The oolong tea or brown tea is a traditional Chinese herbal tea. It gets its name from the dark, long and curly leaves of the plant camellia sinensis. The leaves of the same plant are also used in making green and black tea, although the procedure is different. Oolong tea is produced by strong oxidation under the sun before curling and twisting of the leaves. Depending on the variety and the style of production, the degree of oxidation can range from 8 to 85%. Initially popular among the people of South China, lately it has been getting international attention thanks to its weight loss properties.
Some of the most famous varieties of oolong tea are Da Hong Pao, Huangjin Gui, Alishan oolong and Pouchong. They differ mostly in the fragrance and the level of oxidation. You need to work out which is the best one for you.
Oolong Tea for Weight Loss
Oolong tea has become popular globally because it helps in decreasing fat and increasing metabolism rates. It is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, detoxifying alkaloids, folic acid, niacin and the vitamins A, C, K and E.
Here are some of the best brands of oolong tea available in the market:
- Bigelow Chinese Oolong Tea
- Foojoy Wuyi Mt. Oolong Weight Loss Tea
- Ceylon Organic Oolong Tea
- The Tao of Tea Black Dragon Loose Leaf oolong Tea
- Prince of Peace Organic Oolong Tea
- Revolution Dragon Eye Oolong Tea
- Twinings Oolong Tea
- Stash Oolong Tea
How does oolong tea help you lose weight?
The scientific community has long been fascinated by the weight-reducing properties of this tea. The results of a 2009 study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine showed participants losing considerable weight after drinking the tea for six weeks. An animal study published in 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated how the polyphenols present in the tea helped increase fat loss even when taken with high fats and sugar.
Oolong tea tackles fat in two ways. It increases the energy expenditure (EE) of the body. And it reduces fat absorption by helping in the excretion of the lipids. Oolong tea burns 157% more fat than other teas. It also blocks fat building enzymes, keeping you from regaining those lost pounds. To top it all, it helps in boosting your immune system.
Benefits of Drinking Oolong Tea
Oolong tea has many benefits, the best being the capacity to burn fats. Listed below are some of the amazing ways in which it helps you lose weight –
- Its anti-oxidants increase your rate of metabolism by at least 10% for around two hours after drinking the tea. It is considered one of the best home remedies to increase metabolism.
- These anti-oxidants especially target the fat in your abdomen and upper arms.
- It boosts your immunity and protects you from chronic diseases.
- It helps in regulating blood sugar levels. It inhibits alpha-glucosidase, the enzyme that aids in absorbing glucose from the small intestine. It also reduces food cravings.
- The polymerized polyphenols in it increase the body energy expenditure. They are active even when the tea is taken with a high-sugar meal. A type of polyphenol found in this tea, known as catechins, prevents the metabolism rate from decreasing.
- Taken thrice daily, the polyphenols also reduce the absorption of the dietary fat and the harmful LDL cholesterol by over 50%.
- The naturally occurring caffeine combined with the EGCGs (Epigallocatechin gallate) in the tea improves fat oxidation. A study has found that catechins and caffeine work better together than they do alone. So beware of the decaffeinated varieties of oolong tea.
- The high rate of fat oxidation means you don’t need to worry before having that high-fat meal.
- This tea is free of calories. So you can care less than you do for your morning coffee.
- A healthy digestive system helps better in fighting weight. And oolong tea helps in keeping it healthy by increasing the pH levels in the digestive tract. This in turn helps in better digestion, and protects the stomach from ulcers, infections and acid reflux.
In addition to these, oolong tea also comes with a host of other benefits. Some are listed below:
- The polyphenols and catechins are chemo-preventive. This means that they are good at curbing the growth of cancer cells by attacking free radicals. They don’t allow the formation of N-nitroso compounds.
- The antioxidants fight the bacteria present in the teeth and protect them from the corrosive acids produced by those bacteria. They also protect them from the plaques and prevent bad breath.
- Oolong tea is one of the best home remedies for the heart. Not only does it help in reducing cholesterol, but it also increases blood plasma adiponectin, whose deficiency causes CAD, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- The magnesium and calcium in the leaves of the oolong tea help maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
- Oolong tea helps reducing stress levels by almost 18%. The large amount of caffeine in it speeds up brain functions.
- It helps in naturally treating many skin diseases like atopic dermatitis and eczema. It cures allergies and damages caused by free radicals. It slows down ageing of skin.
- The two catechin compounds C-1 and C-2 found in Fujian oolong tea are very good anti-allergens and can help protect you from hay fever and other allergies.
- Oolong tea has been found to be very effective in fighting fungus. The catechins help enhance the effects of medicines treating infections caused by the candida albicans bug. This as well may lead the way in fighting such infections in the intestine, the vagina, and in the oral cavities.
How much oolong tea to drink for weight loss?
For the purposes of weight loss, drinking oolong tea 2 to 3 times a day is enough. But one should be careful about the additional calorie intake. Health conscious youngsters prefer to have it with greasy meals as it is an effective fat blocker. But those who have weak calorie- resistance should take extra precautions. Also, excessive intake of oolong tea can cause a lot of problems. This is why one should never start drinking this without consulting a physician.
How to take oolong tea for weight loss?
It has been found that the tea works best when drunk at least half an hour before working out. A regular workout routine should be followed while drinking this tea. Also, a proper diet plan should be drawn up by consulting the dietician which would have low fat and low cholesterol food.
Here are a few ways to help you make that perfect cup of oolong tea:
Oolong Tea Powder –
- To a cup of hot water, add 1 tbsp of oolong tea powder
- Steep for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the tea and cool it a bit before drinking.
- For best results, do this daily.
Oolong Tea Leaves
- Heat the water at 190-200 F before pouring it in a cup.
- Put 1-2 tbsp of loose oolong tea leaves in the cup.
- Steep for 2-6 minutes.
- Drink this twice daily with your meal.
Oolong Tea Bags
- Steep a tea bag containing the leaves for 1.5 minutes.
- Drink the tea after putting out the tea bag.
- You can reuse the tea bag. But remember to increase the time of steeping with each use.
Green Tea and Oolong Tea
- Add 1 tbsp of green tea and 1 tbsp of oolong tea to a cup of hot water.
- Steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain the tea and cool it a bit.
- Drink this once in the morning and once in the evening daily.
Oolong Tea with Cinnamon
- Put a cinnamon stick in a cup of water and soak it for the night.
- Boil the water with the stick next morning.
- Add the tea bag after removing the container from the flame.
- Steep for 3 minutes.
- Drink after removing the tea bag and the stick.
Oolong Tea with Lemon Juice
- Put some oolong tea leaves in a cup of hot water.
- Steep for 5-7 minutes.
- Strain the tea before adding lemon juice.
- Stir well and drink.
Points to keep in mind while preparing and drinking oolong tea:
- Prepare the tea at low temperatures (around 194 F) and steep it for short periods of time (around 3 minutes) to preserve the catechins better.
- Hot oolong tea is better than iced oolong tea at burning fat.
- Two cups of oolong tea daily are enough to serve the purpose.
- Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid drinking this tea.
Side effects of drinking oolong tea
However, oolong tea can also cause you harm and reverse some of those beneficial effects if consumed without moderation. Here is how:
- The high levels of caffeine present in the tea make it risky for those who are caffeine- sensitive. This is why products like soft drinks and soda should never be taken with it. Even milk and sugar should be avoided. It can cause side effects like restlessness, anxiety, depression, increased heart rate and PMS symptoms, among others.
- As the tea comes with natural fluorides, its excessive consumption can cause skeletal fluorosis.
- Those with osteoporosis should not drink more than 1 cup, after consulting the doctor.
- Drinking too much of oolong tea can also upset the stomach, and cause hypokalemia, beriberi and stones in the kidney. It can also trigger tea allergy.
- It can cause anemia by affecting the body’s iron metabolism.
- Those under blood thinning medication should avoid drinking this tea. As should those consuming herbs and supplements to slow down blood clotting (clove, ginger, ginkgo, garlic).
Green tea or Oolong Tea – Which is Better?
Green tea and the dark brown oolong tea come from the same plant. The difference lies in the degree of oxidation – the latter is fully oxidized and roasted. Both of them happen to be good at fighting fat. But is green tea the best among all? While its effects are better recorded, an increasing number of studies tell otherwise. A 2003 study conducted by a Japanese team to compare green and oolong teas produced the following results:
- Oolong tea burns fat longer (2 hours) than green tea.
- The concentration of polymerized polyphenols (among the best antioxidants) is higher in oolong tea. The concentrations of caffeine and EGCG are higher in green tea.
This means that those trying to lose weight should definitely prefer oolong tea over green tea as the latter is better at fighting fat. Also, green tea is more harmful for those suffering from caffeine-related issues.
So next time you go to the market, do give that packet of oolong tea a try. Not only is it one of the easiest ways to shed some kilos, it is also helpful in tackling a host of other issues arising from an unhealthy lifestyle. But in the end of the day, do check out your compatibility with the product by paying a visit to your doctor.