Oolong is a Chinese tea grown in Fujian, one of the regions of the world most famous for producing tea.
Legend has it that oolong was discovered by a farmer named Sulong who became distracted hunting a deer and neglected to wash his freshly picked green tea leaves. In his absence, the leaves began to oxidize, shrivel, and turn brown.
When he returned from the hunt, Sulong processed the tea and realized he had struck upon something good.
We hear an awful lot about the health benefits of green tea. What we don’t hear much about are the health benefits of the closely related oolong tea, which are just as plentiful.
In fact, however, many tea enthusiasts consider oolong to be “better green tea,” not just because of its smoother flavor and fruity, floral notes, but also because of its benefits for weight loss.
As with all teas, enjoying oolong to the fullest and reaping the greatest health benefits from it depends in part on when you drink it.
When is the best time to drink oolong tea?
For optimal digestion and mineral absorption, drink oolong 25 to 35 minutes after a meal. Oolong contains caffeine and so is best enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon. Drinking oolong tea 30 minutes before a workout may boost weight loss over time. Try to drink oolong within six months of purchase.
Drink oolong tea 25 to 35 minutes after a meal
While it is almost a universal habit to turn on the kettle or reach for a coffee pot as soon as we get out of bed, drinking caffeinated drinks on an empty stomach is not a great idea.
Oolong tea is no different. Without the calories and carbohydrates to absorb some of the harsher chemicals in tea, oolong can cause stomach pain or indigestion.
Drinking oolong on an empty stomach may result in feeling dizzy, shaky, and slightly nauseous. It may also increase stomach acid levels.
For this reason, it is best to enjoy oolong tea between meals. As long as you have had something to eat in the morning, you should be ready to enjoy a piping-hot mug of oolong to the fullest.
It is recommended to wait about 25 to 35 minutes after eating to pour your oolong, as this allows your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients and minerals in your food.
Like black tea, oolong tea has a high tannin concentration. Tannins bind with protein molecules, as well as with minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium, and prevent the body from absorbing them fully.
Allowing your body time to absorb these crucial nutrients before you drink your tea will ensure you do not deprive your body of important nutritional components.
That said, as long as you wait the appropriate amount of time, drinking oolong tea after a meal is a great way to aid digestion. Oolong was traditionally drunk along trade routes after a heavy dim sum meal.
Oolong’s rich body makes it pair well with oily, rich foods, which it helps the body break down and digest.
Drink oolong tea in the morning or early afternoon
Oolong is said to taste like a combination of black and green tea. Like both of these popular tea varieties, oolong is naturally caffeinated, and therefore makes a great morning drink.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it helps us feel awake, alert, and energized. Caffeine works by hindering the efficacy of adenosine, which slows down brain activity.
People often report that drinking a small amount of caffeine boosts their concentration. That said, those who are unfamiliar with drinking caffeine often find that it makes them anxious and jittery.
Even well-versed caffeine drinkers will experience anxious symptoms if they drink caffeine too late in the day or have too many cups of a caffeinated drink. For this reason, it is best to drink oolong tea in the morning or early afternoon.
Caffeine has a half-life of approximately five hours. This means that if you drink a final cup of oolong tea at 2pm, you will still have half of the caffeine in your body at 7pm, and a quarter of it left at 9:30pm.
Medical experts advise that you should not drink caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to bed, as it may disrupt sleep.
Drink oolong 30 minutes before a workout to boost weight loss
Oolong has been shown by several studies to have weight-loss-boosting properties.
Preliminary findings suggest that drinking oolong tea may improve fat burning and speed up metabolic function.
While it is great to hear that our morning cup of tea is keeping us trim and slim, oolong also has other potential benefits when it comes to staying in shape.
Drinking caffeine before a workout has been shown to increase the intensity of our workouts and lead us to burn more calories.
A small study recently found that drinking oolong instead of water increased energy expenditure by 2.9%. This is the equivalent of burning 281 extra calories per day.
Drinking oolong half an hour before heading to the gym or setting off on a run has the propensity to increase the vigor of your movements, leading to increased calorie burn.
Of course, if you are drinking oolong to boost weight loss, it is best to drink it without milk and sugar.
If you simply must have your tea sweet, look through this list of the best sweeteners for tea and opt for a low-calorie option like stevia.
Drink oolong tea within six months of purchase
How long does loose leaf tea stay fresh? Well, while you can retain the benefits of your oolong for longer by storing your loose-leaf tea properly, the truth is that it doesn’t stay fresh that long.
In fact, experts recommend consuming tea within four to six months after purchase in order to get the maximum benefits from your favorite hot beverage.
How do the expiry dates of tea work? While your tea will still taste good and will still offer some of its wide-ranging health benefits after six months, or even twelve, have passed, the sooner you drink your tea, the more you will get out of it.