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How can Oolong tea help type 2 diabetes patients?

Oolong tea is derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant but it is different from the other forms of tea such as green tea and black tea because its processing methods are quite different from them leading to a varying level of fermentation. Green tea leaves are unfermented while black tea leaves are fully fermented. Oolong tea leaves, on the other hand, are partially fermented.

The various properties like the colour and aroma of tea depending on the degree of fermentation. It also leads to changes in its chemical composition. Catechins are a class of compound that goes through rapid change.

What is so special about Oolong tea?

Oolong tea is popular for its well-known benefits for people suffering from type 2 diabetes along with a host of other health benefits. Before we go on to understand that, let us have a look at what exactly makes Oolong tea so special and different from other forms of tea.

The important thing to note about Oolong tea is that because its fermentation and level of oxidation are midway between green tea and black tea, it has benefits of both forms of tea. Not only that, but it is also rich in minerals and vitamins.

Oolong Tea (also known as Wu-long tea)
Oolong Tea (also known as Wu-long tea)

The leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant contains certain enzymes which produce a chemical reaction known as oxidation. This process gradually turns the leaves into a darker colour. Black tea is obtained from the complete oxidation of these leaves. However, the Oolong tea leaves can have different colours post-processing based on the varying levels of oxidation. It can be greenish or slightly brown.

This partial oxidation process renders many nutrients in Oolong tea. Few of them are Fluorides, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, and caffeine.

Apart from that, Oolong tea is also extremely rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. The polyphenols present in more quantity are theaflavins, thearubigins, and EGCG. These polyphenols are responsible for huge benefits from Oolong tea. It also has theanine, an amino acid which is known to create a calming and relaxing effect on the mind.

How does Oolong tea help diabetic patients?

Polyphenols present in Oolong tea reduces blood sugar levels
Polyphenols present in Oolong tea reduces blood sugar levels

The biggest concern for diabetic patients is that they need to control their blood sugar levels and diet plays an important role in that. The polyphenols present in oolong tea are known to keep the blood sugar levels and insulin levels in control. Not only this, but Oolong tea is also known to increase the overall insulin sensitivity.

A detailed study and research were conducted by the American Diabetes Association in which the effect of oolong tea for type 2 diabetes. More specifically, it wanted to study the effect of oolong tea on glucose levels.

During the study, 10 people drank oolong tea every day while the other 10 people had water instead. People who consumed oolong tea had 1,500 ml of oolong tea per day. Oolong tea was provided to them as teabags. They prepared the tea each morning by adding 1,500 ml of boiling water to five tea bags (15 g of tea leaf) and steeping for 10 min. Tea was taken five times per day independent of water body requirements. In addition, participants were not allowed to use any type of tea (except oolong tea) during the study. For the water treatment, they drank 1,500 ml of water but no tea.

This was done for a period of 30 days.

The research concluded that plasma glucose and fructosamine concentrations of diabetes patients decreased significantly (P < 0.001 and 0.001, respectively) after drinking oolong tea.

Hence, the research clearly established how oolong tea plays a major role in controlling blood sugar levels and hence proving itself useful for diabetes patients. Hence, oolong tea is recommended as an important element of diet for them.

There have been various studies on similar lines and all of them have concluded with convincing results.

Some of the popular studies concluded the following things about the effects of oolong tea on diabetic patients.

  1. Those who drink 24 oz (720 ml) of oolong tea per day have a 16% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  2. Diabetic patients who consumed 50 oz (1.5 litres) per day had up to 30% lower blood sugar levels at the end of a 30-day study.
  3. Consuming 33 oz (1 litre) of oolong tea each day for 30 days decreased average blood sugar levels by 3.3%.
  4. A Dutch study from 2009 indicates that drinking three cups of tea (or coffee) could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 40%.
  5. A study conducted by Taiwan researchers, people who drank one-and-a-half quarts of oolong tea daily for a month had a significant drop in their blood sugar levels.
  6. Studies have found that the insulin-like activity of tea polyphenols, the potent antioxidant within Oolong tea, delayed glucose absorption.

Apart from the benefits of oolong tea in controlling the blood sugar levels, it has another huge impact on controlling obesity which is strongly linked to the chances of development of diabetes.

Though there are many factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes-like genetic factors, the main contributor is obesity.

Hence, oolong tea’s benefits are also linked to its fat-burning capabilities and its ability to control obesity and cholesterol levels.

How does Oolong tea help in controlling obesity?

Drinking Oolong tea helps control weight and reduce diabetes
Drinking Oolong tea helps control weight and reduce diabetes

Obesity can only be controlled completely by following a healthy lifestyle and diet. But oolong tea is helpful in the sense that it is known to boost the metabolism which in turn reduces the overall fat absorbed in the body.

This health benefit of oolong tea is also strongly linked to the polyphenols present in it. The polyphenol antioxidants activate the enzymes that enable the use of stored fat for the production of more energy in the body.

The polyphenols along with caffeine play a catalytic role in burning of body fat.

Another great advantage of oolong tea is that due to the presence of these antioxidants, the cholesterol levels and blood pressure can be managed to a large extent.

Since high blood pressure can be problematic for diabetic patients, ensuring good health of the heart is also important for them. The role that oolong tea plays in improving heart health is helpful for them.

Understanding Diabetes

While the above-mentioned points throw light on how regular consumption of oolong tea can be helpful for diabetic patients, it is important for anyone suffering from diabetes to understand that diabetes is strongly linked to genetics. Hence, your risk of developing it increases if anyone in your family has it.

Factors like obesity, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity and exercise can increase the chances. Age also plays a role here with the highest chances of developing diabetes being around the age of 45.

This taken into consideration, one must understand that along with consumption of oolong tea a good lifestyle is also desired.

Diabetes occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. It is also possible for the body to develop insulin resistance. Since type 2 diabetes is linked with the way body processes sugar and on the overall insulin sensitivity, oolong tea is able to play a beneficial role here. While in type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin and oolong tea is not able to help in that condition.

When the sugar is not absorbed properly in the body it starts getting accumulating the bloodstream causing a lot of different problems.

There are rich antioxidants like flavonoids, catechins, and polyphenols present in oolong tea. It is these antioxidants that fight the oxidative damage and free radicals, which are harmful substances that can lead to corruption of the body’s cells and promote cancer, ageing and disease. The substances like oolong tea with rich antioxidants can reduce the number of free radicals and oxidative damage in the body, preventing or reducing disease like diabetes.

Hence, if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing it, inculcating oolong tea as a part of your diet will be beneficial for you. You can drink up to 3 to 5 cups in a day to observe positive effects over a period of time.

Where can I buy Oolong tea?

Pure Ceylon Oolong tea is available at teakruthi.

This low grown blend offers a fragrant, gentle experience. Harvested from a single estate in the Galle District in Sri Lanka, our green Oolong tea is certified ‘ozone-friendly’. Like all of our favourite teas, our Ceylon Oolong blend is packed with antioxidants, making it good for both the environment and you. The manufacturing process of this tea demands precision and care in every step, as it is semi-fermented. It is fresh and mild in flavour and orange in appearance. It is distinctive for its aroma, leaf, and liquor.

teakruthi's Ceylon Oolong
teakruthi's Ceylon Oolong

About the author

Shreya Dalela

Shreya Dalela

Contributing author

Shreya loves to research and write about tea and claims Mythical Green Pure Ceylon Green Tea to be her favorite go-to beverage. She swears that her daily cup of green tea gives her a dose of morning inspiration as she sits down to type 1000s of words every day. To unwind at the end of the day, she reaches for a cup of soothing Ananda Veda Green Tea infusion. You can often find her saying 'Everything is better with a cup of tea' :)

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