What are oolong tea and its benefits?
Similar to black tea, green tea and white tea, oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. However, the flavours, colour and health benefits of Oolong tea vary from its counterparts and this difference in flavour can be mainly attributed to its production process and degree of oxidation. Oolong tea is often described as a partially oxidised tea, in which its degree of oxidation falls in between that of black tea and green tea. Nonetheless, the flavour profile of oolong tea also heavily relies on the tea maker, who determines the final flavour by altering how and when the tea leaves are rolled. When brewed, Oolong tea can vary from green (less oxidised) to an amber colour (more oxidised). Apart from its unique flavour, there are many health benefits of Oolong tea that leave tea lovers coming back for more with each sip.
- Rich in antioxidants - Free radicals are naturally produced in our bodies via various metabolic processes. However, excess free radicals in our bodies can lead to various chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Antioxidants generally combat and minimise the detrimental effects caused by free radicals and Oolong tea is rich in these antioxidants. Therefore, one of the health benefits of Oolong tea is that it can potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart diseases and diabetes.
- Improve brain activity - The caffeine present in Oolong tea stimulates the release of the hormones - epinephrine and dopamine- which can improve brain function. In addition, Oolong tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is thought to further improve brain activity and help reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
- Weight loss - Recent studies have shown that Oolong tea could potentially aid in weight loss as it can stimulate fat burning, improve metabolism and decrease body fat.
Oolong tea is best enjoyed as a cup of steaming hot tea at any time of the day. Currently, this exquisite tea variety is mass-produced mainly in China and Taiwan, and its popularity is expected to increase even further due to its sophisticated and varying flavour profiles as well due to its array of health benefits.