Black tea gets more good press for fighting diabetes

A hot cup of tea soothes the soul, and it just might help reduce your risk of developing diabetes, too.

Researchers in Switzerland found that black tea, specifically, appears to be linked to lower rates of diabetes. The study supports previous research that found black tea can also reduce heart disease and high blood glucose levels. The health benefits come from the tea's high level of flavanoids, which help to reduce or neutralize free radicals in the body. It is also believed that the process of fermenting green tea to turn black may be the reason for black tea's health profile.

The study

The study looked at 50 different countries and their rates of black tea consumption, comparing the potential link to different health ailments, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Countries that drink the most black tea are Ireland, the UK and Turkey, where diabetes rates were found to be significantly lower than in the countries that had the least black tea consumption, like South Korea, Brazil, China and Mexico.

Black tea and obesity

Researchers did not find a link between black tea and decreased risk of the other ailments they were studying, but they did notice that black tea consumption was also linked to lower levels of obesity.

"These original study results are consistent with previous biological, physiological and ecological studies conducted on the potential of [black tea] on diabetes and obesity" and provide "valuable additional scientific information at the global level," said the researchers.

According to WedMD, black tea--and all teas from the Camellia sinensis plant (like green and oolong tea)--is also saturated with polyphenols, antioxidants that help detoxify the body. Many studies have found a link between green tea and reduced risk of cancer. In fact, countries that drink the most tea--like Japan--have the lowest rates of cancer.

More information on the study can be found in the British Medical Journal.

Sources: Web MD, US News Health

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