Over the years, oolong (Wu-lung) tea, compared to its more famous cousins, haven’t commanded as much attention worldwide. Slicing but 2% of the total amount of global tea consumption, the semi-oxidized tea leaves pales in comparison to green tea and black tea when it comes to sales. And yet, oolong’s long list of health benefits tea is bound to make your jaw drop. Truth be told, the nootropic drink is one oasis of health every Londoner should drink from.
Without a doubt, London, England’s most iconic city, is the king of the hill as one of the most influential cities this planet has ever known. But you can argue the flourishing city situated on the banks of the Thames River is a victim of its own success. Time and time again, thousands of London’s citizens have died of dreadful diseases since being founded by the Romans in 43 AD. And up to today.
Fortunately, as scary as the diseases that haunt modern London today are, they’re hardly insurmountable. For one, a good cup of oolong consumed on a regular basis can help every Londoner rid of these risks. Below are five ways oolong can make your health happen. Read on.
London Under Siege by Diseases
If London were a star, its shine would only be rivalled by a handful few cities today. The megacities of Asia may have the most in terms of population, but Great Britain’s capital’s biggest city can definitely hold its own. For starters, it’s Europe’s financial hub home to millionaires and billionaires alike. Indeed, London’s commanding global influence is taking some of the spark off America’s city of superlatives: New York. Small wonder London is called the “capital of capitals”.
In hindsight, the Romans who founded and named it “Londinium” ruled the town for about five centuries (43 AD until the fifth century AD). Initially, England had no official capital city. But London cannot be denied. Through its strategic location as highlighted by its port has made it a beacon for a series of invasions (e.g., Anglo-Saxon, Vikings), the town steadily grew into one of Europe’s key cities, not to mention the United Kingdom’s most important one.
As trade rose and the central government of England moved to Westminster, at a close distance, London eventually became the capital of the British nation. But all that success came with a price, a high one at that.
The exponential growth of London, from a mere 50,000-strong town during the time of the Romans to an over 500,000-strong city by the middle of the 17th century, came with huge consequences. As populations multiplied, the living conditions inside the city dipped making way for the Great Plague.
100,000 people died: London lost nearly a quarter of its total population due to the Great Plague (1665 to 1666) spread by black rat fleas.
Another name for this plague is the bubonic plague. Caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria, the plague caused swellings (buboes) in lymph nodes (i.e., groin, armpit). About 30% of those who contacted died within two weeks; Many died overnight.
The bubonic plague is also called the “Black Death” as many who died had their tissues blackened due to gangrene.
Overall, the Black Plague killed about 25 million people: roughly a third of Europe’s total population at that time.
Today, science has proven to be instrumental in containing new cases of the bubonic plague. Health experts assert there’s virtually no chance for such a contagion to spread as it can easily be prevented and cured using antibiotics.
However, London’s health woes are from over. The fact is these are climbing. The global city may have survived killer diseases such as the bubonic plague but modern forms of sickness are pressing it from all sides.
With a growing population of over 8.982 million people, U.K.’s capital is indeed besieged by ill health for centuries now. Top of that list is heart disease. Coronary heart disease is Great Britain’s biggest killer, claiming as many as 74,000 lives each year. Many of which are from London.
But that’s not all.
Heart disease along with stroke, cancer, liver and lung disease is England’s living nightmare. Collectively they are called the Big Five, claiming over 150,000 deaths among under-75s in the English nation. That’s roughly about 200 dead people every day.
The sad part is the Department of Health claims 30,000 of these yearly deaths are entirely “avoidable”.
How Oolong Can Help Fight the Big Five
Tea, in the strictest application of the word, is the drink you get by pouring hot water over the leaves of the Camella Sinensis, a plant that’s native to China. And yes, you may call it the Asian nation’s valuable secret.
Definitely, the fascination is true. More than any drink on the planet, England never took its sight off tea the moment the concoction was introduced by the East India Company to the British nation in the 17th century. The UK Tea and Infusion Association (UKTIA) reveals 84% of the British populace drinks tea daily — even the Queen has her own favourite cuppa tea.
Truth be told, however, the fabled drink has been a staple in China for thousands of years tracing its origin to as far as 2737 BC when reportedly Emperor She Nung accidentally discovered the drink.
By far, oolong is relatively a newcomer to Great Britain — a new kid on the block. For the record, the East India Company imported only two types on its first order in 1664: black and green tea. Today, black or fully oxidized tea leaves reign supreme in the hearts of English tea-sweethearts as opposed to the unoxidized leaves dubbed as green tea.
Considering, oolong, however, could be a wise choice for you. To boot, the tea type is semi-oxidized with oxidation levels that could range from 1% to 99% oxidized depending on the artisan and the process used. Thus, the type offers a wider range of tastes compared to black and green tea.
Most importantly, oolong combines the best of black and green tea. By default, that translates to a host of health benefits that should afford you and every Londoner a better place under the sun.
Various researches point out making a habit of drinking oolong can have a beneficial effect on the heart. Apparently, heart disease is Great Britain’s biggest killer. Looking at statistics, you’ll realize the number of people dying of cardiovascular complications (CVD) would average about 175 daily.
- Roughly, one British individual dies of heart disease every eight minutes
- In the UK, hospitals admissions due to heart attacks number up to 100,000 yearly
- About 1.4 million: Number of people in the UK who have survived a heart attack
- About 7.6 million British people are suffering from heart or circulatory disease
Lifestyle changes play a central role in the fight against heart disease. Know many heart disease-related deaths are largely preventable. And this is where a day with a cuppa oolong can go a long way in creating a heart-healthy lifestyle.
In Southern China, for instance, where oolong is predominantly used, researchers established that people who regularly take the drink had lower cholesterol levels. Specifically, the population-based study revealed those who drank oolong daily have more manageable cholesterol levels compared to those who don’t.
To note, the higher your cholesterol levels, the higher your risk of heart disease becomes. You can easily develop fatty deposits in your blood superhighway: your blood vessels. When these deposits grow, your blood flow becomes constrained
Moreover, the researchers found out that people who drank a minimum of 10 ounces of oolong on a weekly basis had lowered risks of developing high cholesterol levels, “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) and triglycerides.
Consequently, people who have been consuming oolong tea for the longest had the lowest cholesterol levels.
A long-term study conducted in Japan produced stunning results. This time, 79,979 Japanese individuals aged 40-79 and their daily drinking habits were observed for years. Researchers concluded that those who took at least one cup of oolong daily had a significantly lower risk of heart disease. This is compared to those who habitually drank coffee, black or green tea.
Simply put, stroke happens when blood flow to your brain slows down causing cell death. Basically, there are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lessened blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to internal bleeding. Stroke can introduce dramatic changes to the body. A classic example is the inability to feel or move on one side of the body and having trouble speaking or seeing.
The greatest risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Additionally, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking increase your risk of developing one. If you think stroke is a thing of the past, think again.
- One in 6 people in England will have a stroke in their lifetime
- Around 32,000: Number of stroke-related deaths each year in England.
- 2 out of 3: Almost 65% of stroke survivors in England will leave the hospital with disability
Numerous evidence shows the regular consumption of oolong and green tea has been directly associated to the reduction of hypertension risks (high blood pressure), atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries) and diabetes, all of which are major risk factors associated with stroke. Take note that tea is a nootropic drink, allowing your brain to function better. Drinking tea, a caffeinated beverage (oolong, black or green), leads to sharper thinking and heightened awareness.
The good news is tea (oolong and green tea) does not contain as much caffeine as coffee. An 8-ounce cup of green and oolong tea contains about 10 to 60 milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, coffee harbours more, about 70 to 130 caffeine milligrams per the same cup.
By any measure, cancer is a dangerous disease. It’s like being eaten from the inside. The abnormal cell growth disrupts your system from within as it spreads. Like CVD and stroke, lifestyle choices are key to preventing the development of cancer. For instance, tobacco use or smoking is the primary cause of 22% of death by cancer. Also, excessive alcohol and obesity can raise your risk of developing the disease.
Unfortunately, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in England.
- 375,000: Average number of new cancer cases in the UK every year.
- Most common cancers: Breast cancer (15%), Prostate (14%) and lung (13%)
- 166,000: Average number of cancer deaths yearly in the UK
Luckily, regular intake of oolong has been associated with lowered risk of cancer. Research done in Taiwan examined the relationship between the risk of developing cancer, specifically throat, head and neck cancer, in contrast to drinking tea.
The researchers found out that regular intake of a cuppa oolong translated to a 4% lower cancer risk. That’s a truly astounding finding. Even more awesome, those who took green tea regularly had a 6% lower cancer risk.
Another research from China supported tea’s anti-cancer properties.
The study looked into ovarian cancer risks in Chinese women. What the researchers stumbled upon is that women who made a habit of drinking oolong, green or black tea had significantly lower risks of ovarian cancer .
You might be wondering about how tea brings about such outstanding results.
The secret to the success of oolong (and green tea) is the presence of antioxidants. The plant extract contains catechins that actively counter the cancer-inducing presence of free radicals. These catechins also speed up metabolism allowing people to lose weight faster.
The liver is a vital organ of the body. It ensures nutrients are available for the body to use. For one, it produces bile that turns fat into energy for the body. In short, it does a big job.
Additionally, the liver removes waste products (e.g. toxic substances such as alcohol). Unfortunately, too much alcohol can overwhelm the liver causing liver disease. Other causes of liver problems include viruses (e.g., hepatitis A to C).
The problem is liver disease is rising by leaps and bounds in England. Thanks to the vast improvement in health care, life expectance for people with chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer have improved. But not with liver disease.
- 400%: Percent mortality rates due to liver disease has risen since 1970 .
- Over 40: Number of people who die from liver disease daily in the UK.
Recently, alcohol consumption played a huge role in liver disease deaths in England. In 2020, when the pandemic ravaged the country, 5,608 alcohol-related liver deaths were recorded. That’s a 21% increase from the year before.
Luckily, help is on the way. Lifestyle changes plus a daily dose of oolong can go a long way in protecting your liver.
One study done with rats showed a lot of promise when it comes to liver health. Drinking semi-oxidized tea can help the liver take out your body’s trash.
Nobody can refute how important the lungs are. We all need air and it’s the job of the lungs to ensure the body gets ample amounts of fresh oxygen taking out waste gases in the process. Respiratory problems can hinder the lung’s work. The problem is many of these respiratory issues are due to poor lifestyle choices.
- One in every 5 minutes: Rate of lung disease deaths in the UK.
- Over half of these deaths are due to COPD and lung cancer, usually a product of excessive tobacco use.
But oolong once again comes to the rescue. That’s because oolong can strengthen the function of the lungs. Plus, it can soothe the body’s bronchial passages and even relieve those pesky coughs.
Moreover, oolong tea has been instrumental in helping reduce inflammation, reason enough why it’s a go-to drink to fight chronic diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease, lung disease).
Know that oolong, like most teas, is a bronchodilator. That means drinking oolong can dilate the passages where the air inside the body travels through. As a bronchodilator, oolong helps soothe the respiratory muscles, relaxing them in the process. By creating less resistance to the lungs, the nootropic drink increases airflow coming to and fro the lungs.
To Wrap Things Up
To a large degree, London’s health woes reflect that of England which also reflects that of the world. If you’re going to take a closer look, you’ll see that the top 5 most dreaded diseases pounding London are also pounding England and the world. What is good for London is therefore also good for the world.
Making semi-oxidized oolong part of your day-to-day can be a huge leap towards health. No doubt, green and black tea has been lauded for their health benefits. But oolong may just trump them in the health department. Research shows the nutrients found in oolong tea contains far stronger antimutagenic and antioxidant properties compared to both black and green tea.
Note, however, not all oolongs are created equal. Artisan expertise and the terrain where the Camella Sinensis grows are just some of the key factors that determine how great a particular tea product is.
Therefore, finding yourself the best oolong in England that won’t drill a huge hole in your wallet is wise. It’s getting more bang for your buck. Indeed, for you and for any Londoner and Englishman, keeping sickness at bay should start with the right oolong in your cup. Cheers!