Oolong Tea’s Health Promotion Benefits
In China, tea has historically been used as a medicine. Many studies have been carried out up to the present day about the effects of tea. It has been known for some time that tea helps to control obesity and this is common knowledge in China. A Chinese classical pharmaceutical book called the Bencao Shiyi (The Compendium of Materia Medica) states; “Drinking tea for a long time will make one live long to stay in good shape without becoming too fat and too heavy.
What is Obesity?
Obesity means excessive accumulation of fat within the system. In modern medical science, obesity does not simply mean being overweight. Obesity is defined as an “excess accumulation of fat in the human body,” indicating that “the amount of fat within the body has increased beyond its normal range.” As shown in the chart, the normal range of fat against weight is 15-20% for a man and 20-25% for a woman. A man will be diagnosed as being obese if he has a fat-to-weight ratio of 25% or more, and for a woman, if she has a ratio of 30% or more. Excess triglyceride accumulates inside fat cells.
Why does obesity occur?
The mechanism of obesity is like this. Among other food items taken into your body through meals every day, sugar and fat are synthesized into triglyceride in the liver and the small intestine, which are then carried in the bloodstream into various other tissues in the body. More triglyceride than any other kind of fat is contained in the human body and it is used as a source of energy for life support and physical activities. Excess amounts of triglyceride will be deposited within fat cells. This is the mechanism of fat metabolism in which an excess accumulation of triglyceride in the body causes obesity.
Oolong tea enhances the function of fat metabolism. Polyphenol in oolong tea is effective in controlling obesity. Specifically speaking, it activates the enzyme that is responsible for dissolving triglyceride. It has been confirmed that the continuous intake of oolong tea contributes to enhancing the function of fat metabolism and to controlling obesity.
Laboratory experiments demonstrate that oolong tea helps to prevent obesity Experiments using laboratory animals were conducted to verify the effect of oolong tea on the prevention of obesity. Rats were used in the experiments. They were divided into three groups: one was a control group that was given normal feed and water; another was given high calorie feed containing extra fat and water; while the third group was given the same kind of high-calorie feed but with oolong tea as a drink. All the rats weighed the same before the experiments but weighed differently six weeks later according to their groups. The two groups of high calorie-fed rats gained more weight than the control group of rats fed with the normal feed, and no weight difference was observed between the two groups of high-calorie fed rats.
But when the fat cells of the two groups of rats were compared, the quantity of the visceral fat (fat in within the internal organs) and that of the subcutaneous fat (fat under the dermis of the skin, which is part of the skin) of the group of rats that was given oolong tea was smaller than that of the other group. It was also proven that even when rats were given fatty food, if they were also given oolong tea, they were prevented from becoming obese without any effect on their growth.
Clinical Test on Obese People a clinical test was carried out on 75 people between 22 and 68 years old who were obese merely because of overeating and/or lack of physical exercise. They were asked to consume a drink made by infusing two packs of oolong tea in water, once in the morning and once in the afternoon for six weeks. They were also asked to refrain from receiving any dietary treatment or taking any exercise. Thickness of subcutaneous fat decreased. Echography sensors were placed at a spot 3 cm to the right of the naval of each of the subjects to measure the thickness of their subcutaneous fat. Compared with readings before the test, the thickness of subcutaneous fat decreased by about 4 mm on average after completion of the test program.
As for triglycerides, the serum triglyceride level in some people who had a level higher than the standard before the test clearly fell after the test. It was also confirmed that the serum total cholesterol level in some people who had a level higher than the standard before the test clearly dropped and improved. In addition, 67% of those who participated in the test lost weight. Through the animal and clinical tests, it was confirmed that the continuous intake of oolong tea promotes the function of fat metabolism and contributes to controlling obesity.
Health benefits of oolong tea include reducing chronic bodily conditions such as heart diseases, inflammatory disorders, providing vital antioxidants, reducing high cholesterol levels, promoting superior bone structure, robust skin and good dental health. The oolong tea is fragrant with a fruity flavor and tasty aroma. It is considerably low in caffeine and extremely relaxing to drink.
Health benefits of oolong tea are doubled because of combined qualities of black tea and green tea. According to Tea Association of USA, oolong tea falls between green and black teas, as its leaves are only partially oxidized. There are numerous kinds of tea in this world; oolong tea being one among them. The origin of oolong tea dates back to almost 400 years in the history of China. It is a semi-green fermented tea. But, the fermentation process is halted as soon as the tea leaves start to change their color.
Nutritional Value: Tea is a nature’s gift that is rich in anti-oxidants. It also contains vital minerals and vitamins such as calcium, manganese, copper, carotin, selenium, and potassium, Vitamin A, B, C, E and K. in addition to folic acids, niacin amide and other detoxifying alkaloids. Developed in semi-fermented processing, the oolong tea is rich in numerous polyphenolic compounds, adding value health benefits of oolong tea.
Benefits: The various health related benefits of oolong tea are as follows:
- Controls Obesity: The polyphenol compound found in oolong tea is very effective in controlling the fat metabolism of the body. It activates certain enzymes and thus enhances the functions of the fat cells in human body. Daily consumption of oolong tea can reduce obesity.
- Removal of Harmful Free Radicals: The polyphenolic compound is also responsible for removal of free radicals in our body, thus saving us from potential harm that these free moving cells may pose to the human body.
- Treatment of Skin Disorders: According to scientific experiments, patients diagnosed with eczema skin disorder can benefit from drinking 3 cups of oolong tea 3 times in a day. The beneficial results of oolong tea could be seen in less than a week with these patients showing remarkable skin improvement.
- Promoting Good Bone Structure: The antioxidants present in oolong tea protect the tooth against decay, strengthen the bone structure and boosts normal healthy growth of human body.
- Treatment of Diabetes: Oolong tea is used as an herbal brew for treating type 2 diabetic disorders and as an appendage to other supplementary drugs for treating the disease.
- Protection against Cancer: It is well-known fact that tea drinkers have lower risk of acquiring skin cancer. Moreover, oolong tea compound polyphenol promotes apoptosis in stomach related cancerous growth. This polyphenol extract also acts a chemo-preventive instrument against development of other cancerous forms.
- Stress Buster: In a detailed study conducted at the Osaka Institute for Health Care Science, in Japan, the experimental mice that were ingested with oolong tea showed a remarkable improvement in stress levels by more than 10 to 18 %. The natural polyphenols in the oolong tea is said to be the main stress buster.
Biochemistry of Oolong Tea
Many things have been said about oolong tea. Among the most prominent benefits weight loss certainly stands out. Lets take a moment to learn how drinking Oolong tea can affect your weight and consequently your health. Studies have shown that Oolong tea does effectively three thing that combined contribute to weight loss.
Caffeine is a potent stimulant. It increases body metabolism and thus energy consumption. A recent Chinese has shown that by drinking Oolong tea a person experiences and increased energy consumption of about 3% or 70 calories.
Impressive? Not really. 70 calories is really not that much – an average person requires approx. 1000 calories so 70 in comparison is not that much. And lets not forget that caffeine is present in many drinks in greater concentration than in Oolong tea. But there’s more!
The same study has shown a 12% increase in fat oxidation in the test subjects. It was speculated that the Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) present in Oolong tea combined with caffeine was the formula that allowed for the unprecedented fat burning properties of Oolong
A later Japanese study comparing the weight loss effects of Green tea and Oolong tea expanded on the results of the Chinese study. Carefully analyzed green and Oolong tea were given to the test subjects. As expected the fat burn effects were stronger with the Oolong tea but when measuring the caffeine and EGCG concentrations in the two teas it was found that both teas have the same amounts of the substances that were thought to bring the weight loss effects. A third group of substances – polyphenols - were found in much greater concentration in Oolong tea than in Green tea. This find finally showed the real active substance of Oolong tea.
Of course Oolong tea is not a miracle drug for weight loss. The same rules apply as with every weight loss attempt. Watch your eating, exercise and drink Oolong tea. The tea might just give you that initial boost so you see the results quickly and don’t give up in the first two weeks.