Oolong tea is one of the most praised kinds of tea. It has exquisite taste and offers several benefits for the body and mind.
Just like green and black tea, oolong tea comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis. Compared to green and black tea, the leaves of the tea plant are processed in a different way to obtain oolong.
Oolong tea, also called Wu Long tea, originates from Fukien province in China. There are several different varieties of this tea, which all fall into category of “quingcha”, which means “clear tea”.
This tea tastes like something between green and black tea, but it does not have the grassy flavor of green tea or the sweetness of black tea. Its color is brownish and the taste is floral, sometimes fruity, with something of a melony aftertaste.
As for the processing, like other types of tea, oolong tea undergoes the process of fermentation or oxidation. When they are ready, the leaves are harvested, broken, bruised and crushed, which releases enzymes. Enzymes get oxidized and the rate of oxidation depends on the period of exposure. For oolong tea, which is a semi-fermented tea, the oxidation rate is between 10 and 70 percent.
Health benefits of oolong tea
Benefits of oolong tea are similar to those of green tea, mainly because of the high content of polyphenols. Polyphenols are important for regulating the levels of triglycerides and for fighting the free radicals, which cause oxidative damage on the molecular level and are responsible for many serious diseases.
Since polyphenols are destroyed during oxidation in fermentation process, teas that are exposed to less fermentation are more beneficial. Green tea, which is least fermented, has the most polyphenols and oolong tea, a semi-fermented tea, also contains a fair amount of them. black tea contains the lowest amount of polyphenols among all teas.
Oolong tea has the ability to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, it prevents heart disease and protects the digestive tract. This tea is also beneficial for the bones and it reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Just like green tea, oolong tea is important for good dental health as it prevents tooth decay. It boosts the immune system and therefore reduces the risk of seasonal illnesses, like common cold and flu.
Oolong tea is also beneficial for the skin. It keeps it clean and radiant, delays the signs of aging like wrinkles and saggy skin and helps with skin diseases like eczema.
Regular consumption of oolong tea boosts the metabolism and increases the rate at which the fat is burned. This tea is, therefore, recommended for people who want to lose weight.