Oolong is a Big Hit … and, Has Been for 3000 Years

WELLNESS--Green tea has roots dating back 3000 years where in China Green tealeaves were initially chewed on before being used to cook with and eventually steeped to make tea. It has many compounds that make it special, primarily anti-oxidants and polyphenols. Anti-oxidants are molecules that help to protect other molecules such as Vitamin C and E. Polyphenols are a specific type of antioxidants found in plants and foods like chocolate and olive oil. 

Regular green tea can actually irritate the gastric system. Very often when people drink green tea they get upset stomach or digestive issues. This is because the tealeaves come from a plant and through evolution; plants have developed what are called antifeedants. Antifeedants are compounds that when consumed by animals cause gastric irritation. In turn, the plant is consumed less and is more likely to continue thriving. Oolong tea contains far fewer antifeedants than regular green tea making it easier on the gut.   

In order to minimize or eliminate the antifeedants all together, fermentation or oxidation of the green tea leaves must be done. The latter is done letting the leaves dry for up to 2 days until they brown. Green tea is not oxidized at all while Oolong can be oxidized from about 30 to 90 percent. Counterintuitively, oxidizing green tea by leaving the green tea leaves out for longer to dry actually makes the tea contain more antioxidants and less antifeedants eliminating gastritis. Oohlong also has one of the highest levels of polyphenols of all teas. 

There are other studies showing the effects of Oolong tea on weight loss. One livestrong article in Oolong tea help the body maintain a low BMI and keep off belly fat. Part of the way it does this is by binding dietary fat. There are specific ways to prepare the Oolong, most importantly steeping it for shorter period of time such as 3 minutes instead of 10 and by using hot water instead of boiling it; the special compounds in the tea are more likely to stay in tact. 

Finally, Oolong tea has been shows to act in a similar fashion to probiotcs by suppressing the bad bacteria in the gut while allowing the healthy bacteria to grow. When it comes to health and wellness, Oolong tea is a huge hit!


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)