Oolong Tea Lowers Breast Cancer Risk
A new study, published in the journal Anticancer Research, has found that oolong tea may have secret cancer-fighting properties.
This new research, lead by Chunfa Huang, PhD, finds that oolong tea can damage breast cancer cells and that people who consume large amounts of this tea have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Huang is an associate research professor in the department of internal medicine at Saint Louis University in Missouri.
Oolong tea is proven to damage breast cancer cells and lower breast cancer risk.
According to estimates by the American Cancer Society, more than 250,000 women in the United States developed breast cancer in 2017, and more than 40,000 died as a result.
In this context, researchers are still in need of more effective prevention and treatment strategies. Plus, given the side effects of chemotherapy, the need for nontoxic alternatives is also dire.
With these aims in mind, scientists have investigated the potential benefits of green tea for breast cancer and found that certain compounds have anti-cancer effects.
However, few studies have examined other types of tea and their role in breast cancer prevention.
Now, the potential benefits of oolong tea specifically, have been studied, and the results are very promising.
Oolong Tea Stops Breast Cancer Growth
Huang and team examined the effect of oolong tea extract on six breast cancer cell lines, which included ER-positive, PR-positive, HER2-positive, and triple-negative breast cancer cells.
The researchers treated these cells with different concentrations of green, oolong, black, and dark tea extracts.
Huang and team examined the viability of the cells and measured the DNA damage and cleavage, as well as any other changes in the morphology of the cells.
The extracts of green and oolong tea stopped the growth of all types of breast cancer cells.
In contrast, black and dark tea extracts had no effect on the cells.
Huang and team concluded that “Oolong tea, same as green tea, can induce DNA damage and cleavage, play an inhibitory role in breast cancer cell growth, proliferation, and tumorigenesis, and [it has] great potential as a chemopreventive agent against breast cancer.”
“Oolong tea stopped the growth of all types of breast cancer cells”.
Oolong Tea Protects Against Breast Cancer
Additionally, the scientists examined annual cancer registry data from China and the Fujian province and found that people in the latter area were 35 percent less likely to have breast cancer and 38 percent less likely to die from it compared with the national average.
They also noted that people who consumed large amounts of oolong tea on a regular basis were 25 percent less likely to develop breast cancer compared with the average incidence in the Fujian province and 50 percent less likely compared with the national average.
Finally, compared with the national average, high consumers of oolong tea were 68 percent less likely to die prematurely.
“It is clear that more study is needed,” Huang says. However, “[t]he lower incidence and mortality in regions with higher oolong tea consumption indicate that oolong tea has great potential for its anti-cancer properties.”
“From our results,” concludes Huang, “oolong tea, much like green tea, plays a role in inhibiting breast cancer cell growth, proliferation, and tumor progression.”
High consumers of oolong tea were 68 percent less likely to die prematurely.
Oolong Tea Health Benefits
Oolong tea is commonly consumed in China and Taiwan. In Asian countries, drinking tea is a large part of the culture and social gatherings. Friends and business associates often meet over tea.
Although all true tea comes from the same plant, the differences occur in the harvesting and processing. Oolong tea is partially fermented, while black tea is fully fermented.
Oolong tea and green tea contain similar amounts of caffeine, approximately 10 to 60 milligrams (mg) per 8-ounce cup. For comparison, coffee contains approximately 70 to 130 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup.
Unsweetened brewed tea is considered a zero-calorie beverage. It contains no fat, carbohydrates, or protein.
In addition to fighting breast cancer, oolong tea provides a wide range of health benefits:
They found that people who drank at least 10 ounces of oolong tea per week had lower risks of having high total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. The same was also true of people who drank similar amounts of green and black teas.
People who had been consuming oolong tea for the longest time had lower total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels.
In another study, Japanese men and women were studied for the impact of consuming coffee, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea on their risk of heart disease. Researchers found that men who drank 1 or more cups of oolong tea per day had a lower risk of heart disease.
Oolong tea has been shown to have protective effects on the heart.
A study in mice showed that the animals receiving oolong tea extract while being fed a high fat, high sugar diet, gained less abdominal fat than mice on the same diet that did not receive the tea extract.
Green tea and black tea extracts also resulted in less abdominal fat gain. The mice that received the green tea extract also consumed fewer calories.
A study in overweight and obese Chinese adults looked at the effect of oolong tea consumption on body weight. Study participants drank 300 milliliters (mL) of oolong tea four times per day. After 6 weeks, more than half of the participants had lost more than 1 kilogram.
Oolong tea contributes to weight loss.
Researchers in Taiwan examined the association between drinking tea and the risk of head and neck or throat cancer.
Each cup of oolong tea consumed per day equated to a 4 percent lower risk, but the result was not significant. Each cup of green tea consumed per day equated to a 6 percent lower risk for head and neck cancer, which was more significant.
Another study in Chinese women found that drinking green, black, or oolong tea was linked to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.
However, according to the National Cancer Institute, there is not currently enough research to say for certain that drinking tea decreases cancer risk.
Oolong tea may lower the risk of several cancers.
Fluoride is an element that is often added to drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash to help prevent dental cavities.
Tea leaves naturally contain fluoride, so drinking oolong tea could help prevent cavities. Excess fluoride can be harmful, but drinking less than 1 liter of oolong tea per day is safe for most adults.
Other Potential Benefits
While there is not enough current research to support the following benefits, drinking tea has also been associated with:
- healthier gut bacteria
- lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- lower risk of Parkinson’s disease
- natural defense from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
- stronger bones
Studies that examined long-term consumption of oolong tea showed the greatest results. Although it is not a cure for any condition, drinking tea regularly appears to have numerous health benefits.
Can You Drink Too Much?
Although oolong tea contains less caffeine than coffee, people who are sensitive to caffeine should still limit their intake.
Tea can decrease the amount of iron absorbed from plant foods.
Also, some researchers found that young children who drank tea were more likely to have lower iron levels.
It might be better to drink tea outside of meals to limit its impact on iron absorption.
If you’re concerned about not getting enough iron, vitamin C can increase the amount of iron absorbed from plant foods.
Recommended Oolong Teas
Oolong produces a clear, clean and refreshing, tea; the taste is light and naturally sweet, and brings forward an earthy aroma.
Before getting into my recommendations, let’s talk a bit about loose tea vs tea bags:
Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags
If you’re drinking oolong tea for health reasons, here are some factors to consider when choosing between loose and bagged options.
Loose Tea Advantages
- Catechins (antioxidants) degrade over time. Tea bag tea may have been stored longer than the loose leaf green tea, which means fewer catechins present.
- Catechins concentrations are higher in the whole leaf than in the pieces and dust (because the greater surface area of the smaller pieces means more surface area is exposed to light and air, which results in faster loss of nutrients). These whole pieces are more likely to be found in loose leaf tea.
- Tea bags can absorb some catechins. This means you may lose more nutrients in the bag than you do if the leaf is loose.
Tea Bag Advantages
- Tea in the tea bags is more likely to be dust and fannings and because of this, there is more interaction between the tea and the water (the smaller the tea leaf, the more surface area is exposed to the water, causing more infusion of the tea nutrients).
- Tea bag material varies with the tea company. Some tea bags are biodegradable and interfere less with tea brewing than others, and may also leach fewer nutrients out of the tea.
If this is your first foray into loose leaf tea, you’ll need a tea strainer.
I recommend the Apace Loose Leaf Tea Infuser Set. It’s very popular and has fantastic reviews. It’s available in 3 colors and 2 sizes).
See all my other “teaware” recommendations!
Tie Guan Yin Tea Oolong Loose Leaf – Monkey Picked
These tea leaves are rolled into tight balls, which creates a sparkling tea that unveils a mesmerizing jade color when brewed.
The unfurling leaf of this exquisite oolong produces a clear, clean and refreshing tea, with a taste that’s light and naturally sweet, and brings forward an earthy aroma.
Note that “Monkey Picked” is a type of tea (the tea isn’t picked by monkeys!).
Video: Learn About Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea
Iron Goddess or Tie Guan Yin is certainly one of the most famous Oolongs in the world. This is a deep dive to know what questions you should be asking when selecting your tea.
Teabox Red Thunder Autumn Oolong Tea
Red Thunder Autumn Oolong is a cheerful cup of fragrant and zesty candied orange with delicate floral hints.
Faint hints of yellow flowers come by the middle as you sip through this soft cup of bright fruits. The sweetness of candied orange and melon ring through the cup making it an impressively pleasant oolong.
A slight citrusy theme moves along to the end with a brief woody undertone. An excellent cup to enjoy on a fine afternoon.
The liquor is lively, soft and brims with character right from the first sip.
It opens with the zesty elegance of sweet candied orange slices and melon which defines the taste profile of this cup.
These flavors resonate throughout; interrupted briefly by delicate hints of yellow flowers adding a rich, round character to the cup.
Gentle woody undertones can be perceived towards the end, which fade quickly to reveal a citrusy-sweet tree fruit finish.
The Republic of Tea Milk Oolong
Milk Oolong from the Republic of Tea won the Gold Gourmet Product Award, and is a nominee of the Vetetarian Times Foodie Awards.
This tea has a beautiful aroma: with the very first steep, your home will be filled with delicate fragrances of pineapple and sweet cream.
This Milk Oolong is hand processed, with a meticulous multi-step process used to oxidize and roll the tea leaves.
Reviewers love the taste and quality of this tea. One reviewer commented that a single serving is good for two steepings.
Revolution Dragon Eye Oolong Tea
Revolution Dragon Eye Oolong Tea is a smooth, well-rounded elixir blends smoky Chinese oolong with safflower, peach and apricots.
This tea has fantastic reviews.
Teabox Exotic Assam Oolong Tea
A rare and unusual oolong from Assam, in a convenient in a TeaPac.
Teabox Exotic Assam has prominent floral and milky notes that come through easily, making you forget you are using a bag and not steeping this tea. Enjoy it for it’s subtle but wonderful flavors.
The liquor starts with sweet floral notes highlighting medium strength. Undertones of long creamy textures and notes of cane sugar features in the center.
The finish is a subtle floral, with ripe fruity flavor that renders a sweetness.
Stash Chocolate Mint Oolong Tea
If, like me, you enjoy the combination of chocolate and mint, you’ll love Stash Chocolate Mint Wuyi Oolong Tea.
Reviewers call this tea “perfect” and “delicious”. I add real cream and sweetener to this tea for a decadent treat.
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