The ‘hidden gem’ tea that could protect against cancer and diabetes

The ‘hidden gem’ tea that could protect against cancer and diabetes

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Diet is hugely important when it comes to our health and wellbeing.

What we eat and drink can raise or lower your risk for certain conditions and diseases, for example, as well as having a more direct effect on your weight.

And while many Britons love to enjoy a cuppa throughout the day, a certain type of tea could actually bring with it a host of health benefits.

Speaking exclusively with, tea researcher and chemist Doctor Tim Bond – from the Tea Advisory Panel, recommended drinking oolong tea for this exact reason.

Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that comes from the leaves of the same plant that makes black and green tea.

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Although its potential health benefits have been noted for years, it only makes up about two percent of the tea consumed globally.
Dr Bond said: “Oolong tea is a hidden gem of a tea and surprisingly rich in polyphenols which are proven to have a positive impact on health.

“While it is made from the same plant as black tea (Camellia sinensis) and green tea, the leaves are processed differently.

“Green tea is heat treated, hindering aeration which helps it to retain higher concentrations of some of the antioxidant catechins.

“Black tea is fully aerated giving rise to theaflavin and thearubigins.

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“Oolong tea is ‘semi-aerated and falls between green and black tea and as its processed differently the ‘fingerprint’ of flavonoids is different from green tea or black tea.”

What are the health benefits of oolong?

Dr Bond explained that the components of oolong are thought to be behind its multiple benefits.

“Oolong tea contains, amongst other polyphenols – theasinensins – which are different from the green tea catechins and black tea theaflavins,” he said.

“It is these bioactive theasinensins might contribute to the health benefits of oolong tea.”

He said the drink could help prevent diabetes, heart disease and even cancer among other conditions.

Dr Bond continued: “Laboratory studies have shown theasinensins to protect against inflammation.

“Research is still at an early stage for oolong tea but lab studies have shown these theasinensins have antioxidant activity, reduce inflammation and protect against DNA damage.

“Other lab studies have also shown improvements in blood sugar control, anti-cancer activity and antimicrobial activity.”

He referenced a study published in Diabetes Care journal in 2003.

“A study in 10 men and 10 women who had pre-existing diabetes found that drinking over a litre of oolong tea daily for 10 weeks significantly lowered blood sugar levels,” he said.

“Daily consumption of oolong teas has demonstrated antioxidant activity in athletes after exercise, which would be expected to help muscle recovery.

“Oolong tea could also be good for weight loss as it’s been shown to boost metabolism in women, to a greater extent than green tea.

“Oolong tea also increases fat oxidation and metabolic rate in men.”

He added: “Other research has shown that oolong tea could improve heart disease and help lower blood pressure and protect teeth and bones.”

Dr Bond recommended drinking two to three cups a day to reap the benefits.

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