeping. Generally black and Oolong teas require 200-203 degrees Fahrenheit and green/white teas require 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Most loose leaf tea can be steeped several times and the flavors can improve after each steep, so if you intend to have more than one cup of tea in a short period of time, simply set your tea strainer aside and add more boiling water when you're ready to enjoy your next brew.
- Be sure to cover your tea strainer while steeping to bring out the best flavor, and try to not add any sugar or other additives to maximize its healthy benefits.