The benefits of black and green tea are widely known. A lesser-known variety, oolong tea is partially oxidized, placing it between the two in terms of color. Partial oxidation removes fewer nutrients from the leaves. Oolong has been gaining popularity because of its wealth of health benefits.
Oolong tea is complex in flavor and, because it is partially oxidized, can range in color from golden to pale brown There are a variety of loose oolongs available including Jade, Dragon, Formosa, coconut and Russian caravan, spanning the flavor gamut from smoky to fruity to grassy. Here are a few reasons to try a cup:
Weight loss: Oolong tea contains enzymes that stimulate the metabolism of fat. Because hot tea decreases anxiety and stress, it may also reduce mood-related overeating.
Skin health: The antioxidants found in oolong tea fight free radicals, known to damage skin and cause wrinkles.
Disease prevention: Because it is less oxidized, oolong tea contains higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that detoxify the body. Research shows that tea may decrease risk of numerous diseases including diabetes.
Mental health: Recent studies show that drinking tea may reduce levels of stress and depression. Although studies still disagree on the mental health effects of drinking tea, there’s no denying that a hot, comforting beverage releases tension and anxiety and improves mood.
To brew, choose a loose-leaf oolong from a local shop or online. Warm your teapot with hot tap water. Once warmed, discard this water. Place one teaspoon of oolong per cup of water in a basket infuser, which allows the leaves to fully expand and release their flavor. Heat water to 200 degrees F, pour into pot and steep 4-5 minutes. When ready, remove the infuser and pour the tea into cups. Enjoy!