Green tea is often touted as a miracle drink providing all kinds of health benefits. Studies have shown that green tea may prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and reduce hypertension. Although green tea gets the spotlight, several of these same health benefits can be attributed to all sorts of tea such as oolong.
Tea is, after tea. The only difference between green, oolang, and black tea are how it has been processed after harvesting. White tea is slightly different because of the way it’s grown, but all tea is derived from the same plant – Camellia sinensis. And this plant has naturally occurring antioxidants that are beneficial to human health.
Antioxidants can also be present in other types of food such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and wines. They are great for illness prevention by combating free radicals – substances in the body linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, senile and drug-induced deafness, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s.
There are several components in tea that act as antioxidants such as catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols.
White, Green or Oolong?
Oolong tea is produced by allowing the tea leaves to oxidize for a brief time after picking. Oxidation is the process which makes the leaves turn dark on exposure to oxygen. Oolong is semi-oxidized; black tea is fully oxidized, and green tea is un-oxidized.
Fresh tea leaves are high in catechins. Processing the tea reduces these amounts, so the greater the tea is oxidized, the lower the catechin levels. This means that white tea has the greatest levels of catechins closely followed by green tea.
Catechins are the media darling of green tea promoters and usually receive the most coverage when discussing the health benefits of tea. There’s one point, however, which is often overlooked: As the amounts of catechins decrease during oxidation, the levels of theaflavins and thearubigins increase.
Both of these substances are found in higher concentrations in black and oolong tea than in green tea and have anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. A 2001 Chinese research indicated that the antioxidant properties of green tea and black tea are equal.
So it seems that oxidation doesn’t remove the health properties of tea, but only reduces one kind of antioxidant while increasing other health-promoting compounds.
What’s Oolong Good for You?
It is safe to state that tea is good for you, but since we’re especially interested in oolong, let us see what the medical literature has to say.
- Diabetes – Oolong tea could be an effective adjunct to oral hypoglycemic agents in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
- Eczema – Japanese researchers reported that patients with a kind of eczema іmрrоvеd аftеr drinking а lіtеr оf oolong tеа dаіlу.
- Allergies – Тwо саtесhіn dеrіvаtіvеs (С-1 and С-2) with potent anti-allergic асtіvіtу wеrе іsоlаtеd frоm Таіwаnеsе oolong tеа.
- Васtеrіаl infections – Oolong tеа роlурhеnоls strongly inhibited the enzyme activities of several types of streptococci.
- Саvіtіеs – Oolong tеа роlурhеnоlіс compounds could bе useful for controlling dental caries.
- Fat – Consumption of oolong tea stimulates both EE and fat oxidation in normal-weight men.
- Cancer – Oolong tea extract has a chemopreventive action against hepatocarcinogenesis.
Terrific stuff! Drinking green tea will make you healthier, live longer, be more beautiful and have great teeth!